British Airways Devaluation Update and Campaign to Keep the Single Oneworld Partner Award Chart

by on September 2, 2011 · 130 comments

in American Express, British Airways, Chase

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Yesterday I wrote about some upcoming changes to the British Airways program and they seemed okay for their European members, though I had some major questions about their partner airline award chart. Right now, the biggest value of British Airways miles for most North Americans is the ability to use miles on Oneworld partners (like American Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Lan) for travel from the US to South America for 40,000/80,000/120,000 (coach/business/first) roundtrip and Asia for 50,000/100,000/150,000 miles roundtrip. Not only are these good deals in terms of mileage, but the steep fuel surcharges BA adds on to flights to Europe do not apply to these awards. This is the reason why I got the 100,000 mile Chase British Airways Visa back in April and why I transferred a bunch of Amex points to British Airways in July at the 50% bonus.

However, now the British Airways rep on Flyertalk confirmed that partner award chart is drastically changing:

“Sorry if it wasn’t clear in my earlier post, partner rewards will be priced the same as BA. So – a single pricing table for itineraries which are: BA only, BA +1 partner or partner only

For multi-partner itineraries these will be priced using the current oneworld multi carrier redemption. The pricing will be based largely on a distance banded model for all reward sectors. We are not purposefully withholding anything or trying to hide anything – I will be as informative as I can and try to keep up with your questions. Please do feel free to prompt me if you feel I am missing something important that needs a detailed or urgent answer.”

Excuse the crude reference, but in my opinion this is a perfect example of a sh*t sandwich: you deliver seemingly good news (20% decrease in some awards), followed by terrible news (huge increases in partner awards), then follow it up with some good news to hope that people forget about the bad news (TBD)

Update from BA Rep on Flyertalk:
With regards to the pricing queries you have, we are working towards sharing the detail with you in a more structured manner as soon as possible. I’m sorry that we cannot publish the full details at the moment. We will be communicating more detail in the lead up to the changes actually happening. Can I please ask that you do not send me individual pricing queries by route via PM as I cannot answer these due to a rapid increase in queries and while I appreciate everyone has personal concerns, the wider community share some of these too as well as the general day to day account concerns. What I will say is that the general consensus concerns have been noted.”

I then Tweeted BA asking for more clarification on the award chart and the response was:

BritishAirwaysBritish Airways N.A.

@thepointsguy Hi. We will be issuing further details on Partner reward pricing in the coming months. Thanks for tweeting.

Coming MONTHS? They can’t be serious.

Until a BA rep can prove otherwise, I think we were all served a hearty portion of said sandwich. While routes like JFK-London  come down in miles by 20%, their fees and surcharges are over three times more than their US counterparts.

American, Delta and Continental all priced at 40,000 (AA off-peak) – 60,000 miles roundtrip for a coach New York (JFK or Newark) to London, whereas a British Airways award will cost a whopping $563.29.

Newark-London for 60,000 miles and $168

JFK-LHR on Delta for $168 and 60,000 miles

JFK-LHR on American for 40,000 miles and $168

JFK-LHR on British Airways for 50,000 miles (40,000 in the new program) and a whopping $563

I’ve always dismissed these insane fuel surcharges and instead recommended that you redeem your miles on partner awards to/from anywhere but Europe. With that option becomes much less lucrative come November 16, 2011 – I would encourage everyone to redeem as many miles as they can before that date.

In addition, I think it’s also smart to express your opinion of these pending changes. Not only should you email, Facebook and Tweet British Airways, but also get in touch with the credit card companies to let them know you aren’t happy that British Airways is making negative changes to the program.

The credit card companies are the ones with real power here. They buy billions of dollars in miles from the airlines, so if their top customers are raising a fit about the major devaluation of their currency, the credit card companies can put pressure on the airline to scale back the severity of the changes. You can send secure messages online to American Express and Chase or simply call the number on the back of your card.

While you may think your opinion doesn’t matter, it does. The issue at hand here is that the airlines are major copycats. If every other airline sees that British Airways can devalue their miles and pull the rug out from their members – just months after enticing them with lucrative offers, what will stop everyone else from following suit?

I don’t recommend getting crazy, but voicing your frustration via social media and through your relationship with your credit card company can be very powerful. It seems that British Airways has made their mind with the changes, but that shouldn’t stop us from giving them constructive feedback that they should keep their single Oneworld partner award chart intact. They made positive changes for their European-based members, so where is the love for the North American members? I don’t even need any “enhancements” - just leave the single Oneworld partner chart alone and I’d be satisfied.

What are your thoughts?

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Frank


  • NYCtraveler

    Can you provide a list of Twitter/Facebook/email accounts that we should contact?

  • Al

    I cant believe it. So what do you think the likely JFK-HKG point requirement is under the new scheme? I hope it is not what I think it would be….

  • RakSiam

    well, that certainly does suck. So much for that CX F class award. But I suppose that those 100K free miles were too good to be true.

  • Tim Adler

    I recently booked a reward flight from JFK to Melbourne using BA points on Qantas. I was charged the hefty taxes surcharges (~$500) – whereas the same flight booked at the same time with AA did not have the same surcharge.

    A question: In your post you say that hefty surcharges do not apply to flights to Asia – do you mean that Asia not including Australia – or did I somehow book the flight incorrectly?


  • Anonymous

    Was it economy or coach? A BA award via London to Australia would have over $1000 in fuel surcharges, so consider yourself lucky.

    You still paid roughly the amount of taxes that BA charges on coach awards from JFK-LHR, so what I meant was that the taxes/surcharges are less for all other regions. Some more than others- South America trips only have about $65 in fees

  • Anonymous

    I linked to them in the post. I forget American Express’ Twitter which is @Askamex

  • Uraspank

    “Excuse the crude reference, but in my opinion this is a perfect example of a sh*t sandwich: you deliver seemingly good news (20% decrease in some awards), followed by terrible news (huge increases in partner awards), then follow it up with some good news to hope that people forget about the bad news”

    Are you just dealing with the airlines for the first time? This as about as atypical of the airliness always are. The problem is they are never held accountable. Even when they are “fined”, its never enforced. They have the FAA and congress in their back pocket, and their customers are hostage to their every whim.

  • Rob Ives

    Are you suggesting that a flight from say Toronto to JFK would be 40,000 Avios x2 = 80,000 Avios (e.g., charging based on Toronto to London + London to JKF, despite the fact that it is a direct flight on AA?)

  • Anonymous

    No, it will be distance based- but pegged on the British Airways chart, so it would probably be the same as London to Dublin.

    The real issue is that BA is withholding the actual chart, so we can only speculate. However, I think most people realize that the best redemptions are going to go up significantly.

  • Matt Langdon (@theherocc)

    I am a complete newbie to redeeming miles and I did get the 100,000 BA miles. How does one actually use those miles to go to South America? Do you call American Airlines and say, “I’ve got BA Miles and want to fly to Brasilia.”?

  • Jacob

    @PointsGuy I recently booked a trip to Costa Rica for December and a trip to Venezuela in February with British Airways points. Will I have to re-do the purchase once the redemption schedule is released or will they still honor my purchases as-is?

  • hmaia

    Brian, when you say “With that option becomes much less lucrative come November 16, 2011 – I would encourage everyone to redeem as many miles as they can before that date.” does it mean I need to fly by that date or just book an award flight? I have to go to South America next year with a my whole family (4 in total).

  • Anonymous

    Just book by that time- you can book travel for up to 355 days in advance and anything booked before the deadline will be honored

  • Anonymous

    It will be honored as is

  • bspn

    The most disturbing thing is that BA is withholding the partner redeem information. How terrible is it? We can only hope that they haven’t completely determined the final chart. FF in north america is so screwed if they eliminate the one-partner awards.

  • cagalindo

    Haha yeah right, I’m done with British Airways once I spend my 100k.

  • Tom

    Any word yet on the 2 for 1 voucher program from Chase? I need to spend about 2500 more to hit the 30k level this year and get the voucher. Should be able to qualify this month. I’d sure hate to see that benefit go away.

  • Guest

    Sucks for some scenarios, but not others, between the wife and I we have almost 300k BA miles. Excuse me, Avios miles, and one companion cert.

    We’re forced to fly BA metal if we want to use the companion cert. So now that biz is going to be 80k from east coast US to London, that’s a pretty easy decision right there. And with stopovers it could be okay.

    However, that leaves around 200k left to play with and schedule out some Asia travel. Sounds like I should book this Asia travel first. No?

  • Anonymous

    That benefit isn’t going away and since you have to redeem on BA anyway, you should see very little change (and a possible decrease) in the amount of miles needed

  • Anonymous

    Right.. I’m hoping they will share it if we put enough pressure on them. To withhold it until the first day of the program would be disingenuous

  • Anonymous

    Book Asia first and then use the companion cert later (they’ve already said that isn’t going away).

  • JMSL

    I am a newbie like yourself, and I redeemed some of my 100K BA miles for a South America trip in June. You will need to book your trip through BA, regardless of which partner airline you plan to fly. Go to the BA Executive Club website, get yourself set up with a login and password, and follow the tips TPG has given on this website in his series on maximizing BA miles.

  • Euan

    An update from the BAEC representatives on FT…

    “With regards to the pricing queries you have, we are working towards sharing the detail with you in a more structured manner as soon as possible. I’m sorry that we cannot publish the full details at the moment. We will be communicating more detail in the lead up to the changes actually happening. Can I please ask that you do not send me individual pricing queries by route via PM as I cannot answer these due to a rapid increase in queries and while I appreciate everyone has personal concerns, the wider community share some of these too as well as the general day to day account concerns. What I will say is that the general consensus concerns have been noted.”

  • YessMissWin

    I was planning to book an Asia ticket in the next two weeks so I guess I better jump on it. Sheesh. Thanks for the heads up TPG!

  • gavinmac

    Let’s say I want to redeem my BA miles for a trip to South America prior to November 16. But I’m not sure yet exactly when I want to go to South America. Could I book a ticket to Rio (or Easter Island) within the next few months for random dates in September 2012, and then just wait until the middle of next year and then change the dates of that award ticket (perhaps pushing the trip well into 2013)?

    I forget if they have fees and whatnot for changing dates.

  • Chris

    TPG, what are some of your favorite partner awards using BA miles that I should consider in lieu of this?

    I was planning booking two awards for a trip to Central/South America in February but am now thinking it might be better to burn through all 100k I have and maximize the value of them before these changes take effect.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, you could do that. They used to let you change for free, but will be instituting new fees. But overall, that should work. Even if you have to pay a couple hundred in fees it may make sense to avoid paying huge new mileage amounts

  • Anonymous

    The ones I listed are the best. Personally, I’m doing a 150k Cathay First Class JFK-HKG (Stop)- HKG-BAlI and then return BKK-HKG (stop)-JFK for 150k

  • Trent Swanson

    @askamex is putting all the onus on @britishairways, the implication of which is that BA did not consider credit card partnerships (or North American BA customers) in its decisions

  • Jorge

    I have 30K miles left. Already have a trip to China HKG booked for Nov 1. I cant understand how BA will be calculating trips from MIA to say CCS or RIO. They do not fly that route at all.

    I understand JFK – HKG since they could fly that route thru EU. But US/LATAM…not sure.

  • Cindy

    Hey TPG,
    Just curious, what do you think the chances are that the Chase BA 100k coming back. I saw somewhere on your site that it was twice in 18 months and I missed out. Think there’s any chance at all that it will be back??

  • Fishingace

    A little confused by whats going on here- like many, i got 100k BA miles from Chase. I mainly fly domestic (USA) and have been planning to redeem them with AA. Will I be affected? Should I book my upcoming domestic trips before Nov 16??


  • Anonymous

    We are all confused. All BA has said is that there will be changes to the partner award chart, but they won’t let us know what those changes are (but in my experience dealing with airlines, I can’t imagine they will be positive because they would have already announced it if so)

    As far as domestic flights, since the new chart will be based on distance, we could see transcontinental flights increase dramatically

  • Anonymous

    Its possible. I’ve heard some rumblings, but nothing set in stone. Don’t worry- the second I hear anything I will let you all know!

  • Asdfasdf

    It may not be that bad.

    It just says that the number of miles will be the same whether it’s BA or one partner.

    Why do you assume that it will go up from N Amer to S Amer for example?

  • Asdfasdf


    the chart never listed the crazy fees, so it is not right to assume anything different will happen with taxes/fees/YQ

  • Anonymous

    Because I’m a skeptic. If these were good changes, they would have let us know with the announcement. I know how the airlines work- they release a tiny bit of somewhat good news with very little actual information to create a positive buzz (which has failed in my opinion) and then they will release the bad information with very little notice and then follow it up with some good news.

    The great thing is, since we caught this early on we can let them know our thoughts. Even if they aren’t planning on massively increasing partner awards, we should still be communicating with them and asking for as much information as possible.

  • ozzzie19

    I just planned on using the BA miles on domestic AA travel (I know, now the most lucrative way to use them, but I don’t do much international travel). Currently, the chart shows 25,000 miles. If they go to a single pricing table, could domestic AA travel be a winner, considering Europe 1 to Europe 3 is currently only 20,000 miles?

  • Asdfasdf

    Worst case, My wife and I got 200K BA miles for spending very little.

    The irritating thing to me if it changes dramatically was my wife and I hedged our MR transfers like this:

    one of us transferred to Delta for the 67% bonus (100k –> 100K + 40K MR)
    one of us transferred to BA for the 50% bonus (100K Mr –> 150K BA)

    now i’m thinking we should have transferred all to DL

    If I can still get to S Amer on AA for 40K I will be satisfied.

  • Anonymous

    They are moving to a distance based chart so what we will likely see is some short routes decrease but longer ones (like JFK-LAX) increase. TBD until they provide actual information

  • Anonymous

    The good thing is you can still book a flight by Nov for travel until November 2012, so at least we have some notice. I still think you were smart to diversify. These changes may not end up being so bad, but they certainly have the potential to be increased exponentially

  • Worldtraveller2

    So quick question about how you booked your trip. Did you find availability on Cathay first, then CALL BA to book that trip?

  • Anonymous

    Right.. BA is fee happy so I wouldn’t be surprised if they “enhanced” partner awards with the same outrageous fees they place on flights to Europe

  • Anonymous

    Correct- I used the methods in this post

    If it was a simple JFK-HKG-JFK I could have booked it online, but doesn’t handle stopovers, so you have to call. I had the flight numbers ready and had it booked in 5 minutes with a super friendly rep. She even waived the phone booking fee because it couldn’t be booked online.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks- I added this to the post

  • Euan

    Not just BA but most major European airlines charge full taxes and YQ on redemptions. BA are also in the unfortunate position that their hub is LHR which as we all know (more so being UK based) our G’ovt LOVE taxing flights.

  • M Pranivong

    Is the multiple partners chart base on actual miles flown or the most direct route available? I am looking for SYD-DFW but the only available routing for my prefer date is SYD-NRT-DFW.

  • Chaney Kourouniotis

    Pardon the newbie question, but is there value in the hotel/car rental redemption options? As a San Franciscan with in-laws in Greece, we were hoping to use our 100K Chase miles to get to Athens but, of course, found the fuel surcharges ridiculous. We don’t go to Asia much. Frankly I was pretty excited to hear that I could use up my BA miles for hotels, since I am new to this game and have no hotel reward points yet. That’s what we’re doing with our 150K Citi AAdvantage miles – we should be able to redeem them for the Westin Princeville on Kauai next spring.

    View from the Wing said “They’re introducing hotel and car redemption options, those will be useless, so let’s ignore them.” Am I missing something? What’s useless about miles for hotel/car redemption? Not a good enough redemption chart?

  • David

    I’m confused about matching BA prices. I use my BA miles for South America because at 40k miles round-trip plus next to nothing in cash it’s a great deal. Is that cash amount going to increase? I had the impression BA doesn’t fly most of those places in South America, so what price of theirs would they be matching?

  • Anonymous

    They would be standardizing all awards to a distance based chart, which probably won’t be pretty

  • Anonymous

    hotel/car redemptions will probably give you .8 or less cents per mile. Redeeming for flights- especially premium cabins- can get you up to 10 cents per mile.

    However, you have a good point- the value of an award to many is how much money it will save them. If you were never going to PAY for a first class award, the actual value may be very different.

    However, I agree with Gary that non-air redemptions are usually the worst value

  • tassojunior

    How will this affect the AA domestic awards? The 35K AA HAwaii awards?

    Many of us not only got the 100K Chase cc but also used the recent 50% MR transfer bonus. I’ve now got 400K BA miles.

  • Anonymous

    Trust me- I’m in the same boat. My guess is that longer domestic awards and nearly all Hawaii awards will increase.

    Thats just a guess- we won’t know for sure until they release the information, which they have said will be closer til November :-(

    If we make enough of a fuss, my hope is that they release it sooner, which would be the right thing to do

  • Kris

    what do you think the likelihood is of them saying “okay, but the mileage needed for the award has increased, so now you have to pay the difference if you want to rebook”? that’s my big fear, because i wanted to book BA tickets to Peru for Mid-November 2012…

  • Paquan

    “Not only are these good deals in terms of mileage, but the steep fuel surcharges BA adds on to flights to Europe do not apply to these awards”. Yes they do ! Maybe not AS steep though. My last 2 award trips on CX in F cost me around $600 and my upcoming trip in J costs around $5oo. Using AA miles it’s <$50.

  • Euan

    If anything I suspect the might not release the full award chart but may give details of the more ‘popular’ routes from N.America i.e to Asia and South America. Just my guess.

    However, it looks like rewards will be re-aligned so whether you fly from the UK or US the mileage redemptions levels will be similar, something they have not been in the past and something I am glad they are rectifying. Yes there are winners and losers but that’s life unfortunately.

  • Anonymous

    Just curious why you’d be glad they are increasing awards for people in North America? What do you have to gain from it?

  • Alan

    I also have the same concern as Kris. My partner and I both signed up the Chase 100K deal and we plan to spend my portion of miles to Europe and his portion to S. America in two years. There is no way we can make both trips in next 12 months due to our schedule. If we can book both trips and delay one of the trips to 2013 without ponying up additional miles (but need to pay rebooking fee), I’m okay with that. But will BA honor that???

  • Anonymous

    Not sure how they will handle it.. will have to wait and see

  • Craig

    I have over 900,000 BA miles in my family account and two 2-4-1 certificates, plus it will be easy for me to get another two certificates next year if I want. Any advice to someone like me with a relatively large BA miles balance? By the way, your blog is getting better and better!

  • Craig

    I have over 900,000 BA miles in my family account and two 2-4-1 certificates, plus it will be easy for me to get another two certificates next year if I want. Any advice to someone like me with a relatively large BA miles balance? By the way, your blog is getting better and better!

  • Craig

    I have over 900,000 BA miles in my family account and two 2-4-1 certificates, plus it will be easy for me to get another two certificates next year if I want. Any advice to someone like me with a relatively large BA miles balance? By the way, your blog is getting better and better!

  • Anonymous

    If you use your miles for BA flights primarily with 2-4-1s I don’t expect you to be impacted too much (possibly even beneficially if you redeem for JFK-LHR type flights). However, I can’t make any recommendations until BA releases their secretive award charts, which they told me today on Twitter would be in the following MONTHS

  • Anonymous

    I was wondering why you were so nonchalant in your last post. Turns out, you just didn’t know.

  • Euan

    I’m not specifically glad that people in NA are going to see potential increases (so will Asian based BAEC members who fly to NA).

    I’m pleased to see that all awards are being realigned, based on distance. For years it’s cost us 240,000 miles to fly First from LHR-HGK whilst JFK-HKG is only 150,000 miles and the journey is 33% further.

    So that to me is unfair, particularly given it’s a British airline.

    One solution would be to keep us at 240k and increase the reward for a longer journey above 240k which would align awards more accurately.

    The alternative is to reduce the UK’s 240k, which is what they are doing, and then realign other awards accordingly.

    Likewise, my view was that LHR-East Coast would remain at 50k and the West Coast would increase to 60/70k to align itself better with longer flights.

    In fairness to BA they have kept the West Coast at 50k and reduced the East Coast to 40k which is inline with redemptions from LHR to the Middle East (and flights/distances are similar lengths).

  • Anonymous

    I wrote yesterdays post 5 minutes after I got the email. It wasn’t abundantly clear what was changing (and still isn’t) but company reps have confirmed potentially huge changes, but refuse to give details- which scares me

  • Euan


    A further update from the BAEC rep…

    “Just a note from me before the weekend really begins. The Executive Club is (and will continue to be) a global frequent flyer programme. I assure you the concerns from our valuable frequent flyers in North America have not gone unnoticed. As soon as we are able to, I will do my best to re-visit your concerns and open dialogue around this to try and provide the answers tailored to your point of view.

    I realise this is perhaps not the answer that you are seeking at this point but I do not want your views to be unacknowledged”

  • Anonymous

    It’s pretty obvious that BA knows that people know that flying on BA with miles is a rip-off, because folks like yourself keep saying so (with good reason!) And I imagine from what we’re seeing right now they’re trying to normalize their chart and their partner chart to change that.

    That means cheaper awards on BA, which they’re going to trumpet up front but more expensive awards on partners, which they’re going to be as vague about as possible.

  • Anonymous

    It’s pretty obvious that BA knows that people know that flying on BA with miles is a rip-off, because folks like yourself keep saying so (with good reason!) And I imagine from what we’re seeing right now they’re trying to normalize their chart and their partner chart to change that.

    That means cheaper awards on BA, which they’re going to trumpet up front but more expensive awards on partners, which they’re going to be as vague about as possible.

  • Euan

    Whether it’s a rip off is based on personal opinion. Being based in the UK I don’t find it a rip off.

    1. Would pay YQ with any major EU airline on redemptions (VS, BA, LH, AF, etc)
    2. Can use the AMEX Companion Voucher for a free ticket (if UK),
    3. Can travel to NA or Asia in First class using miles and paying less in taxes than if buying an economy ticket.

    I agree it’s expensive flying with BA on redemptions if in Y and that NA members may view it a ‘rip-off’ as you don’t pay taxes with US airlines.

    I would say they are trying to align their reward charts so they are more balanced and it would appear they have opted for distance.

  • abcx

    This “open dialogue” is marketing bullshit for them asking us to bend over.

  • Phil

    Would something like BOS-IST be changed? was hoping to use a companion cert and 100k miles

  • Mitch

    Um, Australia and Asia are different continents. My guess is that since BA and QF are tight in terms of FF programs (iirc, Australians can’t join BAEC and UK residents can’t join QFF), BA will collect YQ on QF redemptions. I redeemed a handful of orphaned BA miles for a domestic QF flight and paid a bit in cash, but I think it was just the actual taxes and no YQ.

  • Caffe

    EVERYBODY NEEDS TO CONTACT CHASE OR AMEX as well as BA! Everybody needs to do it. They are basically spitting on American Customers and doing a bait and switch. I see no difference between this and all those banks writing bad loans couple years ago knowing what was going to happen.

  • Paul

    Brian, for the trip back, is it possible to do SIN-BKK-HKG-ORD (all of it on Cathay)?

  • Anonymous


  • Nathan

    BA’s customer, in the past 4 months since we booked biz class tickets for two different trips, is nothing short of horrific. So, it’s hardly surprising to me that BA has decided to offer less value than before. An email message I sent them, marked URGENT, on June 22, was answered on August 31.

    If their biz class flights to Europe weren’t so enjoyable, I would NEVER fly them. BA is happy to take your money. Once they have it, then the real BA attitude comes to the surface, which is the specific variety type of ingredient in the sandwich referenced in this article: tough sh*t

    I’ll enjoy their lounges and flights for our upcoming travel. But I will dread the necessity of talking to these wankers. Sod them. BA can bugger off. Which is as much Brit-speak as I can muster for now.

  • MJLouise

    What would you recommend for those of us 100K chase customers? I was thinking of redeeming on AA for 4 domestic tix, or 3 Hawaii tix. Can I book tickets on AA through BA, then change dates as my travel plans firm up? What is the date they are giving for expiration of the current charts?

  • Anonymous

    My understanding is you can use the current charts until November 15, 2011. So you could make an award with travel up until early November 2012. You may be able to change it again, but I’m not sure- they may re-price.

    Once again: Not all awards are going to be devalued- just primarily international non-european partner awards. Domestic/Hawaii could be, but we have no idea yet.

  • Todd

    Hi Brian! Trying to use miles based on your post “If there are saver flights on, then you can use BA miles to book those tickets. It should load, but the site is crap. I’d just write down the exact dates and flight numbers that have Saaver availability and hunker down and call British Airways to get it booked. Complain that their website is broken and if you push hard enough they’ll waive the phone booking fee. Enjoy your honeymoon!” I tried this and the agent said that BA doesn’t have the same availibility as AA and they couldnt book the trip. What am I doing wrong? Thank you!

  • Anonymous

    They are wrong or either you didnt have a MileSAAver award on all segments. What was the flight? I can look into it

  • Todd

    Thank you Brian!

    5 apr12- aa1231/1652 day to mco
    13 apr12- aa1511/1822 mco to day

  • YahooRocks

    TPG, you are literally the only one who put the changes into some perspective for me. THANK YOU for a straight-forward article, sadly it confirms what I was afraid of. Nonetheless, you rock!

  • JohnnieD

    Are you using AirAsia for DPS-BKK segment??

  • Anonymous

    AA doesnt have any coach milesaaver awards on April 5

  • A A

    Hi TPG!
    Great article. I think BA actually is hiding the partner

  • Todd

    so the milesaver cant be first class?

  • Anonymous

    It can- I didn’t realize thats what you were looking for.. how many tickets?

  • Caroline

    It probably depends on individual circumstances, but I find that redeeming BA rewards on transatlantic flights has almost no value. Granted, I don’t have a lot of money and always fly economy. It would be great to fly First, but as someone who doesn’t have a lot of money I’m more interested in saving money on a flight than getting a nicer flight for a similar spend amount.

    I can get a roundtrip ticket from Boston to London for around $700, typically. A reward flight would be around $560 in taxes and 50,000 miles. Maybe I expect too much, but I think those savings are minimal, and they can get negligible if a good deal pops up (flights were $610 recently). What makes it even more annoying is that they give me the option of doing a miles + cash option for around $850 + 25,000 miles. I can spend 25,000 miles for the privilege of spending an extra $150! (If I’m slightly fuzzy on the exact numbers here, I can assure you that I have priced exact itineraries trying to sort this all out and determined that, indeed, they do charge that much more for the exact same flight on miles + cash.)

    At the very least, maybe BA needs to do something to work the kinks out of their taxes and fees so that they actually make sense. I would not object to paying some amount of fees. It’s the scale that’s the problem.

    I’m sure the value varies drastically by route, but I really feel that a simple transatlantic reward, routed through London of all places (the BA hub) ought to be worth something more than this. As for other routes, I admit relative ignorance — I don’t get around to flying to Asia much, sadly. And perhaps the bottom line is that BA miles are just better if you want to fly First or Business.

  • Todd

    3 total on those dates. Thank you Brian. I will email you!

  • Anonymous

    Availability is there- I’d just call again and make sure they know its business class and say Dayton to Orlando (Via Dallas) and say that you have the flight numbers if that would make it easier for them.

  • Euan

    I would say that redeeming BA miles (on BA metal) anywhere in Y isn’t particularly good value given the taxes you have to pay. This will soon change for Europe at least and it will be a fixed rate. The thing is, the taxes are not much more for a J or F redemption, just the additional APD tax (Gov’t tax).

    I agree, if I were you I wouldn’t redeem for Y either. I would simply buy an economy ticket. How many miles do you have? 80,000 will take you to LHR business and back and the taxes will be marginally more. Alternatively, if you can get a good WT+ (Premium Economy) ticket in a BA sale you can upgrade to business for only 12,500 miles one way – soon to be 10,000 miles from November which IMO is excellent value.

  • A A

    Hi TPG,
    Great article. I think BA actually is hiding the partner reward chart on purpose. There’s no way they don’t have that ready before making such a big announcement.

    In the worst case scenario with a distance/zone type calculation, what do you expect the N.A. cross-coast (eg, JFK-YVR) on CX will be? Last time I did this, it was 25K miles + $78. Will the fee go up a lot too?


  • Todd

    Thanks Brian. I will try again.

  • Kane

    I’m not a mileage vet by any means, but I think it’s obvious that a lot of these extreme mileage CC signup bonuses are the precursor to devaluations. Managed to use 70k of my 100k BA miles so far, and I won’t sit on my AA miles for too long…

  • Alvin

    Actually, BA does charge about $450 for redeem reward flight from USA to Far East on AA flight. I think cathy pacific is the same..

  • Caroline

    I have a fair amount of miles (130K — hey, I got the credit card!) so I may well consider booking a business class flight for the first time, which I admit would be nice. In general, I’d just rather stick to options that result in my spending less actual money than I would otherwise, since as I said I don’t have a lot of money to begin with (I’m a grad student!). That said, the European domestic rewards changes sound interesting. I spend a lot of time based in Europe, so I’ll probably be able to take advantage of this change.

    Thanks for the tip on the WT+ upgrade to business. I will have to look into that.

  • Euan

    Well if you wait until November you could travel First class return for 120k or First/Business for 100k. One option would be to try out the LCY-JFK route on the return – a unique way of crossing the pond.

    The Europe changes are good, fixed fees, etc which is nice.

    WT+ to J is a well known good use of BA miles so I’d look into that, particularly as it will only become 10,000 miles one-way.

    Either way you’ve got a good few miles to have some nice trips…. even 80k to get you to London leaves you 50,000 miles for some flights around Europe!

  • Latimer

    Does anyone know where I can trade my BAEC miles for something else? It doesn’t look like handles this currency.

  • Anonymous

    In almost every scenario is a bad deal. As bad as these changes *may* be, I wouldnt freak out and just get rid of your BA miles. They can still be very valuable!

  • Anonymous

    They are lower everywhere else- see here for screenshot examples

  • Alvin

    i think the difference is due to the origin city. if it is LAX, it is cheaper.. See your screenshot of Japan Air from Chicago to Tokyo.

  • Paul

    Thanks Brian. Much appreciated

  • Latimer

    Yeah, I do agree they can be very valuable, but I only collected them with 1 thing in mind: a honeymoon to Bali in 2013. I really doubt that a distance-based model would keep an SFO-DPS itinerary on the low end; the Pacific is just so dang wide :)

  • Asdfasdf

    it would be awesome if 2-3 hr flights on AA price at 20K miles + $5

  • Euan

    You can ‘share’ your miles with other BAEC members, you can transfer up to 19,000 to a member (but there is a cost). BA don’t allow trading of their miles unfortunately.

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  • Adam27nyc

    This reply is total BS. Sorry does this guy “Euan” work for BA?

  • Euan

    Just to clarify, that response is not mine but it is the response the representative of the BAEC gave on the FT forum. It is not my response. I don’t work for BA or even in the airline industry.

    I was simply posting the response from the BAEC here for the benefit of readers of TPG’s site.

  • Beachfan

    Thanks for the great coverage PG!

    These changes are bad, but my beef is how the fuel surcharge issue hit’s folks in North America harder than the UK members.

    If you are using it for things that go maximium YQ (like DEN-CPT), then you are talking $2280 for two in pure YQ, not including LHR APD if you stop over, other taxes, etc. LAX-CPT on a 241 cost $3200 with a stopover in LHR.

    DEN-CPT is double the YQ as LHR-SYD but within two hundred miles RT (DEN-CPT via LHR vs LHR-SYD).

    The “double” assumes they are booked in the same country. In fact, YQ booked in the US is 24% higher than YQ booked in the UK. Right now, long-haul more than 9 hours is 24% more in $ than in pounds ($285 vs. 145 pounds, with today’s fx rate being 1.622)

    This means the max YQ from the US is 248% of the max YQ ex LHR. The BA rep on FT confirmed these will remain the same.

    There is also award loading issues that discriminate against US west coast folks (maybe US east coast too, I haven’t been looking at that). They load west coast awards a month later than LHR-Africa or LHR-Asia awards, meaning no chance at hard to get routes. (Based on monitoring award availabilty from California from Dec 2010 to July 2011).

  • Andrew10412

    this is when you really start to see the ‘benefits’ that airline mergers are providing. every single program in some way or another is devaluing their loyalty program. with mass industry consolidation there is no real need to remain competitive.

  • Lglobal375

    Hey I just checked the BA site, and I don’t see any options for hotel redemptions. Is there something I’m missing or does BA truly offer hotel redemptions?

  • Anonymous

    This new program with hotel options won’t be launched until November

  • kevin

    Hey Brian-

    I wrote you an email couple of days ago but I need some more help.

    I am planning a family (2 adults, 2 children) trip from JFK to MCO, departing JFK on April 20 2012 and returning on April 26 2012.

    I was going to pay cash originally but with BA changes, I figured I would just burn the miles for this trip (I have over 200k+ miles).

    Checking, they have business class miles saver seats available at 25k (or 50k round trip), per person (total of 200k miles). Now I am fairly certain that this route only has economy and first class seats but according to AA, I should be assigned first class seats? Am I incorrect in assuming this?

    Checking, they are classifying these same exact seats as first class, therefore charging me x2 or 75k BA miles round trip, per person.

    Speaking with a BAEC agent did not help (two different answers by two different agents). They clearly saw the seat type at but yet they were unable to help me.

    Any thoughts if this can be resolved with a higher up at BAEC?


  • Anonymous

    I hate this situation, but I have had success in convincing BA agents to only charge me business class prices when its a 2 cabin configuration. However, has these flights listed as First class, so I’m not sure if you’ll be able to get it done at the lower price. Good luck, but this is a known grey area of the program. It never hurts to ask nicely!

  • kevin

    awesome, thanks for the advice. I did try to sweet talk one agent but it was no go but I may try again one more time.

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  • Pierre Le Van

    To be honest, the new changes seem fair to me. The oneworld partner award was more interesting than redeeming BA flights. With the new changes, European and North American people will have more or less the same opportunities. It makes sense that the massive 100k offers were given to redeem mainly ba flights and not to enjoy a great loophole as the oneworld partner award system.

  • Jimmy

    Dude, you should ask BA to lower LHR-HGK route for fairness – not by increasing JFK-HGK route. And about the credit card promotion, you should also ask Chase/Amex why they don’t care about UK customers. And if you still feel unfair, move to US.

  • Tt


    what are some good awards for J travel with a 100k BA bankroll, with minimal OOP expenditure (i.e. 700 taxes to London is a horrible deal)

    im like south america, or far east, or even europe zone 1 (with OOP for sleazyjet to eastern europe…). spring 2012.

    possible for that time? do you predict good available also? im too confused on all the charts, and cursory search on didnt yield partner availability. trying to dump these miles before they turn completely useless…

  • Tt

    if it makes a difference, i am IAH based…. reading your subsequent BA posts now and the picture becomes slightly clearer but im still confused due too all the incoming changes…

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  • Anonymous

    YOu’ll want to book American airlines flights to South America/Asia/Hawaii/Domestic US. They have the least out of pocket taxes. Any milesAAver award should be bookable with BA miles- you’ll just have to call to get it ticketed

  • Tt

    thanks !!!

    what about the CX option to asia?
    and does BA enact OW blocking , or do the hide the availability?

    for example, IAH to SCL on March 22 – Apr 5 is available on but shown as unavailable on BA even when searching with partner awards….

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  • MJLouise

    Does BA charge close-in fees for AA redemptions? I’m looking at 3 one-way last-minute redemptions. The AA site wants an extra $225 for three close-in fees. If I’m looking at BA right, they are only charging $5 each even just a couple of days out.
    Sounds almost too good to be true LOL. Am I just not going far enough through the dummy BA booking?

  • MJLouise

    BTW these are USA domestic one-way redemptions, just to clarify.

  • Anonymous

    Nope- its one of the nice things using BA vs AA. AA’s feed can get nasty!

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