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Yesterday we learned that British Airways was changing the redemption rates on partner award flights — such as those operated by American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, etc. However, British Airways cheekily would only say that award rates were changing on May 30, but didn’t say by how much. (Cue all of the devaluation panic.)

Overnight, we got wind that perhaps we could piece together the forthcoming new chart simply by calling the British Airways Executive Club and asking what the various routes will cost when the new rates kick in one at a time — so that’s exactly what we did.

While there’s no good news to report, the bad news isn’t nearly as bad as expected. All rates on the distance-based chart are increasing; however, they are increasing by percentages that aren’t horrific by airline devaluation standards. And most importantly, the award chart is not disappearing. Truthfully, British Airways could have avoided a touch of drama by simply releasing these changes themselves, but here is the (unconfirmed) new British Airways partner award chart that was pieced together by testing routes over the phone.

Note that while we did get a couple different answers on a few routes, we called repeatedly until we got a clear enough consensus to share.

Economy and Premium Economy Award Chart

Zone Distance in Miles Economy Premium Economy
Current Price New Price % Increase Current Price New Price % Increase
Zone 1** 1 – 650 4,500 6,000 33% 6,750 9,000 33%
Zone 2 651 – 1,151 7,500 9,000 20% 11,250 12,500 11%
Zone 3 1,152 – 2,000 10,000 11,000 10% 15,000 16,500 10%
Zone 4 2,001 – 3,000 12,500 13,000 4% 25,000 25,750 3%
Zone 5 3,001 – 4,000 20,000 20,750 4% 40,000 41,250 3%
Zone 6 4,001 – 5,500 25,000 25,750 3% 50,000 51,500 3%
Zone 7 5,501 – 6,500 30,000 31,000 3% 60,000 62,000 3%
Zone 8 6,501 – 7,000 35,000 36,250 4% 70,000 72,250 3%
Zone 9 7,000+ 50,000 51,500 3% 100,000 103,000 3%

** These Zone 1 Avios awards are not available for flights to, from or within the US.

Business and First Award Chart

Zone Distance in Miles Business First
Current Price New Price % Increase Current Price New Price % Increase
Zone 1** 1 – 650 9,000 12,500 39% 18,000 24,000 33%
Zone 2 651 – 1,151 15,000 16,500 10% 30,000 33,000 10%
Zone 3 1,152 – 2,000 20,000 22,000 10% 40,000 44,000 10%
Zone 4 2,001 – 3,000 37,500 38,750 3% 50,000 51,500 3%
Zone 5 3,001 – 4,000 60,000 62,000 3% 80,000 82,500 3%
Zone 6 4,001 – 5,500 75,000 77,250 3% 100,000 103,000 3%
Zone 7 5,501 – 6,500 90,000 92,750 3% 120,000 123,750 3%
Zone 8 6,501 – 7,000 105,000 108,250 3% 140,000 144,250 3%
Zone 9 7,000+ 150,000 154,500 3% 200,000 206,000 3%

** These Zone 1 Avios awards are not available for flights to, from or within the US.

Some highlights of the gathered information include:

  • Routes of up to 650 flown miles are increasing within the US from 7,500 to 9,000 Avios one-way in economy. (Ex. Miami to Orlando)
  • Routes of 651 – 1,151 flown miles increasing from 7,500 Avios to 9,000 Avios one-way in economy. (Ex. Dallas to Cancun)
  • Routes of 1,152 – 2,000 flown miles increasing from 10,000 Avios to 11,000 Avios one-way in economy. (Ex. Chicago to Miami)
  • Routes of 2,001 – 3,000 flown miles increasing from 12,500 Avios to 13,000 Avios one-way in economy. (Ex. Los Angeles to Honolulu)

Even though British Airways is maintaining its distance-based award chart, just like pre-May 30th, awards that include flights to, from or within the US won’t fall into the Zone 1 band (1-650 miles), just as they do not today. Thus, domestic short hops like DCA-LGA, MIA-MCO or LAX-SFO will jump from 7,500 Avios to 9,000 Avios in economy and from 15,000 Avios to 16,500 Avios in business class.

This point took the most digging, as the system seems to indicate at first to BA agents that these short-haul awards will price at 6,000 Avios, even within the US. However, after confirming with a “senior manager”, TPG was told that Zone 2 pricing and above remains in play for the US.

Sunsets from what used to be a Sheraton are spectacular in Molokai, Hawaii
Hawaii is still within reach via British Airways Avios (Photo by Darren Murph / The Points Guy)

In a stroke of interesting timing, Chase Ultimate Rewards is currently running a 30% transfer bonus to British Airways until June 16, the first in that program’s history. Now that we likely know the new partner award rates, you can make a pretty informed decision as to whether that transfer still makes sense, whether you should book your award flights before May 30, and what partner awards will likely look like if you book (or change) after May 30. However, since the transfer bonus runs until June 16, you should see the confirmed new award chart before time runs out.

Whether this is the final chart or additional changes are to come, you can book your awards before May 30 to take advantage of current rates.

Bottom Line

There’s no way two ways about it: Award chart devaluations are no fun at all. It appears, however, that British Airways’s changes aren’t nearly as bad as we’d expected given the level of secrecy involved. We want to be clear that this info was pieced together by multiple test calls to the British Airways Executive Club and is not an official release from British Airways, so it’s possible not all of the info is 100% correct or could change before May 30.

But assuming these numbers are largely correct, partner awards are increasing in price from 3% to 39%. While we are not thrilled about the changes coming to the British Airways chart, we are relieved that they don’t appear to be worse.

Featured image by Patrick T. Fallon for The Points Guy.

Additional reporting by Nicky Kelvin. 

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