Avios Devaluation–for Real, This Time!

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British Airways Avios Changes

British Airways Avios Changes

So it’s happened. British Airways has finally devalued their currency Avios. Well, we knew this day was coming ever since this:

SCREAM! Or Two Days of Blogging in British Airways Avios

Relax: this Avios Devaluation is not that bad. In fact, it’s not bad at all. Well, it is bad for some folks, but if you have a lot of miles in different programs, you already know that each of them is good for some things and terrible for others. For example, you already know better than:

  • To use Avios to fly British Airways across the Atlantic and Pacific or anywhere else, except Europe due to high fuel surcharges.
  • To use Avios for booking long flights, or for booking flights with stops due to Avios being a distance-based program (although there are exceptions).
  • To use Avios to book premium class. Why? Because Avios are perfect for a short flight and less than perfect for a long haul. You can’t sit 2-4 hours in coach?
  • To use Avios for upgrades. Why? Please see the same question above.

I, personally, am thrilled with these changes. Before and right after the previous Avios Devaluation of 2011, people were also crying how the program had become useless. It turned out great. To me, all of these changes are fine. Seriously, it’s been awhile since 2011. So, in all fairness, it could be much worse than this.

Redemptions! That’s what it is all about for me.

As most of you know, I am not a business traveler, and I buy airline tickets, well, almost never! So I don’t give a rat’s ass about earning Avios, and I won’t be talking about that, or about earning status, or other things. There are zillions of blogs for business travelers, not even mentioning the 50-page (at the time of writing) Flyertalk thread to find your info. I will try to concentrate on the changes to spending Avios that they will introduce on April 28th. And that’s, by the way, the first good thing about the changes. That they re giving us sufficient time to do the booking at the old levels.

The Good

1. They promise more availability. This is what Jeni, the BA representative on Flyertalk had to say about this.

9 million reward seats will be available this year.
From 28th April we guarantee that more than 9 million reward seats will be available on our flight this year, with a minimum of two Club World/Club Europe and four World Traveller/Euro Traveller reward seats on all British Airways operated flights that are offered for sale on ba.com. This change will create over half a million extra reward seats including many to our popular destinations, which are available to book from today.

Well, we’ll see. And besides, all these numbers only refer to British Airways, not the partners. Which is unfortunate because as you already know Avios and BA partners are a match made in heaven!

2. They are introducing OffPeak Discount Awards!

Take a good look at these charts, but keep in mind that the current chart (right below) shows roundtrip redemption levels, while the next one is for one ways. As you can see, the smallest off-peak discount is 11%, and the biggest is 35%. Of course, we are talking about economy seats. Remember, however, that these discounts apply only to British Airways flights, and not to the partners. So where would they come handy? In Europe, of course, especially now that they have eliminated fuel surcharges on short hauls there! I’m pretty sure that I (or other smart people, LOL) will find a few especially sweet spots for using these new levels.

Current Avios Chart

Current Avios Roundtrip Awards

Current British Airways Avios Chart One-Way Awards

Avios One-Way Awards Chart After 04.28.15

Avios New Off-Peak Calendar After 04.28.15

Avios New Off-Peak Calendar After 04.28.15

3. All peak awards remain the same in coach (awards redeemed on partners rather than British Airways are always peak)!

I don’t think I need to comment on that. It means no devaluations. Fly American from New York to Montreal, or Miami  to the Caribbean, fly Alaska from the West Coast to Hawaii, fly LAN from Lima to Cusco, fly Qantas in Australia, JAL in Japan, or Cathay Pacific in Asia and you will not pay a single mile more than what you are paying today. I wish all devaluations were this good!

The Bad and the Ugly

I promised you I would not dwell on earning Avios and I’m a man of my word. :) Seriously, don’t care, but if you do, please read this Flyertalk thread Wiki, and you’ll get the full picture.

However, if you use Avios to fly premium class, my heart goes out to you. That’s going to get ugly! Right now you can book business class for 2X and first class for 3X coach rate (see Avios One-Way Awards Chart After 04.28.15 above). Starting 04.28, the rates will increase considerably.  For peak rates, a first class award will cost you 4X coach. The business class level will remain the same 2X within the first 3 zones, and then… it goes berserk. As to off-peak rates, nothing in that chart makes any sense whatsoever. This is why my suggestion is this:

Avios Chart REVISED

Avios Chart REVISED

Do what our overlords from British Airways want you to do and fly coach on short hauls. Use other programs to fly long hauls and/or premium class. And stop fighting the inevitable–you are only hurting yourself. :)

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