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British Airways devalues Avios for partner awards from 30 May 2019

Expect to burn up to 30% more Avios for your award tickets on non-BA flights, especially on the short routes.

British Airways have announced earlier this year that it will be devaluing the Executive Club Avios for partner awards from late May onwards, and you would have seen many sites urging you to make a redemption before that.

What makes this so special is, unlike other airlines who typically unveil the new charts at the time of announcement, British Airways didn’t. Instead, the charts were only unveiled on 30 May 2019, the day the changes took effect.

The new chart

While British Airways does not have an official chart on their website, there have been many sites that have compiled the chart. For ease of reference, I’ve used this one from The Points Guy, who have earlier pieced a new chart and confirmed it with one that a FlyerTalk member have pieced together since the changes went live on 30 May 2019.

For ease of reference, I’m only including the Business and First class award tickets (since that’s what points are usually for), but if you need the chart for Economy & Premium Economy, you can get the from this TPG article.

Zone / Distance Avios required for Business
(one-way, in ‘000)
Avios required for First
(one-way, in ‘000)
Old New Change Old New Change
Zone 1
Under 650 miles
9 12.5 +3.5 (39%) 18 24 +6 (33%)
Zone 2
651 to 1,151 miles
15 16.5 +1.5 (10%) 30 33 +3 (10%)
Zone 3
1,152 to 2,000 miles
20 22 +2 (10%) 40 44 +4 (10%)
Zone 4
2,001 to 3,000 miles
37.5 38.75 +1.25 (3.3%) 50 51.5 +1.5 (3%)
Zone 5
3,001 to 4,000 miles
60 62 +2 (3.3%) 80 82.5 +2.5 (3.1%)
Zone 6
4,001 to 5,500 miles
75 77.25 +2.25 (3%) 100 103 +3 (3%)
Zone 7
5,501 to 6,500 miles
90 92.75 +2.75 (3%) 120 123.75 +3.75 (3.1%)
Zone 8
6,501 to 7,000 miles
105 108.25 +3.25 (3.1%) 140 144.25 +4.25 (3%)
Zone 9
Over 7,000 miles
150 154.5 +4.5 (3%) 200 206 +6 (3%)

Notable observations

The short haul journeys up to 2,000 miles (that’s about 4 hours flight time) sees the biggest jump in Avios needed, with an increase from 10% to 33% depending on the zone. This means that the previous sweet spots, such as using only 7,500 Avios for an economy class ticket on Cathay Pacific to Bangkok is now gone.

Above 2,000 miles, the increase are surprisingly moderate, with a rise of about 3% across most zones. That’s very reasonable, given the last time BA raised redemption rates were in 2015. Compare that to Singapore Airlines’ two devaluations in the last three years.

Final thoughts

While devaluations are never great news, the worst fears with British Airway’s Avios devaluation turns out to be more benign than speculated.

While the short haul journeys have gone up quite steeply, the reality is that this is pretty comparable to what other oneworld carriers are charging anyway.

For comparison, this is what the different oneworld airlines are charging for a one-way Singapore to Bangkok and Singapore to Hong Kong Cathay Pacific flight:

Programme BA Executive Club Qantas Frequent Flyer Asia Miles
Class Economy Business Economy Business Economy Business
Singapore-Bangkok
(one-way)
9 16.5 14 26 10 25
Singapore-Hong Kong
(one-way)
11 22 20 38 10 25

Of course, there are also taxes and surcharges to consider, but BA’s fees has always been reasonable. As such, even with the increase, Avios still provides very good value for you to use for award flights across all levels.

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