British Airways is Changing Partner Award Prices May 30 – But Won’t Tell Us How Much They Go Up

British Airways has a history of making changes to its award pricing without notice, and also of giving a few months’ notice. When they moved from an award region chart to distance-based pricing in 2011 they told us they were changing pricing but not what prices would be. When that happens you know they won’t be ‘changes you’re going to like’.

2015 changes were made with notice. They gave a few months’ notice ending 4500 mile awards on US flights.

Now we’re once again learning of impending changes but not what the details of those changes will be.

  • British Airways will be changing the price of partner awards on Alaska, Air Italy, American, Cathay, Finnair, JAL, LATAM, Malaysia, Qantas, Qatar, S7, Sri Lankan, an Royal Jordanian — i.e. much of oneworld plus Alaska and Air Italy. Partners owned in common by IAG, Iberia and Aer Lingus, are notably absent from this list.

  • American Airlines upgrades with Avios will be changing price.

  • Changes go into effect May 30

  • But BA hasn’t told us yet what the changes are.

Here’s their communication:

(HT: @TheForwardCabin)

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. Uggg. So glad I didn’t pull the trigger on the 30% Chase transfer bonus I was planning.

  2. Maybe this is the reason Chase/BA are offering the 30% transfer bonus? The devalue may be at 30% (haha)

  3. Had BA for years, finally used some this year for some shorter US flights that were 15K Coach and 30K Business/First. Still have some, was waiting to stock up the next time Amex had a 40% transfer, but now I’m happy I didn’t until they disclose what will be changing. Shorter US flights on AA is generally all I use it on.

  4. From the text with sample fares under the FAQ section of the announcement, it looks like they’re adding surcharges which I’m guessing will make be similar to the surcharges when flying BA metal. If that’s the case then RIP Avois!

  5. I’ll be honest I haven’t used BA in a long time. Their sweet spots have dried up for my uses and I just can’t find a good use for them. Short haul outside of NA is cheap but so are the flights. Most of my Avios would come from MR/UR and I just think of all the other things I could use those for.

    I think the last thing I tried to use Avios for was West Coast to Hawaii. That is a good deal but the awards have gotten so scarce or required extra legs (which means a lot more Avios) that it isn’t worthwhile. Plus fares have been cheap enough that I just don’t bother with the hassle.

  6. @Debbie downer it say “adjusting the Avios required for award flights”. Could mean some awards may be getting cheaper!

  7. The likelyhood of me dumping my Chase cards was 50% after the United devaluation, but now with BA also ready to devalue I think it just went up to 90+%.

  8. My guess is that the 25k rewards RT from west coast to Hawaii on AK will go up. This was a good deal just like the 4500 domestic rewards we lost last time.

  9. The surcharges aren’t any different than they already are for the routes noted, so the addition of surcharges isn’t what’s happening here. We’re looking at a chart devaluation, and it’s garbage that BA won’t tell us what it is.

  10. UGH. A week ago I used $12 in e-rewards to get my Avios to 1200 but it could take up to 5 weeks for the transfer. 🙁 Waiting for it to go thru before transferring 6K with the Chase 30% bonus to get me to 9K. Want to book two 4500 inter-Australia tickets. Hope I get in under the wire. Fingers crossed.

  11. As the bloggers keep reminding you, the only sensible outlet for British Airways points is short haul domestic flights – you can bet that’s where the devaluation is coming.

    Perhaps they’ll even have the gall to add their walloping surcharges onto short haul, to match the colossal co-pay on long haul awards

  12. The best use of Avios has always been city-hopping within regions and short-hauls between adjacent regions. I’m sure the US sweet spots (West Coast to Hawaii, flights to Mexico and the Caribbean, etc.) will go away; but am glad I’ll still get decent value from short-hauls within Europe, and between Europe and North Africa and the Middle East.

    I’m a bit more hopeful about the other changes. Avios is usually one of the worst options for transatlantic flights because of high surcharges and per-segment pricing, and I think they know it. Heck, they compete with their own partner, Iberia, with the latter usually winning. Something tells me the change will be to a region-based award chart that would allow the inclusion of one BA/IB/EI connector.

    Take JFK-BUD, off peak (June). Routes through MAD and costs 60,000 Avios + $217.02. AA charges 30,000 miles + $18.90 for the same flight. For comparison purposes, *A member LOT flies direct for 30,000 MileagePlus + $5.60; even with the changes in November, I doubt the prices for the first seats will jump to 60-80k.

  13. But isn’t changing partner awards likely to be getting the partners to somehow also charge those obscene up-charges BA itself charges?
    Some reader on here referred to them as a co-pay. That is the term coined by US insurance companies that basically allows them to charge twice for the same service. A real rip-off in both cases.
    As an American, may I ask if UK folks actually use Avios for long-distance flights? Maybe bargains can be found flying to Edinburgh or Barcelona, but those additional charges always seem astronomical looked at from NA.

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