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British Airways Avios Program Worse Than I Expected

by on November 17, 2011 · 188 comments

in British Airways

I know many of you were waiting for me to comment on yesterday’s launch of British Airways’ new Avios program. However, I wanted to give them a day to launch and then respond to any customer concerns before making any judgement.

Unfortunately, they confirmed yesterday that Avios will be more confusing and less valuable than Executive Club – at least for most redemptions beginning in North America.

My main gripes with the new program:
1) The award pricing is now by sector, thus eliminating free connections and stopovers, which used to be a huge perk of Executive Club. For example, if you want to fly Detroit to Chicago to London (stay for a couple days) and then continue onto Rome you would be individually charged for the Detroit to Chicago leg and then Chicago to London and then London to Rome. Basically if you don’t live in a major hub city, you will have to use many more miles to fly.

2) The 97% cheaper awards figure was based on London. In fact most award prices for those of us in North America will increase. Sleazy marketing at its finest.

3) There is no award chart. The only way to figure out how many miles you need for an award is to use their calculator.

As I predicted last week, many awards will increase dramatically:
1) JFK-Hong Kong will go from 25,000/50,000/75,000 for one way coach/business/first to 35/70/105- a 40% increase. This also increases greatly if you have any additional legs beyond your Asian gateway city. The recent Bali-Hong Kong- JFK flight I booked for 75,000 miles one way in first class will now cost me 142,500 miles! Almost double the price of what I paid 4 days ago.

2) A multi-city trip to South America on Lan San Francisco-Lima-Santiago-Easter Island used to cost 20,000/40,000 one way in coach/business. With these great new Avios points that trip will cost 47,500/95,000 for coach/business - a 137% increase!

The Good News:
1) Per BA “Reward bookings made before 16 November can be changed under the previous rules with any applicable fees either online or offline. This will apply for the whole validity of the ticket regardless of whether single or multiple changes are made.” It still may cost you fees to change itineraries over the phone (like most partner awards require), but at least you won’t be repriced in the new ridiculous Avios sector by sector scheme.

2) Some domestic awards decrease/do not change, like JFK-LAX still being 12,500. However, if you don’t live in a hub and need to take connecting flights, your flights will increase drastically. For example Boston-Chicago-San Diego would cost 17,500 vs. 12,500 in the old model. JFK-Toronto will only cost 4,500 miles one way – a great deal since many short-haul flights can cost $500+.

To sum it up, I think British Airways really shot themselves in the foot with this launch – especially by withholding these changes until the first day that they went live. To top it all off, their rep on FlyerTalk admitted that they made some bad decisions with respect to the roll-out:

“Why was the partner award chart not announced in advance of the changes? Poor communication ==> poor loyalty
I think this is a fair challenge. On hindsight, I think I would have developed the Avios calculator in advance to ensure that you had access to be able to price all of the individual queries that our members had. Looking at booking behaviour at the time, I thought it would be useful to issue the prices for BA flights in and out of London and indicate that partner parallel routes would be the same price. I now see that more detail may have helped. The only thing I can offer are apologies and the explanation that we were limited in terms of development with the timescale we had.”

I had actually exchanged messages with the BA rep and she tersely rejected my claims that Avios would be a devaluation for North American customers. When asked for more information to back it up, she couldn’t provide it, so that’s when I did my sleuth work and was able to figure out the big shaft we were all about to get with this new program.

As I originally said when we found out about these changes, you should not only communicate your feedback to British Airways (feel free to Tweet them your thoughts on these changes), but also let Chase and American Express know that this devaluation essentially causes their programs to lose value as well (I recommend sending each secure messages so they know you are an actual cardholder and can pass along the information internally).

Chase and American Express buy millions of miles from British Airways and if they now know that these miles are worth a fraction of what they used to be, maybe they can even get a better deal or provide us more transfer bonuses to make up the difference.

So I hope British Airways gets enough negative feedback that they decide to make some friendly changes – at least for those of us in North America. It would not be the first time a loyalty program rolled out customer unfriendly changes and then backpedaled to make it better. Whatever happens, I’ll cover it here, so stay tuned!

What are your thoughts on the new Adios Avios program?

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author.s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.

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  • Benthelefty

    I tried to price out a sample GIG-JFK trip last night and had no success. The calculator you provided looks better than the world map-put-in-your-cities option I found. As many have said the short hauls will be benficial while the long trips won’t be good.

    As for using BA miles to book AA flights, if it’s all based on distance does that mean any GIG-JFK flight would be the same price based on the distance? That would seem to eliminate the change in award price for better or worse flight routes (GIG-DFW-ORD-JFK, for example) as opposed to GIG-JFK direct. Can you clarify this?

  • Anonymous

    GIG-DFW-ORD-JFK would be much more expensive than GIG-JFK. I just priced out a sample JFK-GIG for Sept 26, 2012 and it came to 25,000 miles and $18.80 one way. Not bad, but still 25% more than the old partner chart.

  • TJ

    Your Easter Island trip’s increase percentage is off (probably just a typo)— the trip increases by 137%, not 237%.

  • Julia Martin

    Thanks for your post, all of the recent updates and for providing your take on the new Avios program. After years of being a loyal United-gal, I recently joined the BA program (the chase card deal lured me away, and I’ve been taking a lot of business trips on a route that is more conveniently serviced by BA). I have to say that I have been overwhelmingly disappointed by the BA program, and this announcement only adds to my frustration.

    Given, 1) my experiences thus far trying to utilize my award miles (what…you want to charge me $3K in taxes and fees on top of the mileage for a business class ticket from JFK to CPT? did the agent really just hang up on me? this must be a joke….), and 2) the significant devaluation of my almost worthless miles.

    I’m going to RUN back to United with open arms.

  • BA

    this sucks.

  • Tyetin

    Looks like the car rental is a joke too. I have about 4800 miles left over from my latest booking and planned on taking my niece around LA. Figured why not use the last miles to rent a car with the new Avios feature. Seemed nice that you can do a points + cash. The Avis luxury vehicle cost 4400 points + 80$. If you stroll to Avis’s website you can get the same car for 75.99 prepaid or 94.99 “pay later” feature. When comparing it to the it paying later it means your points are only roughly 0.003 of a cent (4400 points = 14.99$). Let alone you could get it cheaper if you pay in advance (the same thing you’d probably do via BA).

  • Tyetin

    .003 of a dollar (or 3/10 a cent)

  • Josh_brooks

    What a mess over there. Called last night, 40,000 miles to upgrade Kathmandu to JFK (economy to business). Today, 50,000 miles and they said it had to be done by the new chart. Just called again, and got some Irish call center and the guy said I had to first pay cash to upgrade to World Traveler and then use miles for Business.

  • Dave Op

    BA miles is now ranked below Delta in value.

  • Josh_brooks

    P.S. Pulling the BA frequent flyer card out of my travel case….American is my new OneWorld partner! (so much better on the phone too)

  • Jenny

    I hate these increases, however I did book 2 one way tickets from Seoul to Osaka for 4500 miles and $55. If I were to buy out of pocket, this leg would’ve cost me well over $300.

  • Billy Mumphrey

    Has anyone tried to upgrade a ticket with them? I booked a JFK-HKG-BKK and HPT-HKG-JFK ticket to Thailand in First on the JFK-HKG and HKG-JFK segments, Business on the HKG-BKK segment but only economy was available on the HPT-HKG leg.

    I’m wondering if it’s even worth it to try to upgrade HPT-HKG to Business, if it even becomes available. Anyone know what the fees for a simple cabin change will be? I’m assuming I can’t upgrade online because ba.com doesn’t recognize the HPT airport code.

  • CU

    What do you think of mommypoints’ post about this? She agrees it’s a devaluation for people who fly internationally but says it can be a boon to those with families planning domestic travel. Agree? Or do you think it depends on the route and destination domestically? Thanks.

  • Billy Mumphrey

    I meant HKT (not HPT). Apparently even I can’t recognize the correct airport code for Phuket.

  • Anonymous

    For short haul flyers that don’t need to connect, this can be okay but in general this is a devaluation for most.

  • Billy Mumphrey

    Couldn’t agree more. I’ll top off my BA account with enough miles for a one-way domestic ticket and say adios to avios.

    What would American charge in miles for some of the flights to SCL, LIM and Easter Island? Can you get business RT for 80k? Do they allow unlimited stopovers?

  • JA

    Being charged extra simply because you do not live in a hub city is ridiculous. Revenue tickets are not priced that way, so why do this for award seats? How does this compare to the LAN program which transfers 1:2.5 from SPG?

  • Dave

    I agree with her. Being based in NYC and having family in STL, I can now redeem on AA for 15K pts + $5. That is a tremendous deal. That is nearly 2 cpm redemption. Or, NYC-CUN comes in (I think) at 25K which is definitely better than redeeming on AA. The longhauls are suffering, but I think there is tremendous value to be found under the new program if 1) you live in a hub and don’t have to connect; and 2) you fly shorter flights.

  • http://www.awardtravelconsulting.com AwardTravelConsulting

    AA does not allow stopovers unless you use their oneworld award which requires flying on at least 2 oneworld partners excluding AA. On an AA/all-partner award you get a free stopover at your north american gateway city for North Ameirca to EU/India/Asia/Central & South America.

    http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/american-aadvantage/433366-oneworld-awards-using-american-airlines-miles-info-not-info-all-partner-awards.html

    http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/american-aadvantage/440733-aa-all-partner-award-info-stopover-routing-rules-not-oneworld-awards.html

    “Between North America and Europe, India, Asia, or Central / South America
    One stopover is now permitted only at the North American “gateway” on awards between North America and another zone (in either direction). Note that multiple stopovers are permitted on oneworld awards, which have separate rules and mileage redemption rates. “

  • Josh_brooks

    Wow, it keeps getting better. After sitting on hold for 38min, was told it would take “250,000 miles” to upgrade my flight, since it is two carriers and multi-lateral? 250,000miles to upgrade kathmandu-JFK coach to business. That’s a total of 330,000 miles……How many times do I have to call.

  • JTI

    This is the worst part to me. There would have been some good values in different areas from other airlines (Caribbean/Central America/etc.) if awards were based on total distance and not segment. Not living in an AA hub, this significantly penalizes us.

    I understand wanting to eliminate unlimited stopovers, but pricing per connection (without a stop) is ridiculous.

  • Jeff

    I booked JFK-SXM for April 2012 for 35,000 a few months ago. Now, it’s just 20,000, based on the calculator. But it is showing no availability. Do you think BA would allow a change to the new lower rate if the seat becomes available?

  • Anonymous

    Yes but you’ll have to pay a change fee of $60. You might want to call and inquire now- never hurts to ask!

  • Federico

    Yes as long you live in a hub city (AA).

    I live in Miami and short haul are good but I usually don’t use my miles for those flights, I can get a 150~200 ticket for MIA-JFK or 200~250 for MIA-West Coast. I prefer to use my miles on international flights (USA-EU/Asia/South America)

  • rick

    They’re now a great supporting program for my long distance travel. Since I can’t get stop-overs on AA, for example, I’ll use these miles for cheap connections within the region instead of spending on a OneWorld award.

    For example NRT to HKG is 10k one way, HKG – BKK is 7.5k, and these short segments I wouldn’t mind flying in coach.

    US travel will also be cheaper if you fly at most half-way across the country, like DFW-JFK is now 10k.

    If used properly, Avios might actually be worth more now.There’s still AA, United and Delta for those long range flights.

  • Anonymous

    See, even BA admits it :D

  • stupidstupidstupid

    I am mad at myself for not not booking a random Easter Island flight, that was the plan thanks to your reminders, but I carelessly forgot.

    But at least I wasted no time and I just sent a secure message to Chase mentioning that this could be a PR nightmare for BA and that the new program indirectly impacts Chase (points less lucrative to future customers, card will be less used by current customers).

  • PJ

    each change costs $50 dollars and change thru an agent costs another 50 Be aware :) anybody can tell me different ?

  • Jeff

    ok, just called. can’t change to the new rate without cancelling the old booking and making new one. The problem is there is currently no availability. oh well..

  • PJ

    can you confirm if i intend to fly EWR-LAX ( prefer SNA) i am about OK right? with 300K still over with Amex MR.. i see a good ( decent) way out to move them to aeroplan to fly CO and to BA to fly AA

  • OperationBingham

    I’m confused. I realize there are numerous negatives here but not for the main trip I was working towards. I have already acquired 200,000 BA points and if I moved my Chase and Amex points I could have 425,000 points. My goal was first class from NYC to Sydney, AU. I knew that required 420,000 points before. I also will have the BA Visa companion certificate as I will shortly hit my 30K spend. After you post today, I feared the worst and checked the calculator. The calculator claims that 1 way from NYC to Sydney in First Class is 150,000 which means round trip would be 300,000. That used to be the amount I would need to get to places like Bangkok. So, at the moment, at least for this specific trip that is my only concern, things seemed to have gotten much, much better. Am I missing something?

  • http://profiles.google.com/riegelandrew Andrew Riegel

    Just booked a OW AA flight to LGA for tomorrow AM.. Cost me 4,500 miles and 2.5o$ in taxes.. Prior to the change this would have cost me 12,500.. A great deal if you ask me!! True, there are downsides for those who tend to use their miles only for longer hops/don’t live or travel to a OW hub city, but I’m sure most of us on this forum tend to keep running balances in multiple FF programs, and now having a program that can be used to purchase CHEAP and LAST MINUTE awards on a network as strong as OW in ones arsenal isn’t necessarily a bad thing.. CO used to be my program of choice for short hops due to their 10K/20K rewards for short flights on CO metal, BA awards on similar routes now cost less than half of that!! :)

  • PJ

    good discovery; anyidea how much fees HKG BKK ?

  • Gavinmac

    Thanks for the review. I’ve got a RT award ticket to La Paz booked under the older rules (80,000 miles for business class) departing and returning in February. I’m thinking of changing it. Do you know what they mean when they say I can make changes for the “validity of the ticket?” I’m not sure how long the ticket would be valid for. Maybe it was a year from when I booked it?

    Also, is there any way to make changes to the destination, stopovers, etc. without redepositing and triggering the new rules, or would I be limited to just changing dates?

    Thanks.

  • Federico

    IF you live in Miami, you can go to Easter Island for 25k o/w

    MIA-LIM:12.5k
    LIM-IPC:12.5k

    Available twice a week, but you can’t go trough SCL unless you want to spend more ADIOS points

  • Jon

    I’m not a big international traveler. For me, the point redemptions for domestic flights are pretty great now. I live in Cleveland, which limits my direct flight options on AA. However, I can now fly to NY or Chicago for only 4,500 points each way. Miami or Dallas are only 7,500 points each way. Not bad at all!

  • ASen

    The part that pisses me off is the larger amount of miles required for connections. I can still justify it for stopovers, but why for connections? Is it my fault that no OW Airline flies direct from my home airport to everywhere?

  • Randygoi

    I guess I’m from the very few who is thrilled with these changes. I have 400k BA points and I tend to use them mostly for utility rather than exotic long-haul trips in first. I live in YYZ and frequently travel to LGA and MIA, both places served by direct AA flights from Toronto. The YYZ-LGA portion dropped from 25k to 9k – a huge drop and YYZ-MIA dropped to 20k from 25k. As these are the routes I intended to use my points for anyway, I see this as reverse inflation.

    If I only had BA points, this would probably be upsetting, but like anyone who follows excellent blogs like this we tend to diversify our points and I have other options for when I need more complex multi-stop routes.

  • Derek

    Yes, I agree. To get to take a vacation to MIA from BOS now costs 20,000 rather than 25,000 times 4 people is a 20,000 savings. The FF game is so focused on single/couple trips to far off places, people forget that if you have a family with limited availability, I can not jaunt off to far off places very often (how about never). They key is being able to get to a big airport easily and then a non-stop to your destination…

  • PJ

    I assume I should be “happy” to have 2 simple ones booked on BA miles a while back : JFK -GIG SCL-JFK for 40K.. and fall back on TAM to do GIG IGU ( about $175; maybe CO miles can bail me out on this one) on LAN’s South American Pass ( about $600) to fly IGR to BUE EZE-BRC PMC-SCL

    would appreciate tips from anybody to save $

  • rick

    No idea, haven’t actually booked this yet…just planning stages… but I’d imagine it would be comparable to whatever it was before on those Asian airlines.

  • JTI

    This is irrelevant if you earn your miles through flying or Chase credit cards; but, if you were to redeem your miles through SPG point transfers, the LAN distance based chart is almost always a better value than the new Avios pricing…And yes, that includes converting km to miles.

  • Bart

    Same for me. I don’t live in a hub city but now flying to ORD will only be 4.5k miles. Awesome!

  • hobo13

    For those who would have paid 25,000 miles to fly DFW-IAH, and now only have to pay 4,500 this is a FANTASTIC deal! :-)

  • Mordy

    I just sent this via SM to Chase:

    Due to British Airways converting their program to Avios all my miles I earned with them through my Chase credit card are much less useful. It will cost me twice or triple the amount of miles for a trip than what it did when I signed up for this card. In my mind this is clearly unethical bait and switch and I am strongly leaning towards closing down my credit card.
    How did Chase let British Airways get away with this? You must have some sort of say and this change reflects very poorly on Chase.

  • Bugalugs

    All seems quite balanced from my perspective. My thoughts are the majority of folks put out by the insane stop-over allowance were mostly North America based, possibly never actually flew with British Airways and were living off of Chase bonus points and nice American Express offers. It appears ThePointsGuy has been over to flyertalk and so he can see the fuss seems mostly from folks looking to exploit credit card sign on bonus’ .

  • Juergen

    your World probably still is a saucer. Your understanding of economics is clearly poor.

  • Josh_brooks

    After 5 calls in and about 2 hours of hold time (reps are all queued up waiting to talk to supervisors), I finally got someone who would honor the old points chart for a pre-Nov16 flight upgrade. Got Kathmandu-JFK for 40,000 (coach to business). The problem was, that this was on two different airlines, and now is considered 3 segments. One rep wanted 250,000 miles to upgrade.

  • Anonymous

    BA doesn’t give the miles to Chase and Amex for free. Whether you agree with it or not, the credit cards can be more lucrative to airlines than their own flyers. So frankly, credit card holders being upset may be equally or more important than their own London based flyers being upset.

  • Anonymous

    The credit card companies are definitely in positions of control considering they are the biggest consumers of airline miles. So I think it makes complete sense to let them know frustration over these changes

  • Mordy

    what is a “Saucer”? Does it include my MBA/JD from an Ivy? Or my job at a white shoe Wall Street firm? Can you clarify?

  • ClearedCustoms

    Sent secure message complaint about British Airways awards program to Amex and Chase.

  • hobo13

    In case my sarcasm wasn’t apparent…..

  • purplnurpl

    possibly. you need to fly on all ba metal to use the companion.

  • purplnurpl

    possibly. you need to fly on all ba metal to use the companion.

  • Anonymous

    What about taxes/fees/ fuel charges when using avios points? Does BA still have the astronomical fees associated with booking award travel?

  • Anonymous

    I agree, this is a pretty crap deal as far as the good redemptions on this program go. However, it’s interesting to consider that if you follow the “diversification” strategy — that is collect primarily transferrable miles and keep airline miles spread across programs — this could actually be good.

    Often times I’m booking rewards last minute, and when I do that I sometimes cannot get where I’m going with my primary alliance (Star), but instead get close geographically. Or I cannot start at my preferred airport, but I can start close by. What I’d consider close is an hour and a half or so hop by regional jet. However, those little flights can often cost $300-400 per direction, what I can often pay for a full transcon.

    Now, however, this change gives me the flexibility to book my Star award from “near by” to “almost there” and make up the first/last legs with a 4500mi + change OW award. I think it actually makes my award bookings more flexible.

    When I was looking around, I usually had a lot of trouble getting an SkyTeam business class reward via Delta ex-SFO, and Delta domestic hop additions are just an epic disaster. I may be willing to pitch in a few MR->BA to expand my origin pool.

    Yeah I agree it’s VERY sucky for certain classes of redemptions. However if you’re diversified you can probably use it to your advantage…

  • Anonymous

    I got a good chuckle out of it!

  • Anonymous

    What about taxes/fees/ fuel charges when using avios points? Does BA still have the astronomical fees associated with booking award travel?

  • Anonymous

    Unfortunately yes- they came down for some European routes but are still sky high for transatlantic and australia/some asia flights

  • Anonymous

    You should really do some research about modern airlines. Like it or not, credit card companies play a huge role in air travel. Read up on how Chase provided United’s debtor-in-posession financing during it’s 2002 Chapter 11 bankruptcy. That’s more or less when Chase became United’s exclusive credit card issuer. Delta may as well be American Express Airlines the way things are going :P

    Credit card companies pay billions of dollars in advance for vast quantities of points which they can then distribute to their customers. Loyalty programs are often the only part of an airline which makes money, particularly in the US. Notice I didn’t call it a frequent flier program, because that’s not what it’s even about anymore, but just a part of a larger whole.

  • Krivokrasov

    Some good and some bad results. We were looking at flying to Thailand, but that went up from 50K to 85K. However, we also were looking at going from Denver to Turks & Caicos, as well as Denver to Mexico City. These are both expensive routes to purchase, and to use miles it previously cost 35K miles. DEN-PLS is now 29K miles, and DEN-MEX is only 24K miles. And if I did want to fly DEN-DFW, it’s 9K RT plus $5, which is a MAJOR steal.

  • Billy Mumphrey

    Yikes, sounds like the answer varies depending on the phone rep.

    Congrats on getting the upgrade for the pre-Nov 16 number of miles. Did you have to pay more in taxes/fees?

  • OperationBingham

    I know as that was my plan all along. I guess the question now is did that calculator refer to the lowest possible amount of points needed on even a partner airline or was it referring to BA only. I thought the latter but I will double check. The other question is are stopovers allowed. My plan had been to visit a few places along the way if possible.

  • OperationBingham

    UPDATE. The calculator clearly says the 150K each way (300K) round trip from NYC to Sydney is on BA only (which means the BA Visa companion certificate could be used). They reference that partner airlines might be priced differently. I don’t know what the surcharges would be like but considering I want to fly 2 people in first class, they will be a tiny fraction of what such travel will cost. So, while I realize and sympathize with the fact that these changes are bad for so many, in my case this is a good thing as I will appear to save 120,000 points. However, I would have liked to use BA in general in the future and so I wish the changes had not happened this way. After this trip in 2012/2013 is over, I doubt I will continue with this program as it stands now.

  • Chris

    Emailed AMEX and tweeted British Airways. Lets all band together on this one like we all did to use our miles pre change.

  • Bohemia Anon

    Have you actually priced up DTW-ORD-LHR-FCO. It’s a particularly bad example to justify your argument and in a way highlights the advantage of segment pricing.

    Economy is now 32k vs 30k before. Wow, what a jump!
    Business is now 59.5k instead of 60k.
    And First is 79.5k instead of 90k! (because you only get Y DTW-ORD and J LHR-FCO and you don’t have to pay for F).

  • Josh_brooks

    $70 change fee. No tax increase (which surprised me). I wanted to fight for the $70, but figured I was lucky to get 40,000 approved at that point.

  • thrashsoundly

    I’m able to take advantage of the best parts of both programs. Under executive club, I booked LAX-HKG-BKK-SIN-HKG-LAX for 100K in business, which is a dream redemption for me.

    The missing part of my itinerary was getting to LAX from SLC, my home airport. I’ve been stewing over how to do this for a few months. Ticket prices haven’t fluctuated for a while (~240 RT), and I didn’t feel like using 25K DL or AA miles was worth it. With the new Avios pricing, I can now get SLC-LAX RT for 9K Avios, which is a much better deal for me. I just need to top off my account with a MR transfer and then I’m golden. If I wait for a MR transfer bonus, then I’m even better off.

    As long as the few AA flights that service SLC-LAX work out for me, using Avios will be my new strategy to get to LAX for Asia or South Pacific destinations with other award bookings.

  • Mitch

    I think this is a good way to look at things, but I’m not heavily invested in Avios. I’m a Sky Team guy living in BA central temporarily, so I skipped the big Chase BA card offer. I have a big DL award to Australia coming up next month and used 15K orphan BA miles in a household account for CNS-SYD on QF. That award is now 10K, so I decided to refund, transfer 1K MR, and then book business for the three hour flight I had no way of getting from DL. Total cash £30, including cancelling coach booking. Since ANA doesn’t allow one-ways, they aren’t a great transfer for these add-ons, but BA can be. Likely will use them to expand my next DL award, which should be Asia.

  • http://twitter.com/trentswanson Trent Swanson

    Companion also still requires LHR connection, correct?.. Haven’t repriced to see the fuel surcharges changes

  • CU

    Nice.

  • Tom

    On November 14 I booked a roundtrip business class ticket from JFK to Manila on Cathay Pacific for 100,000 BA points. That same itinerary is now 170,000 points! Really glad I booked the trip before the changes took place.

    I’m most upset with American Express / BA for offering a 50% bonus for transferring your MR points to BA. The Chase Card, you got 100,000 free points just for signing up and spending $3k so I won’t complain. But my Amex MR points are hard-earned and the fact they offered that 50% bonus so close to the time BA was changing their program seems really sneaky and manipulative to me.

  • Faye

    I just booked 7 roundtrip tickets from Richmond to Chicago for this February at 9,000 Avios points + $5 each to fly on American. AND we get 2 free checked bags each. You can say I’m very happy with the program!

  • Dan

    I completely agree. I think this is very wrong headed of BA. They could have a program that defines a stopover as more than 4 hours (or 24 hours, or whatever).

  • Dan

    Basically “validity of the ticket” means one year from the date of ticketing (when you “purchased” it i the first place).

  • Dan

    Are you pricing your city to LHR to SYD? You’re going to have to buy (at least) two segments to get there. Don’t know how they deal with the stopover the plan makes between LHR and SYD.

  • Nathan

    It’s not at all surprising to me that BA has decided to reduce their offerings in this regard. Their customer service — outside of the flight experience itself — is HORRIBLE. I dread using their website with its myriad issues, and I cringe at the thought of calling their phone centers with their surly, argumentative, and rude personnel. If other carriers would provide an in-flight experience to most of Europe that was comparable, I would gladly avoid BA. But their business class is such a value…

  • Dasdfkji

    Thanks for warning us ahead. I booked my 100k when you warned us for a ticket in First/Business instead of my points now being only valuable for 1 coach. I was expecting to get 2 coach tickets prior to this but I’m glad I took your advise.

  • Dan

    I definitely see this as a devaluation of the program but I think this is an opportunity to look at Avios through a new light. The same way we use to look at BA as a great means to book partner awards – and specifically NOT a good way to book flights to London (given the high fuel surcharge) – Avios points should now be seen as good for short hauls, especially if you’re traveling from a hub, the same way that Flying Blue is good for US to Israel (since they include it as part of Europe) and the way that you can use US Air to fly to Asia via Europe.

  • Bonds

    Many of the mods on Flyertalk.com are “BOUGHT” by BA but you can only cover fire with a paper bag for some long. I made some points basically coming out against BA changes and was banned, masked fromt he BA forum. It’s literally a communist camp over there, it’s laughable!

  • Anonymous

    Thats ridiculous. I think theres a reason why many discussions are leaving FT and coming to the blogs. For what its worth, mods on FT yelled at me and said I was never allowed to link to my blog posts (this was when I was trying to help someone who asked for BA miles help and I directed them to my series).

  • Bonds

    TPG, One of the BA mods let out the fact that they were all “Wined and dined” by BA at many “functions”. This totally explains their behavior. Censorship never wins and it will destroy what was a good and useful site.

  • Bonds

    I agree, that is at best bait and switch and at worst THIEVERY on the part of BA and Amex. I hope TPG can organze some sort of movement to make Amex aware of this soe we can get some changes. I been building up my MR points for 10 years and was planning on traveling to Asia next 5 years frequently and so I took the bait and transferred, now they are pretty buch worthless, 5 trips I planned now is barely 3 if I am lucky. Absolutely RIDICULOUS.

  • Bonds

    I agree, we need to do this now. What Amex/Ba did is at best bait and switch and at worst thievery. You cannot offer a massive transfer bonus and 1 month later, make them worth 40-100% less!

  • Bonds

    And you should go back in bed with BA? Did they pay you like they do the Flyertalk mods?

  • Bonds

    I would also suggest BOYCOTTING flyertalk.com. The Mods on that board , especially the BA ones are bought and paid for by BA. I was banned, locked, Masked for no reason just by posting TPG’s info and projections before the devaluation came into effect.! It is frankly censorship at it’s worst, I thought they are British but they are acting like commies! I like to ask some of those gullible people who are drinking BA’s koolaid they are serving, what part of a route costing 40% to 100% more is good for anyone in the program? You may not use it now, but does that mean you will never use it? Does anyone think BA is doing this now, they won’t at some point do it to their favorite routes? Short sighted, pitiful , stupidity at it;s best. Sad really.

  • http://www.creditsense.com Ben B

    Seems like the programs almost always get slightly worse when they change it up… have any programs gotten better after switching things up lately?

  • Kazkittin

    Are the checked bags free? My BA award on AA shows: ’2 bags at 23kg (51lbs) per bag per passenger….. Different baggage charges and restrictions may apply on other airlines. Please see the operating airline’s website for information.’

  • lkar

    Points guy — are you aware of any other frequent flier program that prices your miles from destination A to destination B differently depending on your routing, even with no stop-over? To me, that’s the craziest part of the whole thing. I think many people save up their miles with the idea that when they get to X, they will be able to fly between two cities. I can understand what AA did, to make it so that stop overs require point to point pricing on each side of the stop over. But if you wanted to design a frequent flier program, what possible value could be serving by making the mileage from AAA to BBB, even without any stop-overs, vary by as much as tens of thousands of miles solely based on the happenstance of the routing that has availability?

  • SMK77

    I think Nicci (BA representative) has a point: BA is offering routes to NA that have become cheaper: East Coast to London. Hence, there is more value for customers sitting in NA. When BA says ‘our’ routes than that includes BA routes and not partner awards. It is fair to say though that BA should have announced the massive devaluation of partner awards upfront.

  • Mitch

    Pretty sure the ANA chart runs that way, but I think the bands have less granularity than the new Avios chart, so you see fewer jump points.

  • oldmanpeabody

    I’m clearly in the minority here, but I do see some really good upside for those of us who primarily want to use the BA miles to fly domestically and fly coach. I was never willing to pay what seemed to me exorbitant taxes for the international redemptions anyway and now I’ve got a domestic option that has insanely low RT costs. Perfect example: I’m in ATL so I naturally have a lot of Delta miles that might as well be worthless because I can never find availability.

    Yesterday I priced out ATL-MIA RT for me and the girlfriend in January….9000 points PP. Meanwhile the lowest tier on Delta would only be 25,000 even if there were any availability, which there rarely is. (TPG, I know you’ve mentioned in posts you have some good techniques for finding Delta redemptions and I’ve looked at some older posts but I know my friends and I would LOVE to here more of those for domestic travel). Anyway, overall for me this is an improvement for domestic travel — even ATL-NYC is 15k…two tickets for almost the same price as one on Delta.

  • abcx

    Indeed. I made a couple of admittedly provocative posts yesterday which were instantly cleaned up. I basically called BA liars in one of the threads and created a thread to eject the BA rep from FT.

    I got a “warning”. I guess this should be expected from the Brits – in all the time I have spent over the pond, what I have learned is that they are quite sheep-like in their fondness for the nanny/Orwellian state.

  • JOHN C.

    I dont think all is negative but perhaps it is because I live in Miami a LAN gateway city. I cashed in on the 100k credit card offer a few months ago and was desperate to unload my miles before Avios and tried to call the call center numerous times unsuccessfully and was quite frustrated. At 10pm the “night before” I even tried to ticket some tickets to Easter Island but the site kept on crashing and I just gave up.. glad I did and I’ll tell you why…. the award redemptions HAVE increased for long haul flights but they are still lucrative for someone like me who wants to basically travel to Latin American.

    Before 40K miles economy to Brazil/Argentina which I travel to often (same for Peru /Ecuador)
    now: about 50K miles for Southern South America (which is less than what I would spend w/ my Star Alliance points which are currently 60k!)

    what is even MORE lucrative are the short flights. I am going to Aruba (booked the trip today) for only 15k miles ROUND TRIP! (much less than before!) For about only 20K I can now travel to Bermuda, St Kitts, Trinidad and Tobago, Central America and even parts of northen South America. To me this is not a devaluation and works !!

  • Dan

    The combination of the UA and CO award charts saw some rewards increase and some decrease. No major changes but it seemed most saw the changes as positive.

  • Sdfghj

    why would you use any points to go to Miami? They have been running sales of $115-$130 RT for the last month or so

  • PJ

    LGA YYZ ( toronto) ICN NRT ( Seoul TOKYO) TPE HKG CLE NYC.. NYC ATL NYC MIA.. all short hops are winners. glad to see LAX EWR not touched phewwwwwwwww

  • Elena

    I transferred 350,000 Amex points and got a 40% bonus a few months ago with the intention of booking a trip from JFK to HKG on Cathay Pacific. So basically the points that I transferred from Amex were actually 1:1. Great.

  • Aber

    Obviously this hurts the long haul flights, but some of my most common flights have dropped from 12.5k to 4.5k for direct of ~600 miles. I’ve tested a few routes and it seems that around 3000-4000 miles between cities is the “break even” point of where the worse deals start to come in. We loose the amazing deals on LAN/Cathay, but if you can use the short-haul AA flights you can get 22+ one-way flights with just that one 100k offer. If these work for you, it may even be a better program for short domestic flights than the Southwest 50k offer.

  • Federico

    Send a SM to Amex and tell them how you feel about the your program, request your MR points back… they will say no but at least you tried.

  • Bem247

    This is a huge blow to AMEX! They have this new awful program and the Aeroplan devaluation. How long can AMEx pull off by having Delta “skypesos” as the only non fuel surcharge airline? I sent a letter to Membership Rewards VP Lynn Biggar in July urging her to do her upmost to get American, US Airways and/or Alaska Airlines to join to fill Continental’s shoes. It seems like since October 1st that they are doing nothing about it. Do you think with Avios and Aeroplan they might pick up their game?

  • Bonds

    Short Haul beenfit is only good if you live in teh Hub city!

  • Anonymous

    “Worse than expected” changes? I disagree. I think you did a great job warning us what to expect. Thanks!

    That said, the changes are not bad for everyone. Let’s face it: BAEC was already a deeply flawed program. I mean, it’s British Airways and, for most of us, it didn’t make sense to fly to Britain on one of their awards! That’s nuts, right? And the vast majority of their other “great” awards had fees that made them less attractive than redeeming miles on other airlines for the same trip. The only really great opportunities for N. American travellers were some “deep” S. American trips and “interesting” itineraries where you could build in lots of stops (like I’m booked on an “air cruise” through Alaska thanks to the old chart).

    I have some access to an AA hub so I honestly don’t mind the changes very much. The new chart creates awards that I can’t get anywhere else. Like, next summer, I’m taking the family from JFK to Halifax. 9000 miles and $52. This was always a destination just out of reach (too far to drive and, at over $600/ticket, too expensive to fly). Indeed, anyone doing short haul across the US-Canadian border will be thrilled by the new chart. Before, there was no good way for a leisure traveller to fly these routes. Using Avios points is a no-brainer.

    I also think folks will learn to like the S. American opportunities. Need to get from Lima to Cuzco? No problem: 9000 points and 12 bucks. I predict that Avios points will be considered an indespensible tool for most frequent flyers. Not your primary program, but for how many N. American travellers was it before?

  • Bonds

    HE is probably on BA’s payroll like all those Mods on Flyertalk.

  • Bonds

    Just like BA, Nicci is a pathological LIAR. I am in SFO and every single one of my routes have increased 40 to 100%. BA metal or not. Absolutely not acceptable.

  • Cazic949

    Deeply flawed and they just it made it worse. Bravo!

  • Bonds

    Sorry are you on BA’s payroll?

  • Bonds

    Tweet American Express at @AmericanExpress and BA

  • Bonds

    I just priced a flight from SFO to LHR in Business and it’s 100k Avios which was same as before but now its $940 in Fuel surcharge! This is laughable!

  • MYRflyer

    I tested orlando and las vegas hotels versus AA car/hotel redemption. Adios came out slightly ahead of AA for hotel redemptions. For TPG’rs that live in a gateway/hub city congratulations, you are the winner! Long live UA/CO/AA

  • Anonymous

    I have to say, it seems like short flights are too good to be true in lots of cases with Avios. SFO-LAS for 4.5k each way is a steal

  • sandman

    The new BA is amazing for the short haul, domestic traveler. I just booked a last minute DCA-RDU flight for next week one way ($604.70) for 4,500 AVIOS points and $2.50. Add the $50 value of two free checked luggage, and you get an UNBELIEVABLE 14.5 cents a mile.

    No more Megabus (well, at least till my 100 k BA miles run out!

  • Bonds

    Short Haul flights? Is this what it has come to? They made me waste my AMEX points by offering a BOGUS BONUS transfer. This is THIEVERY.

  • Ryan

    Glad I booked my trip to Bali in F on CX before Shena Struck!

  • Mitch

    Let me clarify this by saying that I hadn’t realized BA was pricing each segment by distance and then adding up the prices. That seems absurd, as you could have a couple of flights that are each just over a threshold, it when the mileage is combined fall under a threshold, so you pay way more based on per segment pricing. ANA adds up all the flights in your itinerary and then checks the price chart to see what you pay.

  • Chafer

    I took your advice and just sent a secure message to Chase from my account…here is the message…”I am generally very happy with Chase, especially the fact that I can transfer miles to my airline accounts. However, something happened today that you should probably think about. British Airlines changed their entire miles program today and greatly devalued the worth of each mile. They also did it in a very sneaky way telling people that they were improving the program, but not revealing the details until they screwed their customers. I know that Chase was not at fault, but it would be nice to have some other airline choices since BA was one of the airlines that I was planning to use. I’m glad that you added United, but have you thought about American or even Cathy Pacific. At the moment, I’m really happy with Chase, but really steamed at BA and since their actions affect the value of your points as well (due to transfers). I just thought that I should give you some feedback. Thanks,”

  • PJ

    I envision: somebody can have a website to let people swap BA points versus points from other programs. Until then, is is quite doable Friend CO ( long CO miles) books an attractive CO trip for Friend BA (long BA miles) In return, Friend CO get many short hop trips back from Friend BA or settle the BA points somewhere between 1.50 cents (?) etc..
    My miles stragety happens to work well: I own THEM ALL – ready to move points out of MR and Sapphire Preferred plus still sitting long from CITI AA bananza , Southwest, Alaska , Airway

  • PJ

    I paid 3.99 per gallon on regular in LA in NJ 3.13 anyway EWR BOS 4.5K as well; bye bye Chinatown bus hello BA partners :)

  • Anonymous

    Im hoping for a US Airways addition. They used to be a partner and they have a weak current credit card partner, so I don’t think it’s totally crazy to hope!

  • Anonymous

    Correct- North America to Europe in business class actually went down from 105k to 100k w/ Continental. Additionally, Continental added one way awards this summer, which was a huge enhancement in my opinion

  • PJ

    Indeed, the new avios compete headon against the new breed no frill short haul airlines in Europe
    LHR to Paris or BRU 4.5K Rome Barcelona 7.5K one way with other miles and cash options wow wow wow Avios work well on NYC LAX ( SFO) runs another consolation
    thanks for the Halifax tip ;; Let us pray to see Amex ( out of the guilt sense) comes out with 50% bonus to trasnfer out MR into BA miles; I am about to move out 300+ since i am still very long in AA from the CITI AA runs and also has been a loyal Sapphire Preferred member to stock up CO miles..

  • PJ

    US airways is not that hot on Coast to Coast runs am I correct ie short of non stop flight rewards for ordinary citizens ( non elite members)

  • PJ

    US airways is not that hot on Coast to Coast runs am I correct ie short of non stop flight rewards for ordinary citizens ( non elite members)

  • Brandon

    For what it is worth, I just booked RT DENVER to CHICAGO O’HARE for 15k + $10. This would have been 25k last week. I noticed their change flight fee is $40. Flight changes were free as long as the airports are constant, I thought. So, this might have changed.

  • Brandon

    For what it is worth, I just booked RT DENVER to CHICAGO O’HARE for 15k + $10. This would have been 25k last week. I noticed their change flight fee is $40. Flight changes were free as long as the airports are constant, I thought. So, this might have changed.

  • Coumaris

    The additional 9000 miles for connections for those not living in a hub is outrageous. Surely BA will change this ! Mileage should be on city to city.

    We don’t all live in London, BA.

    Gr8 news for those living in Miami ! For those of us in NE AA direct cities the Carribean & Mexico shorties are great.

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  • Ellen

    I just booked a one-way ORDDEN for 7500 avios miles + $2.50. This is an amazing deal. UA would charge me 12500 +$50 for being within 30 days.

    I was quite sad I didn’t book my BA miles before this all went down but I think I’m just going to spend them skiing more this season in CO. Go snow go!

    I’ll just use my other miles for the more exotic trips…..

  • Mordy

    I just received this response from Chase:

    Dear Mordy,

    Please accept my apology on behalf of British Airways for
    any inconvenience you may experience with their switch to
    Avios. I want to assure you that under no circumstances
    would either Chase or British Airways ever intentionally
    cause our customers any form of inconvenience. Feedback is
    very important in improving products and programs and is
    essential to customer satisfaction. I appreciate the time
    you took to express your concerns.

    Because British Airways wants to be made aware of all
    customer concerns and because we feel they are in a better
    position to respond to your inquiry, please contact them
    directly at 1-800-452-1201 with any additional questions
    or concerns that you may have regarding the switch to
    Avios.

    If you have any further questions, please reply using the
    Secure Message Center.

    Thank you,

    XXXXXXXXXXXX
    E-mail Customer Service Representative

    1-800-436-7927

  • Mordy

    And I sent them back this SM:

    I have contacted BA to express my dissatisfation and have received a most unsatisfactory response, basically they told me that we can do whatever we want because the “terms and conditions,” (the fine print) allows unilateral changes and we are lucky they did not devalue the program even more. Obviusly they totally blew me off and I expect that is the gist of the response the agents are told to reply to complaints with. This has been their public response as well on public forums such as Flyertalk and Milepoint, where without exception, 100% of Chase BA Visa customers commenting are angry, upset and frustrated at BA. The anger is now becoming focused towards Chase as the general consensus is that these changes were done with Chase’s consent and/or knowledge and was not vetoed by the bank, who it is assumed has the ability to do so. There are also a good chunk (probably a majority) who believe, perhaps based solely on conjecture, that this was the (nefarious) plan of BA and Chase all along, going back to the lucrative sigup bonuses of the past 2 years and the extensive marketing urging Chase customers to spend money on their BA Chase credit cards.

    All in all, it is clear that Chase referring me to BA to respond to my inquiry is woefully inadequate on the part of Chase and a direct response to these issues by the bank is warranted.
    I sincerely hope that some sort of fair and reasonable compensation is in the works at Chase to offset these severe devaluations. While I do appreciate your words of apology for this devaluation I do not think I, nor 99% of your BA Visa cardmembers, will be satisfied with anything less than a fair responsive action on the part of Chase, probably in the form of depositing into our BA accounts BA miles equal to two or three times what we have earned over the life of the card (including sign up bonuses), and/or perhaps a refund of all annual fees ever paid on the card.
    Please do respond quickly, dragging out the time period until Chase adequatly responds only increase the anger and frustration of your BA Visa customers.
    Thank you,

  • vi

    Can you book awards with Avios Points + Cash as we could before with BA Miles + Cash? I don’t seem to have this option as I used to when I look at award flights.

  • CU

    In case my sarcasm wasn’t apparent… What I meant to say was, not nice at all. I’m a stage III cancer survivor who has already been to Africa, Asia, etc. Now I’m focusing on bringing my family of 5 to places I love & they haven’t seen b/c when I was sick, that was one of my regrets — that I hadn’t seen their faces when they saw the Grand Canyon for the first time, etc. Many of the places on the bucket list are now domestic. My question was honest and above board. I hope you never find yourself in my position.

  • CU

    In case my sarcasm wasn’t apparent… What I meant to say was, not nice at all. I’m a stage III cancer survivor who has already been to Africa, Asia, etc. Now I’m focusing on bringing my family of 5 to places I love & they haven’t seen b/c when I was sick, that was one of my regrets — that I hadn’t seen their faces when they saw the Grand Canyon for the first time, etc. Many of the places on the bucket list are now domestic. My question was honest and above board. I hope you never find yourself in my position.

  • Modernhaus

    Re: “Lima to Cuzco for 9000 pts and $12″ is this roundtrip or each way?
    I need to book this and can’t get it to come up on BA site…they show only Lima as Peru destination. How are you finding this trip?

  • Bill

    I have a two for one voucher from Chase and a 150K avios points….what is the most lucrative way to redeem them?

  • Paulalausun

    I booked a ticket to asia prior to Nov 16 on CX, can this be changed to
    multi-city trip to South America on Lan under the old rule?

  • Bitachu

    Hey LAX to/fr HNL is only 25k roundtrip…your saying thats a bad rate?

  • Bitachu

    man i’m waiting for another bonus…new avios works out for me….

  • Gary

    Hey Brian,

    Question for you. I have one of the companion tickets due to the $30K spend. We cant travel until this summer so I am sitting on the 130,000 Avios points until then. How does the new Avios work with the multiple segments? Can my companion and myself still travel business class from LAX to Berlin on the one award even though we go through London on the way? I sure hope so…

  • Gary

    Hey Brian,

    Question for you. I have one of the companion tickets due to the $30K spend. We cant travel until this summer so I am sitting on the 130,000 Avios points until then. How does the new Avios work with the multiple segments? Can my companion and myself still travel business class from LAX to Berlin on the one award even though we go through London on the way? I sure hope so…

  • sil

    For short trips, it is good. If I had waited to book my Cuzco to Arequipa to Lima, I would pay 1000 points less and without the phone service charge. Also, 17k for LAX to HNL is great for me. I will just use my Continental , AA and U.S airways for Asia and Europe.

  • Hamilton

    to fly inside the US is a very good deal! i can fly to miami from jfk for 15000 miles, Nice!

  • Anonymous

    An award to Geneva in coach costs about $520. It’s a joke. UA / CO costs about $100 and AA $200.

    I priced an award to Hong Kong from NYC via ORD and it said 100,000 miles in coach.

    The BA program is just as bad as DELTA’s. On Delta you need huge amount of miles to get a seat to Europe in the summer. At least on BA to Europe at 50,000 it is reasonable but the cost is high.

  • Olehassel

    The BA fan boys at flyertalk are SO annoying. I wonder if they are BA employees? I find it hard to believe that anyone can be that fanatic.

  • Simon

    I can now fly SAN-LAX 9k return (always $250+), and also BNE-SYD return (which I do once a year when I go home to visit) for the same or 18k return ($1,000 +) in QF business. I will burn my 2-4-1 companion coupon on a trip to US-LHR for the BA First experience and then plan to leverage BA Adios only for the 2 (US and AU) domestic legs mentioned above.

    All is not lost me for; but everyone is different.

  • PJ

    SHORT hops are cheap now yihaaaaaaa

  • http://www.zaisprecis.wordpress.com PCP

    No, that is not accurate. I live in RDU and see great value..I can now get to Chicago, NYC, DC, Miami, Toronto,DFW, several islands in the Caribbean, and Cancun for 4.5K to 7.2K. Stop forming that conclusion. My family sees value. the key to all of this is DIVERSIFICATION of points/miles. I welcome the change and will use my other types of miles/points for long-haul travel.

  • oldmanpeabody

    Uhh…not on BA’s payroll, just trying to use up the BA points I got with the CC offer earlier this year. I’m just saying that for domestic flights the Avios mileage-based program is a boon, particularly if you’re flying out of an AA hub. Hell, I’m flying out of Atlanta, so my options are severely limited but I’m still seeing some significant upside….a month ago I was looking at 4 RTs on AA to use up these BA miles. Now I’m looking at 6-8 RTs at 9,000-25,000 miles per.

  • sabowtage13

    I’m now the holder of a somewhat useless +1 redemption voucher from Chase.

  • Anonymous

    Tuesday afternoon I had called BA to book pre-Avios (it took me a few days to learn the whole system once I learned of the impending devaluation). I had been on hold for about 16 minutes when I got disconnected. I tried calling back at least 20 times and never got through. Avios are a disaster for me.

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  • PT123

    30% ponts bonus when you transfer Amex points to Avios in currently offersed.

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  • Sandy

    I’ve been patiently building up BA points towards a trip to India, only to find that all the dates I want are unavailable. Curiouser and curiouser. BA just lost me to Virgin Atlantic.

  • Gupton

    The fees are crazy compared to other airlines. 40,000 miles and $623 in fees PHL to LHR. Continental is 60,ooo miles and just $174 in fees. Now all by BA points are down the drain!!

  • Dhammer53

    You can cash in Avios for travel on AA domestically. I recall reading the NY to Miami is around 13-15,000 points. Not a bad deal. Read back to review some of the places you can go ‘on the cheap’.

  • Mmt

    I think AA is making fewer domestic short haul flights available to BA.
    I checked AA for availability MCI-DFW, normally wide open for almost all flights. It was, as usual, wide open for all days next week. Checking the BA webside, only the first flight of the day was available, all week. I called BA and tried to book a flight I saw available on the AA website. BA rep says it is not available for BA to book. This is a big change from before Avios. I could always get any flight AA was showing available for AAdvantage points by calling BA booking agent.
    I suspect that AA is witholding availability from BA flights that BA sells for less Avios than AA sells for points. MCI-DFW is 4500 avios, or 12,500 AAdvantage points.

  • Gupton

    I want to use my BA points to travel to England. I can go cheaper now with other airlines and not use any points! I don’t need to travel AA domestically – why waste points on unnecessary travel. I don’t know why BA’s “taxes” are 4x other airlines taxes when traveling internationally??

  • Mmt

    this week BA and AA are showing the same availability MCI-DFW

  • JET

    I just had the same experience with banking points for a trip to London…VERY DISAPOINTED!!!

    I wish I could transfer my BA points…not happy with BA at all!!!

  • Ti009

    British Airways Avios points are almost useless. Will stop using this program as soon as I get at least one flight out of it…..hard as hell to find.

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  • PJ

    pls read the positive sides again and all my posings elsewhere to the subject ; they ARE really superb when you can use them also they are ready to get you quick ticket on AA flights periods. I paid $95 to get my 100K got more than 500K from amex gold/platinum on 6 cards ( 5 GPR 1 Platinum) with 6 X1000 SPEND great catches for year of 2011 not to mention all the thanks from friends who also joined my points hunt.

    4.5 K plus 12.50 gets you on PMC SCL that is a great treat to go along with 80K BA for 2 persons r/t JFK GIG SCL-JFK . The inland flights GIG IGU IGR AEP AEP BRC PMC SCL consume only 20K AA 9K BA and 468 for IGR-AEP and another 100 booking fees to BA and AA

    Finally I piece together a very low budget SA tour to impress my family, especially my wife, who have been skeptical about my points hunt .

    I also have SPG ( cash and points option) and Hyatt points to get all hotel stays except the BRC PMC area where it can not cost more than $100 per night…

    the land tour package from budget operators can come in close to 5000 per person..I dont think all in expenses also counting points at 1.25 cent each can go over 6K

    Hope this is also helpful to people planning to tour South America. Other people would certainly add on more destinations such as Peru Easter Island etc

    Nothing change : points from credit card offers make ” big travel at small price ”

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  • Niranjan VeNiranjan Vescioscio

    Avios is a rip-off. For example, to book a $1700 ticket from the US to India, you must spend 90,000 points, but that only applies to $800 of your fare. The rest must be paid in cash as taxes. If you look at the breakdown of taxes, you will that most of the $900 in taxes is a Fuel Surcharge.

  • Anonymous

    Agree that certain awards make no sense at all- like coach awards to London or beyond (like India). However, short/mid haul flights from the US to pretty much anywhere but Europe can make a ton of sense.

  • cpauls

    Also, I just learned while holding on the Executive Club line that Avios points expire in six months if your account is not “active.” One way to keep the account active, of course, is to “purchase more miles.”

  • Al Bore

    Avios appear to be pretty useless. I tried to buy wine with them but there was a £30 admin. charge per case.
    I then tried to book a flight to Thailand on British Airways, online, when I got to the Avios bit it said put in your nine digit number, but my card has a twelve digit number, so it wouldn’t accept it. I flew Jet Airways instead, cheaper and quite OK, and no silly points to think about.

    Wrote to British Airways to let them know but didn’t get a reply.

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  • Aviosisarippoff
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  • Esther

    Is there a way to convert Avios into another airline’s points, specifically American or United? I live in Boston and have most of my family in the UK so my main use of points is between Boston and London. This summer BA is charging a $650 surcharge for flights that only cost $900 if purchased without points. I can’t believe I put $120,000 on a credit card over the years to save just $750… I need to switch out of Avios if at all possible. Thanks.

  • thepointsguy

    You can’t transfer them elsewhere- at least not in a way that makes any sense. BA will charge you huge fees to Europe no matter what carrier you fly. However, if you use those points for travel to anywhere but Europe and Australia, you will avoid those big fees.

  • mike

    i regret getting my ba cc

  • Joe

    There is never any availability unless you book a year in advance. This is now really little more than a sophisticated legal scam posing as a rewards programme.

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  • DL

    Very well written analysis. Not only have their required points significantly increased, the fuel surcharges are almost 400% or more than UA’s Mileage Plus. I will mostly stop collecting Avios all together and use my 2 for 1 voucher to stick it to BA for inflating their programs so much.

    Good recommendations on contacting AMEX and Chase.

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  • Tom

    The British Airways program is a complete fraud. Priced out a round trip from Orlando to Helsinki at 52500 Avios and $965.01 in fees and fuel surcharges (of which $842 is the fuel surcharge!). The full fare from Orbitz flying Virgin Atlantic on same dates is $971.79 with fewer stops! SAS is $862.19. Essentially Avios are worthless as British Airways just charges you the full fare anyway and calls it a ‘fuel surcharge’!

    In fact this program is such a joke that they don’t even take it seriously. They have a “promotion” going and the pricing details yielded this gem (cut and pasted from their website!!!!). Their promotion just increases the price in Avios. It would be laughable how amateurish the whole fiasco is if they weren’t so serious about ripping people off and committing fraud.

    Original price 50000 $ 965.01
    Promotion applied -2500 0
    Updated price 52500 $ 965.01

  • Jaz

    This is the reward for loyalty – I don’t think so

  • Davios_123

    I have 250000 Avios and an Amex partner voucher… I have tried so many times to redeem them during the last eight months without success that I have come to the conclusion that BA Avios BA/Amex partner tickets are absolutely 100% worthless and useless. It’s all nothing but a major con ….

  • Shumanchu

    WORST FREQUENT FLYER PROGRAM EVER! Transfered 200,000 Royal Bank Avion Points to get 300,000 Avios Points. MISTAKE! Almost unusable. No Availability….ever. Did I say MISTAKE. If you use a partner airline, triple the amount of points compared to what the website shows plus HUGE fees. UNLESS…

  • Shumanchu

    WORST FREQUENT FLYER PROGRAM EVER. I transferred 200,000 Royal Bank Avion points for 300,000 Avios points…MISTAKE…Avios points are almost unusable! I found 1 flight option from Vancouver to Europe and the BA rep told me it would cost me 360,000 points and $1,800 to book for 2 (albeit for Business class). BA web site says the same flight should cost 50,000 each ticket….DID I MENTION WHAT A BIG MISTAKE I MADE GOING TO BA AVIOS? Customer service poor, program poor, website dishonest. AVOID BA AVIOS at all costs.

  • BL

    another big issue with BA / Avios is the fees/taxes amount…. these appear to be almost double what others charge (AA)?

  • andy

    As far as I am concerned British Airways Avios points is their executive SCAM. I transfer to them 160,000 points for 50% bouns and practically I lost everything. Cortrary what they promised before the transfer, the very next day the story changed. six months later I still was unable to book any flights with them. It is highway robbery. Be aware.

  • Frank Butcher

    Avios points are a waste of time. I will never fly BA again after they put me through the ringer. Took me ages to book a business class return from LA to LHR. I wanted to change the return and there was no availability for over 2 months. I paid part cash part points. They wouldn’t even let me downgrade to economy! If you cancel you don’t even get part of the fuel surcharge (most of the ticket) back. I ended up cancelling anyways and got another ticket with Virgin.

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