Avios British Airways News

British Airways devalues Avios awards on BA flights for Singapore members

It now costs up to 92% more Avios to redeem awards on British Airways from Singapore, with local members still stung by the same high taxes, fees and carrier surcharges.

This week British Airways rolled out a new policy for redemption rates on its long-haul flights, allowing all routes to benefit from its Reward Flight Saver category, which significantly reduces the charges, taxes and fees payable alongside Avios points, and replaces them with a fixed fee.

The new policy applies to awards in Economy, Premium Economy and Business Class cabins, but not in First Class, and became effective from 7th December 2022.

ADVERTISEMENT

For members based in the UK and the USA, this is mostly good news because it means they can now either pay broadly the same Avios and taxes as before when redeeming flights like London to Singapore, or pay more Avios but enjoy substantially lower fees.

How it works

For example, a UK-based member was looking at an outlay of 87,500 Avios + GBP 503 (S$837) to redeem a British Airways off-peak Club World (Business Class) award from London to Singapore before the change, but this itinerary now prices at 110,000 Avios + GBP 300 (S$499).

If the member still wishes to pay the lower rate of 87,500 Avios, this remains possible through the part-pay with Avios option, one of which is now priced at 87,500 Avios + GBP 400 (S$665).

This is actually 20% less cash outlay than before the change, when the pricing was 87,500 Avios + GBP 503, which is good news, but there’s a snag…

This doesn’t work for Singapore members

The problem is that Executive Club members based outside the UK or the USA aren’t eligible for long-haul Reward Flight Saver redemptions on British Airways, so for most of our readers based in Singapore the Avios requirement has gone up to the new levels, but the previous (higher) taxes and fees remain payable.

In the above example (LHR-SIN), a Singapore member is now stung with a rate of 110,000 Avios + GBP 503 (S$837), instead of 87,500 Avios + GBP 503 (S$837), 25% more Avios, overnight and with no advance warning.

Ouch – 22,500 additional Avios and not a cent less in taxes and fees!

This is therefore a pure devaluation when it comes to redeeming long-haul British Airways flights using Avios points for these members, with award rates increasing by up to 92%, without notice.

Singapore-based BA Executive Club members got an overnight devaluation for using Avios on long-haul BA flights. (Photo: Sundry Photography / Shutterstock)

Here’s the impact on one-way Avios points required when redeeming BA flights from Singapore.

Singapore – Sydney
Avios Award rates

Singapore

Sydney
Cabin Class
Season
Old rate New rate
Economy
Off-Peak
13,000
25,000
+92%
Economy
Peak
20,000
30,000
+50%
Premium Economy
Off-Peak
26,000
42,500
+63%
Premium Economy
Peak
40,000
60,000
+50%
Business
Off-Peak
50,000
80,000
+60%
Business
Peak
60,000
90,000
+50%
First
Off-Peak
68,000
No change
First
Peak
80,000
No change

Singapore – London
Avios Award rates

Singapore

London
Cabin Class
Season
Old rate New rate
Economy
Off-Peak
22,750 40,000
+78%
Economy
Peak
35,000 45,000
+29%
Premium Economy
Off-Peak
45,500 55,000
+21%
Premium Economy
Peak
70,000 80,000
+14%
Club World
Off-Peak
87,500 110,000
+26%
Club World
Peak
105,000 120,000
+14%
First
Off-Peak
119,000
No change
First
Peak
140,000
No change

To clarify, taxes and fees payable on these flights have not reduced at all for Singapore-based Executive Club members, but UK and US-based accounts do now see lower cash pricing on these routes.

BA awards via partner FFPs are unaffected

Importantly there is no change to the award rates when redeeming British Airways flights using other oneworld programmes, like Asia Miles for this Singapore – London award.

A BA Business Class award will still set you back 70,000 Asia Miles plus the usual full suite of taxes and fuel surcharges between Singapore and London

Additionally, a British Airways Business Class award from Singapore to Sydney using Asia Miles will still cost you 61,000 miles, but will also still set you back S$460 in charges and fees.

BA is now flying its Club Suite Business Class on all Singapore – Sydney flights. (Photo: British Airways)

Qatar Airways has increased the Avios requirement for Privilege Club members booking BA awards in line with the tables above, but also still applies the full taxes and fees even for UK and USA-based members, who are entitled to Reward Flight Saver cash rates on awards when booking via the Executive Club.

While it doesn’t make any difference for most of our Singapore-based readers, if you’re in this category be sure to transfer your Qatar Privilege Club Avios 1:1 into BA Executive Club then book through that portal, to pay the lower fees!

First Class now costs less than Business Class to Sydney!

The strange thing about this new policy of increasing Avios requirements but reducing taxes on Reward Flight Saver (RFS) awards in Economy, Premium Economy and Business Class is that it creates an unusual new disparity.

First Class awards on British Airways between Singapore and Sydney now cost less Avios than Business Class ones!

ADVERTISEMENT

UK and USA based members pay lower fees on the (higher Avios) Business Class awards under RFS, but since a Singapore-based member pays the previous taxes and fees regardless, they now pay exactly the same cash outlay but less Avios when redeeming in First Class on BA to or from Sydney.

This can’t be what BA intended for Singapore members, so we wouldn’t be surprised to see all Executive Club accounts become eligible for Reward Flight Saver redemptions in due course (or maybe they’ll just hike the First Class award rates instead!).

First Class on BA’s Singapore – Sydney flights now costs fewer Avios than Business Class! (Photo: British Airways)

Partner awards using Avios are unaffected

One important factor to remember here is that Avios rates and taxes payable to redeem oneworld partner awards have not changed, and the Executive Club remains a good way to access these cheaper short-haul awards in the region, such as on JAL, Cathay Pacific and Qantas.

ADVERTISEMENT

Here’s a few examples where we’d still aim to use Avios points:

  • Cathay Pacific Economy SIN-HKG 11,000 Avios (KrisFlyer 16,500 miles)
  • Cathay Pacific Business SIN-HKG 25,000 Avios (KrisFlyer 34,000 miles)
  • Qatar Airways Business SIN-DOH-LHR 75,000 Avios (KrisFlyer 103,500 miles)
  • Japan Airlines Economy SIN-HND 20,750 Avios (KrisFlyer 27,000 miles)
  • Malaysia Airlines Economy SIN-KUL 6,000 Avios (KrisFlyer 8,500 miles)
  • Malaysia Airlines Business SIN-KUL 12,500 Avios (KrisFlyer 21,000 miles)
  • Qantas Economy SIN-PER 13,000 Avios (KrisFlyer 21,500 miles)
  • Qantas Economy SYD-PER 13,000 Avios (KrisFlyer VA 21,500 miles)
  • Qantas Economy SIN-SYD/MEL/BNE 20,750 Avios (KrisFlyer 30,500 miles)
  • Qantas Business SYD-MEL 12,500 Avios (KrisFlyer VA 23,500 miles)
  • Qantas Business MEL-PER 22,000 Avios (KrisFlyer VA 44,000 miles)
  • Sri Lankan Economy SIN-CMB 11,000 Avios (KrisFlyer 20,000 miles)
Redeeming a 4-hour domestic Business Class flight on Qantas still comes in at half the price of the same redemption using KrisFlyer miles on Virgin Australia

Most of our readers are not actually using their Avios to redeem British Airways flights to or from Singapore, so it’s great that these partner awards remain protected at their current rates, despite some increases for Cathay Pacific and JAL routings since mid-2021.

Qantas A330 Business Class from Melbourne to Perth is a great value redemption at 22,000 Avios + S$37. (Photo: Qantas)

Singapore members do get short-haul RFS awards

If you’re travelling to Europe and planning some short-haul hops including London, the good news is that Singapore-based Executive Club members are entitled to access short-haul RFS awards, which price competitively with as little as S$1 in taxes and fees.

For example, you can take a BA flight in Business Class (Club Europe) from London to Nice in May next year, usually priced at S$575, for only 15,000 Avios + S$1.

This is a nice saving on the regular (non-RFS) rate of 15,000 Avios + S$82.

To be eligible for short-haul RFS, your Executive Club account must have earned at least one Avios point in the last 12 months (a transfer from credit card points or an Avios purchase also counts as earning activity).

BA is now using the Club Suite from Singapore

As we reported back in July this year, British Airways is now deploying Boeing 777-300ERs with the new Club Suite Business Class, and closed-door suites in First Class, on all its Singapore – Sydney and 50% of its Singapore – London flights.

You’ll need to snag an award on any BA15/16 services to take advantage, with BA11/12 flights still using Boeing 787-9 aircraft with the older cabin products.



 


 

Summary

British Airways has rolled out Reward Flight Saver redemptions on all its long-haul routes, but the new “pay move Avios, pay less money” principle doesn’t extend to non-UK and non-US-based members.

That sadly means Singapore-based Executive Club members are seeing only the worst side of the equation – a hike in Avios rates of 14% to 92% with no respite at all from the carrier’s high surcharges, when booking BA awards to or from the Lion City (or any long-haul BA award for that matter).

Luckily most of our readers are using Avios points for more valuable awards anyway, including JAL, Cathay Pacific, Qantas and Qatar Airways flights, but if it’s a long-haul flight on BA metal you’re looking at the rates are now significantly higher and the same taxes are payable, with no advance warning of this change provided.

Let’s hope BA rolls out access to its long-haul RFS award pricing structure to non-UK/US members soon.

(Cover Photo: Vancouver Airport)

ADVERTISEMENT

2 comments

  1. What’s stopping a Singapore based member from changing his/her address to a UK/US one to take advantage of the new scheme once he/she is ready to book the affected award?

    1. This is possible, assuming you have a legitimate UK or US address to use. Once you change it, you can’t amend your address again for 6 months.

Leave a Reply