Why Today’s British Airways Avios Devaluation Came at Exactly the Perfect Time!

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British Airways Avios Devaluation

British Airways Avios Devaluation

Today British Airways announced changes to a devaluation of their Executive Club program. Among the changes are a tiered award chart for flying on British Airways and alterations to miles earning on paid flights.

Why This Announcement Is Good

While it is never good to see a program devalue, those types of business decisions are inevitable. Thankfully I am happy with today’s announcement for a couple of reasons and you probably should be to.

The sweet spot of the British Airways Avios program for the past couple of years has been short haul redemptions on partner carriers such as Alaska Airlines, US Airways & American Airlines. Flights from 1-650 miles cost only 4,500 Avios and from 651-1,151 miles cost only 7,500 Avios. Those redemption rates are staying the same. That is HUGE!

In fact, economy redemptions on partner airlines are staying the same across the board. It is true that premium cabin redemptions are increasing in cost, which is a bummer, but British Airways already charged 3x the points for domestic first class travel in the U.S., which was never a good deal. (It is going to be 4x the economy price now!)

British Airways Avios Devaluation
The new tiered award chart. Partner redemption are always at the Peak level.

The American Express Transfer Bonus

One of the main reasons I am so happy with this announcement is that it takes the guesswork out of transferring Membership Rewards points over to Avios for the 40% bonus. I now know what the program will look like for the next couple of years and can better gauge how many points to transfer.

See: How to Expedite the Posting of American Express Membership Rewards Points

99% of my Avios redemptions involve those short haul economy flights in the United States. Since the cost of those flights is thankfully not increasing, I am now planning to transfer over a lot of my points.

Many many people expressed concern to me about an Avios devaluation over the past couple of weeks when contemplating taking advantage of the Amex bonus. Now they have the information they need before making the decision to transfer. I am happy this announcement came today and not next week after the transfer bonus offer ends.

Conclusion

While the list of changes to the British Airways Executive Club involves mostly negatives, U.S. based flyers who redeem Avios accumulated from credit card points really got a win in my opinion.

Sure there are a few exceptions, but for the most part this is a good day for us and a bad day for people who pay to fly on the airline. You can find a full list of the changes here and View From the Wing has a full breakdown and analysis.


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8 COMMENTS

  1. That is good news. At least if we believe (sounds like you do) that it hopefully (knock on wood) pushes out any potential devaluation of the short-haul partner redemptions at least a year or two (hopefully longer or never!). And, yes, good timing on the AMEX front. I have been holding off until the deadline, but now it feels a bit safer to jump.

  2. I totally disagree. Most of people like to use their miles to redeem premium cabins since economy tickets are usually cheap.
    These changes remain good only for economy redemption, they are absolutely horrible for premium cabin redemption.
    I was holding till the last minute to transfer my Amex points, but now I am saving them to use on another partner airline.

    • I agree that premium cabin redemptions are worth saving for, but Avios have generally not been the best currency for that. Either way, the timing is perfect for both you and me, because we both have the full information when making the decision whether to transfer or not.

      I’m glad they released this today so you are able to keep your points for a redemption that makes sense to you. Thanks!

  3. “but British Airways already charged 3x the points for domestic first class travel in the U.S., which was never a good deal.”

    Not necessarily. ORD-IND F is 13.5 Avios or 25 AA. Avios wins by a wide margin. I wouldn’t seek out such a short flight in F but sometimes that’s the only award available and paying for even Y is costly.

    • That is a good point. I agree the changes are negative, but there is still a lot of value.

      The only thing I can say is that the short haul will now be 18k which still beats AA and with the 40% bonus equates to less than 13,000 Amex points.

      Other good routes are lost like some SA Business class routes and BOS-DUB business class as well.

      Overall the news is bad, but the fact that the economy awards remained the same is huge.

  4. I think there are winners and losers but for me, someone who flies short-haul economy flights in the US, this is a win. The award chart for that is staying the same, but I had been worried about a devaluation already and so the fact that it’s changing the same (4500 Avios) is a net win for me.

    Lots of people (mostly premium cabin travelers) losing though, but at least we have 3 months to prepare!

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