British Airways Award Chart Changes: the Good, the Bad, and the Funny

I offer my take on the British Airways award chart changes over at Conde Nast Travel this afternoon: The Good, the Bad, and the Funny.

Trying very much to be fair, I do note the increased value of short-haul awards, and in Europe where those can be had without the onerous fees of the past if you’ve earned any miles in your account in the preceding 12 months.

The short format doesn’t allow for extensive analysis such as my treatment earlier this morning, but it does reach a different and somewhat broader audience, so hopefully a useful addition to the conversation.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. While not major, the one thing I’ve noticed is domestic US flights are being charged some sort of fee/surcharge now. Previously when redeeming BA miles for AA travel, it only charged the $2.50 per segment 9/11 fee. Now a RT ticket (LAX-LIH) is $21.40, when it had been $5.

  2. For the long routes, yes, it seems to be pretty bad now compared to how it used to be. I will say this though, if you need to book an internal award < 21 days to go you can use BA instead of AA and save yourself the $75 fee. Moreover, nearly all flights on AA metal using Avios require far fewer miles than AA itself does. For example, 7,500 o/w to MIA (from NYC), or 10,000 to PLS again from NYC). This compares to AA's 12,500 & 17,500 respectively. Btw, the MIA segment still only charges $2.50

  3. It turns out the award I booked was unnecessary. SFO-JFK has remained the same price, though stopovers are no longer permitted. C’est la vie.

    Short-hauls within Asia have gone WAY down in price, though. I’m seeing some short hauls dropping to 9000 miles, from what was previously 20k or 30k.

  4. Short-hauls are definitely the way to go now. Too bad I don’t live in LA… can do HNL for 25K RT or SJD for 15K RT now! Not bad at all.

    This devaluation kinda reminds me of the Southwest RR 2.0 change, where the program is sort of turned on it’s head. For SW, you used to redeem points for the most expensive, furthest flight, and now you redeem for the cheapest Wanna Get Away fares. For BA, you used you redeem for the furthest destination in different zones, and now you redeem for the short, high-priced hops.

  5. Intra South American flying is now a bargain — IF LAN will give BA the seats (a constant problem, even though Oneworld has claimed award availability is equal throughout the alliance).

    Like many a frequent flyer has found a cheap way to Lima, only to be confronted by crazy foreigner fares to Cuzco (gateway to Macchu Pichu). Like $400+. Avios solves that problem: 9000 points and 12 bucks with get you this roundtrip.

    You don’t have the great aspirational awards, but you have some excellent cross-border deals in the Americas. I’ve priced several AA JFK-Canada flights for 9000 points and less than $60. Some of these fares are $500+. Now if only the Loonie would decline, I’d visit our northern neighbor. 🙂

  6. Not sure how folks are getting the info re: AA rewards. The awards calculator clearly says it assumes BA flights only, partner awards may differ.

  7. So screw the people who don’t live in an AA hub or don’t want to travel only to the AA hub? Or put up with the additive pricing. Can’t even search AS routes which would be some saving grace, though not much.

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