Avios News Oneworld

British Airways devalues Avios partner awards from 30 May

Avios rates on oneworld airlines are increasing in a month, potentially ending some intra-Asia 'sweet spots'. Here's what we know.

BA 744 Oneworld Small (Venkat Mangudi).jpg

British Airways has one of the more popular frequent flyer programs, with its Executive Club currency Avios currently featuring some nice sweet spots on its partner redemption chart for several intra-Asia itineraries with partner (oneworld) airlines.

Yesterday the airline sent out a rather vague email to several members stating that partner award redemption pricing would be “changing” from 30th May 2019. The message also links to a dedicated page of the airline’s website, which states:

“From 30 May 2019, we’ll be changing our Avios prices on reward flights with the following partner airlines: Alaska Airlines, Air Italy, American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Japan Airlines, LATAM, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Qatar Airways, S7, Sri Lankan and Royal Jordanian Airlines.”

That’s basically all partners and oneworld airlines, with the exception of British Airways itself and its IAG partners (Aer Lingus, Iberia and Vueling).

The statement goes on to say:

“Don’t worry if you have an existing Avios booking with one of these airlines. It’s still valid and you can make changes or cancel it if you need to. Our new Avios prices will apply to any changes or new bookings you make after 30 May 2019.”

What does it mean?

While British Airways has not yet published any of the new rates formally, they did confirm that “changing” actually means “increasing” in a response on Twitter. No surprise there.

That means the days of sweet spots we know and love, like JAL domestic flights for 4,500 Avios or 7,500 Avios one-way, may be numbered.

JL 763 (Masahiro Takagi).jpg
JAL and Qantas domestic flights are currently excellent value using Avios, from just 4,500 points one-way. (Photo: Masahiro Takagi)

Even though there is no formal notification of the new rates, we have seen some indications of what it might include. Over at the FlyerTalk forum one user said BA had advised on one of the new rates over the phone:

“I have at least one confirmed data point that prices are increasing. DFW-ORD on AA increasing from current 7500 to 9000 miles.Agents are not able to share full details of new award chart yet, but they can at least quote you what the new mileage will be if you call them with a specific route in mind.Agent strongly implied it is not dynamic pricing, but rather a categorical (and “relatively” modest) increase across the award chart.” CashIsBetter – FlyerTalk

There is also a ‘leaked’ chart online, though we can’t verify authenticity, which suggests the following rates are changing in Economy Class:

  • 0 – 650 miles: 4,500 Avios > 6,000 Avios (+33%)
  • 651 – 1,151 miles: 7,500 Avios > 9,000 Avios (+20%)
  • 1,152 – 2,000 miles: 10,000 Avios > 11,000 Avios (+10%)
  • 2,001 – 3,000 miles: 12,500 Avios > 13,000 Avios (+4%)

(Source: Seat31B.com)

It’s not clear if rates for longer flights are also changing, nor what the impact will be in First and Business Class.

Again we can’t be sure these figures are accurate at this stage. If they are though, that’s bad news for several of those low cost intra-Asia Avios options. Once we know more, we’ll be sure to update you.

Summary

For now if you have a stash of Avios points for use on oneworld airlines, it might be time to start locking in some itineraries. You can book flights for the next year at current rates until 30th May 2019, partly protecting you from any increases… whatever they may be.

Hat-tip to Head for Points.

(Cover Photo: Venkat Mangudi)

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