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Last Chance to Book British Airways Partner Awards at Current Rates

May 27, 2019
3 min read
Last Chance to Book British Airways Partner Awards at Current Rates
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Back in April, we learned that British Airways would be making changes to its distance-based award chart for most partner awards as of May 30, 2019. The initial announcement simply referenced "changing award rates" without any specifics, but we here at TPG put on our detective hats and pieced together the new chart with calls to customer service. If you've been holding off on taking advantage of current rates, time is running out, as you have just two days left before the updates kick in.

As a reminder, here are the carriers that will be impacted by these changes:

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  • Alaska Airlines
  • Air Italy
  • American Airlines
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Finnair
  • Japan Airlines
  • LATAM
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Qantas
  • Qatar Airways
  • S7
  • Sri Lankan
  • Royal Jordanian Airlines

Based on the new chart we've built, the changes are relatively mild, though the shortest flights will feel the brunt of it. The lowest-tier awards (nonstop flights up to 650 miles in distance) are jumping 33-39%, depending on the class of service you book. Economy awards at this level are going from 4,500 Avios to 6,000 Avios, while business class awards are jumping from 9,000 Avios to 12,500 Avios.

Photo by Envoy Air
Short, regional flights on American and American Eagle may not be luxurious, but booking them with Avios can be a spectacular value. (Photo courtesy of Envoy Air)

However, it's worth noting that this tier isn't even available for flights within North America, as BA removed this award option back in 2016. Instead, all nonstop flights under 1,152 miles in distance in this region — including domestic and short-haul international flights on American — fall into Zone 2. These awards currently cost 7,500 Avios in economy each way but will climb to 9,000 Avios as of May 30.

There are many times when it's a much better deal to book American-operated flights with Avios instead of AAdvantage miles, though with American's apparent shift toward dynamic award pricing, you'll want to compare award rates between the two programs to ensure you're minimizing the number of points or miles you'd need to burn.

If you're eyeing one of these awards but your British Airways account balance isn't flush, you can transfer American Express Membership Rewards points directly to Avios at a 1:1 ratio. However, an even better option is to transfer points from Chase Ultimate Rewards from cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve. This is because the issuer is running its first-ever transfer bonus through June 15, awarding you 30% bonus Avios when you send your points to Avios. And transfers from both Amex and Chase should process instantly, so you'll be able to immediately book the award you want.

The distance-based award chart from British Airways has long been a great option for shorter, nonstop flights, and that will still be the case when the May 30 changes are implemented. However, this sweet spot will get a little less sweet from that point forward, so if your plans call for Oneworld or non-alliance partner flights through the carrier's Executive Club program, hurry up and finalize those awards before the prices jump.

Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent, Good

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases