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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:

  • 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.

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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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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

5XEarn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
5XEarn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.

    Earn 80,000 Points
  • Annual Fee

    $695
  • 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

Sometimes it's worth a large investment to reap the benefits of a great credit card. That's exactly the case with the Amex Platinum card. In exchange for the annual fee, you'll unlock access to the Amex Membership Rewards program that let you access airline and hotel transfer partners, along with new lifestyle and travel credits. This card is also incredibly rewarding for travel purchases, helping you rack up a ton of Membership Rewards points for your next award trip.

Pros

  • The current welcome offer on this card is quite lucrative. TPG values it at $1,600.
  • This card comes with a long list of benefits, including access to Centurion Lounges, complimentary elite status with Hilton and Marriott, at least $500 in assorted annual statement credits and so much more. (Enrollment required for select benefits.)
  • The Amex Platinum comes with access to a premium concierge service that can help you with everything from booking hard-to-get reservations to finding destination guides to help you plan out your next getaway.

Cons

  • The high annual fee is only worth it if you’re taking full advantage of the card’s benefits. Seldom travelers may not get enough value to warrant the cost.
  • Outside of the current welcome bonus, you’re only earning higher rewards on specific airfare and hotel purchases, so it’s not a great card for other spending categories.
  • The annual airline fee statement credit can be complicated to take advantage of compared to the broader travel credits offered by competing premium cards.
  • Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum Card®, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings, which requires a minimum two-night stay, through American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card® on one or more of the following: Audible, Disney+, The Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, Peacock, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax. Plus Ups are excluded.
  • American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide. There are even more places your Platinum Card® can get you complimentary entry and exclusive perks.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one select qualifying airline.
  • $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only.
  • Get up to $300 back per calendar year on the Equinox+ digital fitness app, or eligible Equinox club memberships when you pay with your Platinum Card. Enrollment required. Learn more.
  • Breeze through security with CLEAR® lanes available at 100+ airports, stadiums, and entertainment venues and get up to $189 back per calendar year on your membership when you use your Card. Learn more.
  • $695 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees