New British Airways Avios Devaluation
Hilary Stockton

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New British Airways Avios Devaluation


Another British Airways Avios Devaluation--already. I thought it might be towards the end of this year, given the major British Airways devaluation in late 2011, but it's again time to burn Avios, at least if you're planning on British Airways First Class using your British Airways Companion Ticket. 

There are changes on the Avios earning side as well, but for now I'll just focus on the devaluation in redeeming Avios for awards. First, the key details:

  • Changes are effective April 28, 2015
  • More Avios for the most expensive fares (from 200% to 300%) and fewer Avios for cheapest fares (from 100% to 25%)
  • Award cost will vary according to Off Peak vs. Peak Calendar for British Airways flights
  • Award chart devaluation: more Avios needed for First Class and Business Class awards
  • All Partner flight awards will be at Peak pricing

Here's the current British Airways Avios award chart:

British Airways Avios Award Chart - Valid Through April 27, 2015


And here's the future award chart, effective April 28, 2015:

New British Airways Avios Award Chart - Off Peak vs Peak


And here's the Peak vs. Non-Peak Calendar; note that the peak days are in white, and the off-peak dates are in beige with a dot in them. The days are sequential, 1-30 or 1-31, starting from the left.

New British Airways Avios Devaluation-Peak vs Non Peak Calendar



NYC JFK to London LHR in British Airways First Class

  • Current price: 60,000 Avios each way, 120,000 roundtrip
  • New award price, off-peak: 68,000 Avios each way, 136,000 roundtrip
  • New award price, peak: 80,000 Avios each way, 160,000 roundtrip


SFO to London LHR in British Airways First Class

  • Current price: 75,000 Avios each way, 150,000 roundtrip
  • New award price, off-peak: 85,000 Avios each way, 170,000 roundtrip
  • New award price, peak: 100,000 Avios each way, 200,000 roundtrip


NYC JFK to Vancouver in Cathay Pacific First Class

  • Current price: 37,500 Avios each way, 75,000 roundtrip
  • New award price: 50,000 Avios each way, 100,000 roundtrip

NYC JFK to Hong Kong HKG in Cathay Pacific First Class

  • Current price: 150,000 Avios each way, 300,000 roundtrip
  • New award price: 200,000 Avios each way, 400,000 roundtrip
Is There Any Good News with These Changes?
The good news is that economy awards stay the same price (or are even cheaper, if you fly British Airways metal during an off-peak time). So if you're mostly using your Avios for short economy nonstops such as NYC to Montreal on AA for 4500 Avios one way or even LA to Hawaii for 12,500 one way, nothing changes.
Other good news is that if you like to upgrade economy class fares to premium economy, you'll be able to do so from more fare classes. Currently you can only upgrade from Y, B and H fare classes. Later this year (date TBD) you'll be able to upgrade from not only Y, B and H (the most expensive economy fare classes) but also K, M, V, L, S and N fare classes. Of course, this isn't that helpful if what you really want is Business Class, since the upgrade is always to the next class of service, so from Economy to Premium Economy. Also, you still won't be eligible to upgrade from the very cheapest discount economy fare classes, Q, O and G.
Can I Make Date Changes After April 28, 2015 Without Changing the Award Price?
Yes, you can: "All date changes can be made in Manage My Booking as normal and the Avios price will remain the same regardless of the new prices."
What If My Date Change After April 28, 2015 Would Result in a Lower Award Price?
You wouldn't get a refund of Avios if changing a booking made before April 28, 2015 to a date that will require fewer Avios (say because of cheaper Economy Class off-peak pricing). So you would need to pay the cancellation fee and rebook to obtain the lower pricing.
What If I Change the Award Type After April 28, 2015?
While not explicitly spelled out in the Executive Club Changes FAQ, something such as changing a Business Class award to a First Class award will be considered a new award, so you'd have to pay the new award pricing.
In Light of the Changes, Is It Worth Transferring AMEX Membership Rewards Points to Avios with the 40% Bonus?
Only if there's a very specific award you're looking to redeem prior to April 28, 2015, for example a first class companion ticket that will be increasing in price as of April 28.
Does this new British Airways Devaluation impact your travel plans?
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Picture?type=large Daniel V. commented 30 Jan 2015
Good analysis! I was waiting till the deadline to use the Amex MR to Avios 40% bonus. When I first read that BA had devalued their program a couple days ago I thought maybe I shouldn't transfer at all. Now, seeing that econ flights are unaffected I think it still makes sense to transfer a large amount.
User_avatar_default Travelfan B. commented 21 Apr 2015
I am looking to book some o/w flights on LAN from Sydney to Auckland with Avios points. Will this travel also be affected by the BA devaluation?
Avatar_60_hilary Hilary Stockton commented 21 Apr 2015
In your case there's no change: 10K Avios each way for economy, 20K Avios each way in business. Often there are pretty inexpensive cash fares though, so you could likely get better value out of other first class or business class pre-devaluation redemptions or routes with more expensive fares.
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