Avios Short Haul Devaluation in the U.S.
Over the past year or so we have seen several British Airways devaluations. They have made travel in premium cabins much more expensive, American Express has changed the transfer rate of Membership Rewards to Avios and now they are taking away 4,500 Avios redemptions for travel on American Airlines and Alaska Airlines in the U.S.
Here is the announcement:
On 2 February 2016, we’ll be making some changes to the Executive Club pricing structure for reward flights originating or terminating in the United States of America.
The change will only affect shorter routes on American Airlines and Alaska Airlines, with reward flights now starting from 7,500 Avios, rather than 4,500 Avios, plus taxes, fees and carrier charges from $5.60 USD. The majority of North American reward flight prices will remain unchanged.
For people who live in an American Airline hub (especially on the East Coast) this is a huge blow. East Coasters have a ton of useful routes that will now be increasing to 7,500 Avios each way. Of course we can also say goodbye to 12 cent per point redemptions like my recent one to Green Bay!
Thankfully British Airways has left the rest of their award chart alone. 7,500 Avios redemptions can still be a great value. For example from Las Vegas, I have used Avios to fly to both Dallas and Seattle quite often. 12,500 Avios to Hawaii from the West Coast is another sweet spot that thankfully will still exist. Glass half full?!?
About a month ago I wrote about three programs that are very good for short haul redemptions. British Airways was among them, but Virgin America and Southwest often cost a lot less points than even British Airways. For example I have seen LAX-LAS for about 1,000 Virgin America points each-way and 1,750 Southwest points. Check that post out for more info.
It is clear that British Airways was seeing too many short haul redemptions on their U.S. partners. My guess is they don’t see this same level of redemptions on other partners or if they do fuel surcharges help to offset the costs. Thankfully we still have until February 1, 2016 to book future flights at the old level.
HT: Frequent Miler