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British Airways Avios Update and My Grim Projection of Certain Partner Awards

by on November 9, 2011 · 177 comments

in British Airways

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British Airways has made it clear that there will be big changes coming November 16, 2011 with their new Avios program. Unfortunately, they have not been clear about exactly what these changes will be for their North American customers, besides telling us that their current partner award charts will go away and will be aligned with their British Airways/Iberia awards.

While the uncertainty is unsettling because the changes go into effect as soon as we learn about them, they recently released the Avios award chart for Iberia flyers, which basically tells us what to expect from a US perspective if what they say about standardizing redemptions across the board is true.

With Avios, regions go away and now flight distances are what you have to calculate (I use the Great Circle Mapper tool to chart flight distances). So now you have to calculate how far you are flying and then cross reference it with their distance chart which has multiple bands at the 650/1,151/2,000/4,000/5,500/6,500/7,000/ 7,000+ mile thresholds.

Avios chart released to Iberia flyers

The current redemption rate for a one-way JFK-Hong Kong, which is 8,072 flight miles, is 25,000 miles for coach, 50,000 for business and 75,000 for First. Under the new Avios program, if it aligns with the published chart for Iberia, the route will be 50,000 miles for coach, 100,000 for business and 150,000 for First. For those fuzzy on math, this is a 100% increase from the current redemption levels. This level would be the same for almost all North American gateways since they are all over 7,000 miles from Hong Kong (except for Vancouver, which is 6,392 miles) so 30,000/60,000/90,000 one way for coach/business/first. Still a 20% increase from the current award levels.

Another popular current award is North America to anywhere in South America for 20,000/40,000/60,000 miles one way in coach/business/first. So for example, JFK-Lima-Santiago-Easter Island is only 80,000 miles roundtrip in business class – with very low fees. An amazing value.

With the new distance bands, that trip is 7,489 miles one way, so it would cost 50,000 miles in coach, 100,000 in business and 150,000 in first – each way! So that 80,000 mile roundtrip business class award will shoot up to 200,000 miles- a stunning 250% increase.

Awards that won’t change:
Transcontinental (JFK-LAX/SFO) flights on AA will still be 12,500/25,000/37,500 one way. In fact, some domestic trips will decrease, like short flights up to 650 miles will be 4,500/9,000 one way for coach/business.

Even flights to London will get cheaper in terms of miles for those based in the Northeast, but you still have to pay eye-popping fuel surcharges on transatlantic British Airways flights, so the decrease in miles needed for Boston to JFK still doesn’t make that redemption a good deal, when you have to still pay $500 for a coach award that might only cost $600 to outright buy!

I’d recommend familiarizing yourself with the distances of the awards you want to take and then deciding whether you want to use your miles before the changes go into effect. I can tell you that I am using almost all of my miles before the new program goes live (in fact I may even transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards and Amex points into BA to book a couple last amazing partner awards). BA is flexible with changes, so you can book up to a year in advance and change the dates for free (or pay $90 to get your miles back). I’m not 100% sure how much further into the future they will let you change flights without repricing the award under Avios, but it’s worth the risk- especially if you want to book premium Asia/South America awards.

I truly hope I am wrong on these projections, but since they’ve stated all awards will be aligned under a new distance based chart, I can’t imagine US based flyers having a whole different system. Consider yourselves warned!

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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  • PJ

    well ez comes ez goes adios to Chase BA 100K. the bright side of it : if you value the LAX NYC run that is still a stunning value; did dip it into AA’s LAX EWR non stop flight on November 1, smooth like silk ..minimal tax

  • Mr.ebeert

    If I am planning to use my 252,000 BA miles to book an OneWorld RTW Business Class trip do I have anything to worry about?

  • Chris

    Gag

  • Ucipass

    Ticket changes are allowed up to 12 months from the date of ticketing

  • http://www.awardtravelconsulting.com AwardTravelConsulting

    Wow, great find Brian. I wish the news was better and this is certainly worrisome if they choose to go the same route, (I’d be surprised if they were far off from this if they differ at all). For those still on the fence, I’d say book now and ask questions later.

  • Amanda

    Thanks for the info! I have a question, though. I just booked tickets through BA on AA to Hawaii. I was told I have a $50 fee for any changes I make, not free like you mentioned above. Are there different rules for different routings or partners? We actually may want to change a part of our trip, and if it were free, that would be great!

  • http://twitter.com/asreese Aaron Reese

    This actually might be better for me, as I was planning a redemption TLV-AMM-CAI (only 370 miles) which was going to be 17,500 miles o/w. It looks like the new chart would make it 4,500 miles (or a savings of 13,000 miles/75%) – unless I’m missing something. I wonder if I book it now and it turns out to be more advantageous to book under the new rules if they’d let me change?

  • Anonymous

    Figuring that the points would be devalued I took a leap and got a business ticket on to Tokyo (LAX->NRT) on JAL for 100k BA points (750$ in fees, but Kayak says the ticket is 7k$ right now). With a distance of 5400 miles it looks like it would have been the same amount in Avio points. Bad for us on the West Coast wanting to go to Europe.

  • Bohemiana

    We have been saving up points to take that awesome South America trip. We are not BA Executive Club members so I can’t view flights. Can I get the same deal with AA miles on AA’s FF site? (We hope to piece together LAX-Lima-Santiago-Easter Island for 40,000 in coach.) Also, I don’t really understand how it works that you can go to 3 places on one award.

  • Anonymous

    AA does not allow unlimited stopovers like BA. I would highly recommend learning how to book these awards and doing it before Avios. I wrote a 10 part series- this post should be a good starting point
    http://thepointsguy.com/2011/04/how-to-use-british-airways-miles-post-2-booking-a-lan-award-jfk-lim/

  • Anonymous

    Yea- you should just wait until the new program. Short haul flights should decrease across the board

  • Simon

    I need to burn my BA Chase 2-for-1 companion award ticket before these changes kick in. Does anyone know off top if BA enforces change fees if I make a booking before the changes, and then change the itin/dates after the award changes?

  • Anonymous

    http://www.britishairways.com/travel/ecservicefeestbl/public/en_us

    No penalty for date/time changes done on BA.com

  • Dan

    If you have AA miles, you need to look into what it takes to use those miles to go to South America. BA miles have no bearing on what it takes to use your AA miles.

    You’ll need to call AA to check flights on partners (like LAN) or use this guide to do it yourself: http://thepointsguy.com/2011/06/maximizing-stopovers-transfers-and-open-jaw-ticketing-on-american-airlines-awards/

  • Caroline

    Do we know that the fuel charges will be staying the same? According to what BA has already announced, it sounds like they will be more reasonable now for European domestic flights. Do we know that they’re staying the same for transatlantic flights, or can we hold out some home that they, along with the mileage, might be reduced a bit?

  • Caroline

    Do we know that the fuel charges will be staying the same? According to what BA has already announced, it sounds like they will be more reasonable now for European domestic flights. Do we know that they’re staying the same for transatlantic flights, or can we hold out some home that they, along with the mileage, might be reduced a bit?

  • http://infamousdx.com infamousdx

    All my BA miles are burnt on a CX F redemption to Bali!! Thanks, Brian, for shedding light on the BA awards program. It was the first series of posts I read from you and they were unbelievably helpful.

  • Anonymous

    BA refuses to communicate clear and accurate information, so anything is possible. However, the skeptic in me refuses to believe they will tame their industry leading trans-Atlantic fuel surcharges, though I’d LOVE to be surprised!

  • Anonymous
  • econjon

    BTW – SFO-HKG is 6927

  • Dan B

    Do you expect this to affect domestic American flights booked through the BA site using BA miles?

  • Jeff | Sustainable Life Blog

    Hi Points guy –
    Long time reader, first time commenting. I truly enjoy your site, as you’ve taught me tons. I am trying to get a booking in to asia for my honeymoon next year before my miles get trashed in value, and when I was talking to the rep about the flights I wanted, he mentioned that they were moving to a distance based award level for US flyers as well. I’m sure how much he knows what he’s talking about or if he was even supposed to say that, but that’s what he told me. I still havent booked yet, but I’m hoping to get
    LAX–> NRT (stop) –> BKK (destination) end. then return on a separate 1 way NRT –> LAX

  • Rebecca

    If I book a business class award ticket from JKF to HKG for October 2012 will I be able to change that to December/January 2013? Right now there is plenty of availability in October 2012 but I actually want to do the trip in December/January 2013. Taxes are only $326 so it’s a steal for 100K BA miles. It sounds like after November 16 that trip will be 200K BA miles.

  • Hmaia

    Last week I booked MIA-GRU in coach x 4 on AA and GIG-Santiago-MIA in Business x 4 on LAN using 240,000 BA miles. I still have 60K miles left. It took me while to find the flights and I had to book the GIG-Santiago-MIA over the phone since BA’s website doesn’t work for stopovers. I will see what happens after the change and maybe I use the rest of the miles for domestic with stopovers.
    I am fighting to get the U$80.00 booking fee (20×4) back since it is not my fall that their system doesn’t show all the flights.

  • Andy

    Very useful info! thx for sharing. I have to burn up all my BA miles before the change.

  • Simon

    Thanks TPG!

  • JA

    A couple of questions: I don’t have a BA account. Is it worth opening one and funding it with UR & MR points before the 16th? Second, what if one doesn’t live in one of the LAN gateway cities – does one buy a ticket to the LAN gateway city or use miles to get to South America? Isn’t this only a benefit for those in LAN gateway cities?

  • Gpapadop

    Blew 240k BA miles for family trip to EZE and SCL. I have 80k left. I always found distance based programs so darn confusing!! So…how will this coming change affect awards flying on AA domestic & to Hawaii??

  • Anonymous

    I just booked a roundtrip JFK-Hong Kong/Bali in Cathay Pacific business first class for 150k BA miels and $350 which I think is a phenomenal deal. It would be 100k for business or 50k for coach. The 40/80k South America awards are legendary so if you can use any of those, i’d say transfer and book before Nov 16

    If you don’t live in Lan gateway you could fly AA but that limits your intra South Am stopovers. If you want to do the max stopovers on Lan you’d have to get yourself to a gateway city

  • MJLouise

    Any idea about changes redeeming on AA flights to/from Mainland US-Hawaii? Will those be zoned still (35K) , or will they be distance based?

  • Bohemiana

    Since BA and AA are partners/codeshare I figured they were interchangable miles. That’s a bummer. I don’t have any BA miles.

  • Lantean

    This is absurd. What a joke! Is class action lawsuit an option here?

  • Ryan

    TPG, if you pay the 70 bucks to cancel and redeposit the miles, im assuming any fees charged are refunded as well? Also have you heard of Amex applying the 200 credit towards those fees?

  • http://twitter.com/Afkabp Afkabp

    This works out better for me on short domestic flights on AA.

  • Vishal

    Could this be a good thing at least for mini-RTWs?

  • Brian

    Out-of-the-world devaluation for flights to Asia. As a flyer out of CLT, a redemption to EZE is a 10,000 mile increase if I connect in MIA. Not bad, but that’s still 10,000 miles that I could have used towards something else.

  • Cheryl

    We’re planning a trip to South America in January/Feb 2013. Are you suggesting we book as far out as we can now and they’d allow us to change the dates without increasing the miles when the dates we need are available? Wow, sure makes the BA credit card deal a lot less attractive than when we got it.

  • Cheryl

    We’re planning a trip to South America in January/Feb 2013. Are you suggesting we book as far out as we can now and they’d allow us to change the dates without increasing the miles when the dates we need are available? Wow, sure makes the BA credit card deal a lot less attractive than when we got it.

  • NS

    Hey TPG:

    How difficult is it to change a BA itinerary online. For example, if I am booked JFK to Easter Island with stopovers each way in Santiago, will I be able to change the individual legs online (e.g. JFK –> Sanitiago, and Santiago –> IPC), or am I going to have to speak to a rep?

  • Anna

    TPG: careful, I don’t think BA is allowing free changes to award tickets anymore. An email I received from them on Oct 4 (subject: Avios points and two great new ways to spend them‏) contained this paragraph:

    Need to amend or change a reward flight booking?
    We know that plans can change, and to provide the flexibility and control our members sometimes need, reward flight bookings can be amended or cancelled for a USD 40 service charge, before or after departure.

  • Benjaminfan

    Would there be an additional fuel charge tho?

  • Bracoi

    I made a reservation for 2 business class (Cathay Pacific) tickets from LAX-HKG-DPS and back for Aug. 2012. The charges were 2x$380 + 2x100K BA miles.
    The charges were debited from my credit card and I can see my reservation on BA and CX site. The funny thing is that the miles have not been debited from my BA account (reservation made three weeks ago). Anyone in a similar boat?

  • Anonymous

    No fuel surcharges on domestic AA flights

  • Mike185

    Not totally unexpected. I booked SFO-LIM-MVD-EZE-SFO a while back for 5 tickets.
    However still have 2 for 1 (which I do not plan to use). Have 180000 miles left and 7 days.

    What we may like are the short haul opportunities (not certain of course) but the short haul LIM-CUZ-JUL-AQP-LIM is only 1130 miles.

    If BA keeps same stop over rules with a distance based new chart does that mean 7500 AVIOS points vs the current 20000 BA for this trip?

    Also in Europe what does Iberia charge for taxes and fuel. Once in Europe might this be a more competitive than using BA metal via LHR.

    Any other thoughts on short haul opportunities and upside? SA,Europe or Asia once there.

    Mike

  • Lionel Gusti

    Hi, I’m trying to book one way trip before BA switch to Avios from LAX – CGK or YVR – CGK using CX on economy around June 2nd 2012, and it just seem impossible to get.

    Tried 3 times on the past 2 weeks, and 2 times got a lady with attitude.
    One time got a nice guy that willing to help and search around the system, and with him I booked the outgoing trip from CGK – LAX for Feb 16th using CX.

    I still need to find the return flight though, the lady said JAL doesnt fly to NRT – CGK, so my only option is CX.

    On Kayak it show that JAL has a daily flight 725 from NRT – CGK

    Any idea? or suggestion?

  • Benlaw21

    I’m still trying to work on getting the companion ticket before the end of the calender year. Is it possible to book before Nov. 16 and add on my companion later? (#hoping)

  • Benlaw21

    I’m still trying to work on getting the companion ticket before the end of the calender year. Is it possible to book before Nov. 16 and add on my companion later? (#hoping)

  • calbear77

    Sooooooooooooooo glad I went with the crowd and booked that SA trip when I had the chance. 5 more days, people! Also, a tip about booking your BA flight with miles that you transfer from Amex or Chase… Have the ticket agent on the phone price out the miles/costs for you before you transfer the miles, that way you don’t accidentally transfer in miles that you’ll be stuck with later. The mile transfer is instant, so that allows you to do this. BA has some interesting pay with cash and points deals that I ended up taking advantage of, and if you aren’t 100% sure they’ll allow your planned route, you need that flexibility.

    Wow, I didn’t think it’d be possible for them to nerf the program this badly, but TPG was right all along.

  • calbear77

    Sooooooooooooooo glad I went with the crowd and booked that SA trip when I had the chance. 5 more days, people! Also, a tip about booking your BA flight with miles that you transfer from Amex or Chase… Have the ticket agent on the phone price out the miles/costs for you before you transfer the miles, that way you don’t accidentally transfer in miles that you’ll be stuck with later. The mile transfer is instant, so that allows you to do this. BA has some interesting pay with cash and points deals that I ended up taking advantage of, and if you aren’t 100% sure they’ll allow your planned route, you need that flexibility.

    Wow, I didn’t think it’d be possible for them to nerf the program this badly, but TPG was right all along.

  • Geo

    Brian,

    I’ve got 150k BA miles and my wife has a BA 30k spend companion cert which will be available in her account Nov 20. If I book the award miles ticket now, will they let me add on the companion cert later? With or without a fee? (Assuming seat availability, of course)……

    THANKS!

  • PJ

    again smooth as silk on my LAX EWR NON stop on Nov 1

  • PJ

    do you mean if you keep the same routing then no penalty for date/time changes ?

  • Anonymous

    Companion ticket awards are largely unaffected because you have to fly on British airways. Only Oneworld partner awards are in real jeopardy

  • Anonymous

    Nope but it doesn’t Matter because British airways flights aren’t changing that drastically. It’s only partner flights and you cannot use the companion cert on partner flights

  • http://twitter.com/asreese Aaron Reese

    That is the sort of fee they’d credit, but you have to select the airline in advance, and I’d be willing to bet that if you have AA selected as your airline, they won’t credit you BA fees.

  • Tt

    any tips on how i can find IAH to SCL or EZE or HKG in J for about 10 days? Any time 2012 Spring to summer to Fall

    Dont care if its a short route or with added legs or stopovers (e.g. HKG & DPS)… just want to see above 3 cities for 10 days

  • calbear77

    After looking at this some more, though…

    There might be a major hidden benefit here. You might not be limited to only a single one-world partner on a trip (without the necessary mileage gouge they have now). If so, it opens up a whole new world of possibilities to mix and match to get to places that weren’t good deals before.

    Sure, the JFK to Hong Kong and SFO to South America gravy trains might be disappearing, but there are a whole host of new possibilities if everything is based on mileage alone. For example, LAX and SFO to Hawaii in business class might be just 50K miles round trip. Also, if you’re taking a 9K mile trip, instead of 100K miles, it might be possible to take the trip in 3 3K mile chunks for 75K miles. This might open up some possibilities to do stopover style trips that cost a little more in mileage, but don’t limit you to partner hubs the way the current program does.

  • Thomasdean

    My travel plans for next year are filled up. If I were to book a trip for 11 months from now, would I be able to change its dates at some point next September, pushing the flight dates to Summer 2013? Looking at their rules it seems to indicate that even with a ticketing change all travel must be completed within 12 months of the original booking date. Is that so? Fingers crossed that the 12 month resets when the change happens!

  • Tt

    add: New Delhi also… since this is a CX route ?

  • Tt

    or SYD / AKL.. guess im going nuts here. just want to use 100k miles to a place i havent been.

  • NBikar

    Now that this is gone, what is the best way to get to South AMerica and roam around the continent?

  • JohnnieD

    Just so your readers know whats possible before the change, my wife and I are going on the following trip next fall, YYZ>HKG>BKK(STOP)>SIN(DEST). Our return is DPS>HKG(STOP)>YYZ. All for 100K each in Business with $460ea in fees & YQ. This is all on CX with a total distance of 19,681 miles!! Book now!!!!!!!

  • unjinxable

    Hey TPG,

    I’m trying to use up my BA miles for Easter Island from SFO in the next few days and I was wondering if the routing would permit a stop in Cuzco on the way. I’m suspecting it wouldn’t work but I would like your confirmation.

  • jam

    I really can’t see American allowing BA redemption domestically below they’re standard 25k (RT coach) levels. I would think for the USA, short-hops with still have 12,500 one-way as a floor.

    Otherwise, a lot of primary domestic AA flyers would start to choose to use a BA FF number for AA flights, so they could redeem at much lower rates.

  • calbear77

    I am seeing things glass half full the way you are. If BA doesn’t limit you to one partner the way they do now, then RTW in business class could be 200K, which is a lot of miles, but between Amex and Chase UR signups (not to mention BA cards, if they do another 100K), that’s doable.

  • Corinne L.

    Brian, are you sure this is based on one-way? I don’t seem to see where it says one-way unless I have glossed over it. According to their FAQ they have lowered their rewards by 10% and most rewards are in favor of the customer. Are you sure this isn’t round trip? If not they are going to lose a lot of customers!

  • http://twitter.com/JeffBianco Jeff Bianco

    My wife (@LAX2NRT) and I just booked 2 First Class tickets on CX from JNB-HKG-LAX in early April with 2 nights in Hong Kong. It was $398 each plus 135,000 miles. Old config First on the JNB-HKG on a 747 and new config from HKG-LAX on a 777. @LAX2NRT has flown the twice in First from HKG-LAX and it was awesome. http://www.mylifesatrip.com/2nd-date-with-cx/ Can’t wait to try it myself

  • Anonymous

    This looks like it actually makes ultra long-haul trips into a good deal, like USA to India. Right now, AA/BA charge 135K for J and 180K for F and require a TATL route (BA is for BA-only, you’d pay 160K in J for partners).

    Under this scheme, though, everything above 7K miles journey is the same, so it’d be 100K for J and 150K for F, and you could use CX through HKG. This would be fantastic if it turns out to be true, as it’s cheaper than any other program I’ve seen (the cheapest in J I’ve seen is 115K on ANA with others being 120K, while the cheapest in F is 160K on most Star Alliance carriers).

    In fact, you could fly JFK-YVR-HKG-BKK-DEL and back for 150K in F, since I believe the DEL flight on CX has an F cabin. That’s almost 23,500 miles in CX F if this is true and would be a boon to us USA-India travelers who like to route via Asia.

  • oneeye4u76

    BA miles on AA metal is currently 12.5/25/37.5 each way within the lower 48. What is the mileage needed for Hawaii? thanks…

  • Prospero

    The examples you have given for multi sector itineraries are calculated on the basis of accumulated distances. If the change follows sector distances the results are different.

    For example, JFK-LIM-SCL-IPC, currently 80,000 BA Miles each way in business class

    JFK- LIM at 3,629mi = 40,000 Avios Points for business class
    LIM-SCL at 1,524mi = 20,000 Avios Points for business class
    SCL-IPC at 2,336mi = 25,000 Avios Points for business class
    Total one way business class redemption = 85,000 Avios Points

    Not a massive difference

  • Dan

    63 posts into it, I’m surprised that Corinne is the first to pick up on this.

    Yes, the chart is titled “Avios per flight.” Then, we have this gem: “The cost of a one-way flight paid for with Avios will be 50% of that of a return (round-trip) ticket, instead of the current 75%.” Why say this if you’ve published a one-way chart?

  • Mon

    For DFW-GRU, since not departing from a LAN gateway, seems it would be better to fly AA. Is it the same 80k RT on biz as LAN?

  • oneeye4u76

    MIA-OGG on AA metal just popped up at 105K for a round-trip August 2012. Shouldn’t that ticket price out at 75K

  • Anonymous

    It’s a one way chart. Iberia used to charge 75% for a one way and now it’s 50% – that’s why they said that

    Trust me, these are NOT round trip prices. If they are, then we all won the lottery

  • YVRGuy

    Thanks for the heads up. Great post, really helpful! I see examples of some amazing South America itineraries listed.
    Do you have similar recommendations for Asia? Will be based out of Singapore soon and want to take advantage of any high value itineraries before the changes kick in. Thanks!

  • Dan

    Now, having said that, let’s refer back to the UK chart that’s been available for awhile: http://www.britishairways.com/travel/ba6.jsp/reward-flight-saver-table
    (Not sure if the link is right, because the webpage link is a javascript link that I modified.)

    A Zone 1 trip from the BA chart costs 9,000 Avios Points in Euro Traveler class. A Zone 1 trip on the Iberia chart costs 4500 points. Club Europe is 18,000 points, and Iberia Business class is 9,000 points.

    At the high end, A Zone 9 trip on the BA chart is 100k/150k/200k/300k (WT/WT+/CW/First) and Iberia’s Zone 9 is 50/75k/100k/? (I put ‘?’ because iberia says that F is 200% INCREASE over J, which would put it at 300k miles one-way.)

    Anyway, when comparing the Iberia and BA charts, it’s clear to me that the Iberia chart is 1/2 of the BA chart. Either Iberia members get a good deal, or they published a one-way chart.

  • Dan

    What do you mean by old config first and new config first? BA hasn’t updated F in awhile…

  • Anonymous

    LAN has a distance-based chart that is good for AA short hops, so it is possible for BA to introduce this in the US, but LAN’s is not widely known.

  • Anonymous

    Right now JFK-ipc is 80k ROUNDTRiP

    Huge difference.

  • jettyboy

    Except that these are ONE-WAY prices. 100K in J to India round-trip is a pipe-dream. More like 100K each way/.

    Btw, BA currently charges 180K in J and 270K in F for travel on BA metal from the US to India. 160K through partners.

  • Anonymous

    Correct. The only benefit to LAN is that you can build in extra intra south American flights- you can’t do that if flying aa because aa doesn’t operate intra south american flights

  • Caroline

    Yes, I suppose they’d probably be more forthcoming with the good news. :(

  • Prospero

    Correct me if I’m wrong. Is IPC not rated as South West Pacific?

  • Phil

    Not a very pretty change for sure, though with BA taking YQ fees I did not like them for Cathay redemptions anyway and would rather use AA miles with no/low fees.

    For me I had been stashing up the BA miles for a trip to South Africa which under current methodology is 270k (JFK-LHR-JNB rt) and I’d planned on getting a couple of Chase 2-4-1′s to get family of four over there for 540k. But that is now up to 300k. While 600k for four to SA might seem good, factor in you have to spend $60k to get the two 2-4-1s and the fees will be in the range of $1300 EACH it is starting to feel like a big waste. I have around 400k in BA miles and frankly not sure what I will now ever do with them. Maybe 44 <650 mile round trips on American Eagle planes !! !yuk!!!

  • Anonymous

    I would fly out of YVR anyway, since it’s the closest airport that allows single-partner flights to Asia. So, not really that much worse. A flight to Tokyo is still 25,000 miles.

    So basically, I need to book a South America flight before next week, but otherwise not as bad as I thought.

  • AC

    No, it’s grouped under South America. I just booked LAX-LIM-IPC for 40K BA miles on LAN Business. IPC-EZE-MIA for another 40K on LAN Business. If I apply using the new Avios points, I need 160K for ROUND TRIP instead of 80K round trip on current reward chart.

  • Benlaw21

    Thanks for the response Brian. I tweeted you this question, but I thought I’d cover my bases. http://www.gcmap.com/dist?P=sfo-hkg&DU=mi&DM=&SG=&SU=mph shows that SFO-HKG 6927 miles. Is it safe to say that the jump in points is from 25K-35k and not 50k for coach (unless BA uses a different way to calculate)? Obviously still bad, but not 100% jump bad.

    Thanks for all your work. Enjoy the blog and the tweets!

  • Anonymous

    No, it’s still South America.

  • AC

    BA does not fly from JNB-HKG-LAX. It’s on CX but I believe all the CX fleets should have featured the new first class (even through they were introduced few years ago).

  • Anonymous

    Can you show me where it says one-way? I can’t find it. On Iberia’s site, it says “The cost of a one-way flight paid for with Avios will be 50% of that of a return (round-trip) ticket, instead of the current 75%.” which makes me think these are R/T.

  • Anonymous

    On AA, it is considered as South Pacific. On current BA, domestic Chile.

  • Ctrix65513

    Two quick questions as I’m looking to spend my BA miles before the change like everyone else.

    1) Looking at using the one partner chart to fly Cathay Pacific ORD-HKG (Layover/Nonstop)-Bali (destination). Would it be possible to add another stopover after Hong Kong or not since to get to Bali you have to fly direct from Hong Kong and they would consider that a double back/stop?

    2) Booking an AA trip with stopovers would JFK-YUL-ANC count as 25,000 miles roundtrip (considering they fly that route) or is Canada not considered domestic and therefore this would not work.

  • Anonymous

    It’s one way based on distance. It mirrors BAs chart which is also based on one ways. Again- the only reason they mention the 50% on this chart is because Iberia used to charge 75% of a roundtrip for one ways

  • Anonymous

    BA is currently installing an amazing new First Class cabin. I flew it last year and did a report on the old and new first classes if you search this site

  • Ctrix65513

    JFK-YUL-ANC-JFK is what I meant to type for the roundtrip.

  • Anonymous

    Gotcha, I got a little confused with the new chart. It almost makes me like Delta’s chart …

  • calbear77

    No, it will not. I booked a very similar trip recently. You can go SFO-LIM-IPC or SFO-LIM-SCL (Santiago)-IPC because those are the natural routes that LAN flies. Going through Santiago requires you to pay a $140/person reciprocity fee to enter the country. But if you want to go to Chile before Easter Island, you have to do it this way because going to IPC before SCL isn’t along the natural route. Cuzco and Easter Island are both side trips, and you can only do one per round trip in order to stay on the natural route.

    If you want to go to Cuzco, you are better off booking that trip on LAN separately. Also, I heard somewhere that flights purchased within South America are cheaper on LAN than if you buy them from the US, so if you’re going to be down in Peru and Chile for awhile and can wait to buy, you are better off. You will have to verify that for yourself though, I am just saying what I heard.

    So you’re better off flying SFO-LIM (STOP) … separate flight to Cusco then back to your main itinerary … then IPC. From IPC, you can go SCL-LIM-SFO on the way home if you choose, and you can stop along the way.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, let’s sue British Airways because the thing they gave us for free is worth less now.

  • PanAm

    In some cases, the 2+ Partner table (which according to the BAEC Rep on FT, will remain unchanged) is no longer *as bad* in comparison…which of course only reinforces how bad the new BA tables will be!

    For example take the JFK-LIM-SCL-IPC sample…something I’ve looked at in the past. Great at 40K RT though living in the Midwest I’d need to make my own way to JFK, MIA, or LAX to keep it all on LA, or pay the high 2+ Partner price. Now from my area a flight to JFK or MIA may be cheap, or not, depending. So if I assume the extra flight is more than I’d like to pay, I could combine AA to the gateway city and then pick up LA. Or if LA availability is poor, take a mix of AA and LA.

    So under the 2+ Partner table, my DAY-DFW-LIM-SCL-IPC flight (8,078 miles ow) would cost 60,000 “Avios”…”only” 10K more than the SIngle Partner price. May or may not be worth the 10K though that’s less than 12.5K one-way using AA miles. Of course, I’d only use 50K or 60K Avios if I had no choice. I’d rather use AA miles to get to LIM or SCL and cover SCL-IPC with BA which I guess would be 12.5K one-way based on the Iberia chart.

  • Anonymous

    I’m planning on using US Airways for my Africa trip; it’s only 70k roundtrip with a stopover or open jaw allowed (and they fly through Europe). That’s the least amount of miles I’ve seen, and I took advantage of their 100% bonus promo.

    I’m planning on using my miles for South America, and then leave the rest for domestic flights that won’t really change or will actually improve.

  • Prospero

    Thanks for putting me straight. Rats, that’s another stellar burn opportunity I’ll miss out on :)

  • Sherri

    mileage to Hawaii is currently 17.5 each way in coach. Don’t know the other levels. Anyone know if domestic to Hawaii redemption will change?

  • Sheri

    Totally newbie question for TPG. When you say points redemption on transatlantic AA flights will not change does that include JFK_HNL or does it have to stay on the continental U.S.? Thanks for the predictions on BA. Very useful.

  • Lantean

    They didn’t give us anything for free… Chase did.

  • Nathan Grant

    Hey TPG or any other pros on here: I’m looking to book a one way SYD-LAX in Business using my BA Miles, but I want to fly a few weeks after the time cutoff (ie: Mid/late november 2012) Do you see much risk in booking a flight as close as I can on date, and then doing a date change once the dates I want are available to book? What about if I try to add a stopover in Brisbane?
    Thanks!

  • Dan

    Your questions are confusing, but I’ll try to tackle (1) :)

    Your only stopover point on ORD-HKG-DPS is Hong Kong. So whatever it is you are trying to do once you get to Bali, you can’t. Your only option is to start your return trip back to HKG, at which point you can stop again.

    BTW, the ORD-HKG flight is timed rather poorly with the DPS flight. You’re going to have forced overnights in both directions. I’ve got the same flights booked later next year, and we opted to stop in HKG for 5 days before continuing on to Bali. There’s really good availability in F in late September if you want to go then.

  • NYBanker

    Except if you live in the Northeast US and use your BA points to fly to the UK. Those flights will drop by an unprecedented 20% in all classes of service. When was the last time a trans-oceanic first class award dropped by 20%? These changes could be great news…depending on how you use your miles!

  • ron b

    Yeah, I’m also trying to figure this out – for RTW OneWorld stuff will these changes still have an effect? Or is booking a RTW a different beast?

  • ron b

    I’m thinking about trying to get to nepal for 2-3 weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I have over 200K BA miles and would like to fly biz class (coming out of LAX) but I can’t figure out if there’s even a route that works for me with BA or a partner. Is that a sensible route to use my miles on? Would it be an actual BA booking or am I better off doing some kind of OneWorld RTW ticket?

  • Jam

    Ah, thanks for the info. I wonder if LAN’s AA award availability has full access to short-hauls at less than 25k coach RT.

    I’m just having a hard time the #1 OW carrier will give full inventory access to the #2 carrier at reduced rate awards, given the extra “cost” for AA if a decent amount of domestic travelers start this loophole by using a BA account for AA metal.

    But AA can’t make a profit normally, so I hope we’ll see this.

  • Anonymous

    BA sucks

  • unjinxable

    That’s what I figured, thanks for the info. Regarding the reciprocity fee at SCL, I’m guessing it will not be assessed if the return is IPC-SCL-LIM-SFO ?

  • Super

    Will fuel surcharge be added to trips to south america and caribbean?

  • Federico

    Brian, how do you change the dates for free? can you do it online? I live in Miami and I have 370k BA miles on my account, but I was checking BA FAQ and I found….

    14. Changes to awards

    14.1. Changes to bookings for Award travel on flights operated by British Airways or Airline Partners are permitted only in respect of date, time, class of service and (subject to Clause 14.2) route. Such changes may only be made by the Member or an individual nominated in accordance with Clause 3.13. If more than one Part Cash Part Miles price option is available for a British Airways flight, it is not possible to change the price option chosen by a Member after a booking has been made. All permitted changes are subject to capacity limitations and may not be made after the time 24 hours prior to the scheduled departure of the first flight in the Award travel itinerary. A fee as specified on ba.com may be payable for each permitted change. For the avoidance of doubt, name changes are not permitted.

    14.2. The route applicable to an Award travel booking may be changed provided that the new route selected would, as at the date the change is requested, ***require the redemption of the same amount of Mileage as was redeemed in making the original booking***. Route changes are only permitted for Award travel bookings which (other than for the payment of taxes, fees and charges) are purchased using Mileage only.

    ***
    Looks like if you book now (for example) a South America Trip for 80k BA on J, you can’t change the dates later because you will need more miles with the new AVIOS program…

  • He

    yes. exactly. for many of us based in USA this can still work out to be a good deal

  • Whiskarina

    I just booked 2 roundrip tix JFK – Hong Kong / Bali in Cathay Pacific business / first for me and my husband. Trying to do it online for 2 people was painful. I had to call a couple of times until I got a phone rep that didn’t have an attitude. The third time I called I got a rock star who did the trick!

  • Askevi

    You may be screwed if you want to go to Asia or South America, but if you are an East Coast flyer and want to go to London, this is a much better deal. Granted you may have to pay a $500+ fuel surcharge, but rather than comparing it to the cost of a coach ticket as TPG does above, I would compare it to the cost of a biz class or first class ticket instead.

  • Anonymous

    Right, but paying 80,000 miles and $750 for a business class ticket still isn’t a good deal compared to 100,000 and $100 with Continental/UA/Delta/American

  • Derek

    It may still be unknown, but is it expected that there will still be unlimited stopovers (as long as you are traveling in the same general direction) as there currently are, or will all stops be counted? For example, if I wanted to travel from IAH to YVR with a stopover in DEN (IAH-DEN-YVR), would that be one trip, or two trips IAH-DEN and DEN-YVR, with each one charged separately?

  • maryj

    Brian,
    The same business class flight to HK from JFK via AA will only result in a $20 fee instead of the $350++ that BA.com is charging…both via CX…will BA match AA’s much lower fee for the same flight?

  • Anonymous

    AA has lower fees but they don’t allow international stopovers, which decreases the value of AA awards in my opinion. BA will not match AA’s low fees unfortunately

  • maryj

    Johnnie D,
    Did you have to call BA to make that booking or did you do it yourself on ba.com?

  • Benthelefty

    It’s economics…they have the right to change their award rates as they want. We didn’t sign an agreement that locked us into rates. Basic economics…

  • rick

    Oneworld awards look like an even better deal now. BA might learn their lesson when people start crediting miles to AA.

  • Amitdelia

    Get to Miami — then book LAN from Miami to lima (stop) then to Santiago (stop) then back to Miami or add Easter island — this is the trip I booked in business in late January for 3 for 240k miles.

    For Australia — I used aa miles to go from Iah to Sydney for 167500 miles in business for 3 and then booked cathay from sydney to hong kong (stop) and then to la to Iah

  • KP

    I have SFO-LIM(stop)-IPC(stop)-SLC(stop)-EZE(stop)-MIA(stop/final destination). Cost me only 40k miles and $200 in taxes :). DEAL DEAL DEAL. I booked it a month ago when I got wind of devaluation happening.

  • KP

    I posted below about this but I want everyone to see it so that can gather ideas for how many stops they can actually do :).

    I have SFO-LIM(stop)-IPC(stop)-SLC(stop)-EZE(stop)-MIA(stop/final destination). Cost me only 40k miles and $200 in taxes :). DEAL DEAL DEAL. I booked it a month ago when I got wind of devaluation happening.

  • Caz

    British airway= thieves

  • Meercat576

    Hey everyone, this is my first post. Just wanted to say that on the Executive Club website it lists this on the main page about the upcoming change to AVIOS:

    “Straightforward pricing for reward flights. We’ve found a simpler, easier way to price reward flights and our reward flight zones will be enhanced in November. On 97% of our routes there will be either no change or the route will require even fewer Avios than the current BA Miles. We will update you more on this nearer to November.”

    If they were planning to devalue points so much there is no way they would say such a thing on their website.

  • Chris G

    TPG: Thanks for everything you do – long time reader… first time poster. I am booking a short haul domestic (HSV-DFW 603 miles) for my wife and daughter next month. It sounds like this is a trip that I want to wait and book AFTER the change. I know everything is speculation at this point, but would you wait to book this until after the change? I am sitting on 160,000 BA miles and always use them on AA domestically, so this might actually be a good change for me.

  • Phil

    NYB I am not sure even at 80k JFK-LHR is a good value when you add on the YQ fees. Sure BA has a nice product but even Delta has good availability in J class with lower fees and a product just as good and frankly the route is too short to bother with F IMHO. Basically BA have lowered one relatively low value award to give themselves coverage for the broader massive devaluation

  • Cocobinga

    I am looking to book ORD-NRT-HKG-ORD within the next few days. For the life of me, I cannot find a way to do this on just one partner (Cathay Pacific). Am I missing something or is this simply not possible? I apologize in advance for what is probably a simple question but I am having difficulty finding anything on this specific route.

    I would greatly appreciate any help that anyone is willing to offer. Thank you for your time.

  • Anonymous

    Cathay doesn’t fly ord-nrt- you’d have to do a one way on AA/JAL and then a one way hkg-ord on cathay

  • Anonymous

    Correct- for you these changes will probably be beneficial

  • Anonymous

    They were referencing British airways flights which are coming down on some routes

  • Cocobinga

    Thank you very much, sir.

  • tivoboy

    I simply cannot believe they are going to devalue their current mileage plan members miles by over 100%

  • StevenS

    I must admit when I first read the chart, I didn’t understand all the excitement. Round trip changes everything – unless your favorite destination is Europe. In that case, you pay your fees and move on – until they mess with that redemption schedule!

  • Daburdender

    torn between doing a South American award or the basically the exact Hong Kong/Bali award you mentioned. Problem is I can’t seem to get the Cathay Awards to come up on the BA site since BA flys to Hong Kong…Any advice would be welcome in regards with how to price out/book this trip on Cathay. thanks!

  • http://twitter.com/JeffBianco Jeff Bianco

    Looks like I was wrong. Looks like the 747s have the same new seats as the 777s. That makes it even better. BTW- We are using BA miles to fly on Cathay Pacific…

  • Contrarian

    It’s always fun to see how long these discussions go before someone floats the “class action lawsuit” idea. Time to lay off the pipe, bud.

    I’m waiting to see what the new chart looks like, but if this is it, I’m giddy. Yes, I’ll lament never having made it to Easter Island on the cheap, but let’s have a show of hands – anyone ever gone there twice? Meanwhile, if I’m reading things right, I’ll be able to get from Nashville to Eleuthera, Bahamas for 15,000 miles on AA. That would mean a single 100K BA credit card and my family of five is standing on Lighthouse Beach (Google it) with 25,000 miles left over!

    I don’t believe it, but if so then the sky can’t fall fast enough to suit me.

  • ClearedCustoms

    Thanks for the update. We dumped 280k Adios points this week. The girlfriend and I will be enjoying Buenos Aires, Paris, Hong Kong, Bangkok, and Bali in 2012 (with some flights in business!). Suffice it to say this is going to be a great year! Hat tip to TPG, I could never have done this if I hadn’t stumbled onto this site six months ago.

  • Jenny

    round trip or one way?

  • http://twitter.com/nutterz911 Patrick Maier

    Im curious to know was well if the Hawaii redemption rate will change as well.

  • Snshahmd

    Same here. Booked three tickets early this week (11/7). All reservations are valid and show on Lan as well BA.com. Credit card is fully debited for all the charges, yet no miles deducted from BA account.

  • Ace

    I want to thank you for all your info over the last few months on this issue. 2 weeks ago I booked Bali-SFO in F/J. Today I finished booking over to Siem Reap to complete the journey on a Continental/Asiana award. Would never have been possible without your blog.

  • NS

    Managed to book six tickets in economy JFK –>Easter Island, with a nice stopover in Santiago. 120K points and roughly $2,200 (miles and cash option). The tickets would have cost over $13K retail for the same flights. So about $11K in value from my 120K miles (a 9.1 cent redemption rate). Best of all the miles were free from 85K Amex Points received as one of the bonus giveaways that were turned into 127,500 BA miles during the 50% bonus. Thanks for all the advice TPG (from a guy who did not have a single credit card 12 months ago and now has over 600K points/miles.

  • Ukinny

    I just booked the same JFK->SCL->IPC->LIM->JFK, all thanks to all the information I have gleaned recently. Funny thing was when I booked yesterday, the CSR at BA asked me if something was happening in Easter Island as she alone had booked seven tickets that day from NYC to IPC, and another CSR had booked eight. BA is going to be taking a huge hit to their earnings I think as they fork-over all this cash for seats to LAN lol

  • Rob

    Aree you sure? A dummy booking for London – Paris on BA shows a 9,000 miles plus taxes and charges as per the UK chart. – this is a return flight. As far as I’m aware, the cost of this is not being doubled.

  • NS

    Yeah, same with me. The rep said Easter Island bookings were going nuts for the last week. The rep was super helpful, especially once he realized I had done all of the legwork for him. Did you have any luck getting the booking fee waived?

  • Steve

    that is correct. IPC -SCL is a domestic flight so no intl entry.

  • Jamntraveler

    Another option would be to book:
    SFO>LIM>CUZ for 20,000 points
    CUZ>LIM>IPC for 12, 500 points
    IPC>SCL>LIM>SFO for 20,000 points

    Total = 52,500 points

    I just booked a similar trip, but to the Galapagos instead of IPC.

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  • Dan Berson

    Not to get too off-topic, but for those of you who have done the Lima, Santiago, Easter Island route (or something similar), how much time do you recommend spending in each location?

  • Ukinny

    unfortunately no :( I was just happy to get the seats I wanted for February / March! I had tried to get EZE in on the ticket as well, but I got shut out the five times I called (all with different CSRs) because of the natural routing rules.

    When are you going? It would be fun to have an Easter Island TPG meetup if we were all there at the same time!

  • http://www.twitter.com/rurikbradbury Rurik Bradbury

    Yep that was my first thought. But hopefully my 1050 mile hops from JFK-MIA just got much cheaper…

  • http://twitter.com/andreadbc Andrea B

    Discount domestic flights on LAN Perú have *residency* restrictions, so that’s what you have to watch out for…

  • Dawson Williams

    In many ways, this would be an awesome change. San Diego to Cabo would only be 15,000 avios r/t, 30,000 in F. Currently, it’s 35,000 r/t in coach.

  • MJLouise

    Is it possible to use BA miles to redeem on Air Berlin? What are the taxes/fees like?

  • MJLouise

    Is the $90 change fee per ticket?

  • http://twitter.com/thiseye thiseye

    Hi, I recently booked a flight from DFW – CUR – DFW (stop) – YYZ. I was looking to book more, but wasn’t sure on those dates. I remembered it was said that date/time changes are free online. So I tested this on my current booking, and when I clicked ‘Change date/time of my flight’, it gave me a popup that said “We regret that due to the nature of your itinerary we are currently unable to change your booking on ba.com. Please contact your local British Airways office.”

    Is this maybe because I have a stopover? Am I forced to pay $70 to make any changes to my future itinerary if it has a stopover? Thanks!

  • http://twitter.com/thiseye thiseye

    Or maybe it’s more because I booked over the phone (because of the stopover) instead of booking online?

  • Anonymous

    What happens if you don’t live in a Cathay Hub but you want to take the 3 checked luggages as a Business Class Passenger on Cathay… would I be able to check those all the way to my final destination even if I pay cash for a random airline like American Airlines or Delta or whatever to get me to the Cathay Hub (i.e. NYC)

  • cintagreen

    Cathay Pacific goes to Nepal via Dragon Air, with a stopover in Hong Kong. The rep was able to find seats for me– 80K RT economy, with about $600 in taxes.

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  • Anonymous

    hi Brian – Regarding the Avios award chart you’ve posted here, is it for RT or One-way?

  • Snshahmd

    Bracoi, has BA deducted your miles yet? It’s been over a week now and the miles are still there. Would appreciate your response.

  • Jennifer

    How many miles is the ORD-DPS flight (with a stop in Hong Kong if I elect to)? I’m coming up with 360,000 r/t online… is that correct?

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  • jon

    Ugh, this is why companies treat their customers like crap. Because instead of getting angry, people just say “well, it’s their right, let’s not complain at all”. There is a difference between doing what is legally permissible and doing right by your customers. I’m not saying there is ground to sue, but shushing anyone who is rightfully pissed that the rules of the game just changed with little warning is just being a pathetic sheep of a consumer.

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  • Evwell

    Their Avios system using airline miles to book hotels, car rentals does not work. It may work, if you have sufficient miles to pay the entire cost, but if you want to use miles and cash to make up the extra – forget it! You will go through the entire website, have it confirmed and then later they say that payment has been rejected.

  • ian

    i keep getting these ridiculous email
    from james hillier,i dont want to show loyalty -to apes who devalue my
    my loyalty by any percentage!
    i have hundreds of thousands of points
    that are now devalued – i am closing
    out of this loyalty program
    after all if we all stop using
    them when they rip us off
    -they will stop ripping us off
    so vote with your credit card transfer
    points!Vote with your travel (ie, get miles with partners like american-)when
    and if you have to fly BA
    put BA in bankrupcy

  • Diane

    BEWARE!

    DO NOT use Avios miles for a car rental. We gave 55,000 British Air miles for a two week car rental in Puerto Rico. We got an emailed invoice that reserved the car, collision damage waiver, taxes, etc. In other words, the full package.

    To make a long story short, when we got there Avis would not honor the invoice because the reservation on their computer did not include anything but the car itself. After 2 1/2 hours of waiting on the phone with British Air, we wound up having to pay $435.00 for the collision damage waiver. That was February 15th. Today is March 12th and I have finally been told that BA will refund our money. They are IMPOSSIBLE to deal with it is only because I would not get off their case that we are getting reimbursed. Trust me it was a scam. BEWARE!!!!

  • Asdsdddd

    I can

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