British Airways Likely Devaluating Partner Awards Redemptions From May 30
Update: A BA spokesperson said the following to TPG: "We are committed to offering our Executive Club customers great value and as many opportunities as possible to spend their Avios. We are increasing the number of Avios needed to book a reward flight with various of our partner airlines."
April 30 Update: TPG has built what we think to be the new BA partner award chart based on test calls to the Executive Club.
British Airways announced on Monday that it will change the cost of redemptions on most partner airlines from May 30, 2019.
Now, while there is a slim chance some redemption amounts may decrease, this will almost certainly be an increase in the number of Avios needed for most redemptions.
In a notice sent to members on Monday, the airline said awards on the following airlines will change:
- Alaska Airlines
- Air Italy
- American Airlines
- Cathay Pacific
- Japan Airlines
- Malaysia Airlines
- Qatar Airways
- Sri Lankan
- Royal Jordanian Airlines
BA will also be changing the cost of upgrading with Avios on American Airlines flights from this date. This may very well impact whether making a transfer utilizing the current 30% bonus from Chase Ultimate Rewards is a good deal for your situation -- unless you can transfer and make your award bookings before May 30 using the current partner award chart.
The airline has frustratingly not announced what actual numbers will change, but will hopefully do so before the May 30 changeover date to allow members to decide if they should redeem at the old or new rates. A mild devaluation would be an increase of 10%-20%, but the amounts could rise even higher. You can find the existing redemption levels here.
From a historical perspective, British Airways utilized a similar secretive process in 2011 when the exact award chart changes were not announced in advance (and they weren't good). However, when the last major changes to partner rates were made in 2016 (elimination of 4,500 Avios awards within the United States), we did know of the coming change months before it was enacted.
The new award rates coming this time around will apply to bookings made on or after May 30, 2019, regardless of the date of travel. If you change an existing booking after this date, it will be subject to the new pricing.
If you are planning to use your Avios to redeem on partner airlines for travel after this date, you may wish to make the bookings before the May 30 date — even if you are not 100% sure of your travel plans. BA can have reasonable change and cancellation fees.
If there's any good news to what is surely a devaluation, there will be no changes to redemption rates on British Airways, Aer Lingus, Iberia or Vueling.