Avios points not pricing correctly

“Avios” is quickly becoming my new favorite cuss word. Let me take it a step further. I’m starting to feel contempt towards Avis car rental by no fault of their own.

This morning I posted about the changes to British Airways’ award chart, and generally it’s pretty ugly for North American based flyers.

I’ve been playing around a bit more with the pricing, and I’m utterly confused. Their “Avios Calculator” seems to contradict the way awards are pricing. For example, the “Avios Calculator” suggests that awards from JFK to Paris, Brussels, Spain, etc., should cost 60,000 miles each way in first class. For example, here’s what my search for New York to Barcelona turned up using the calculator:

New York to London to Barcelona seems like a real bargain at 60,000 miles, so I’m trying to make it price. When I find award availability, it prices as follows, however:

I realize they just changed the program, but does anyone have a clue what’s going on? I realize that they’re probably still updating things, though it’s not that the pricing hasn’t been updated, but rather that the new pricing is wrong.

For New York to London to Paris and Brussels it’s pricing at 69,000 miles each way, when the cost should be 60,000 miles. It seems they’re adding the cost of the individual segments as opposed to the entire journey.


Filed Under: British Airways
  1. My understanding (and this may not be 100%) is that only domestic add-ons are free i.e. you have to pay for the LHR-XXX flight in additional to the XXX-LHR flight. Hence why you get 69,000 (60,000 + 9,000 for the connection LHR-CDG/BRU, etc).

  2. I think it’s pricing correctly – it just sucks. They set it up to price every individual leg separately based on distance. JFK-BCN = 3827 mi = 60000 miles for First. But JFK-LHR = 3458 mi = 60000 miles for First PLUS LHR-BCN = 717 mi = 15000 miles for Business (no First) = 75000 total. No such thing as a stopover any more – each leg prices individually.

  3. That’s weird, but don’t you read the actual calculator the same way I do Euan? Seems to be spelled out pretty clearly.

  4. @Nabeel — But it says prices are shown for British Airways travel with up to one connection on the calculator?

  5. @ Euan — Fudge! And here I was hoping that the award search tool wasn’t working right, and not the calculator.

  6. Seems the new program works by pricing each segment individually just like LAN.

    My question is wheather the mileage required is solely distance based? It doesn’t seem so. Hence the lack of award chart.

  7. @ Aussieflyer — and that’s what’s so frustrating. No transparency, no explanation, and no logic. You’d think they could have rolled it out right given how long they’ve kept us waiting.

  8. @aussieflyer – that too is my understanding with the exception that UK and Spanish domestic connections are included free both on short-haul (eg EDI-LHR-HEL) and (eg long-haul EDI-LHR-NYC) redemptions. Everything else is priced per sector.

    As for why there isn’t a single mileage chart for Partners – maybe they are some anomalies.

  9. I was hoping to use the 241 for 2 of us + 120k BA miles for first class JFK via LHR to Germany, looks like now we’re looking at 138k miles. Still better than before, but not as good as I’d hoped for.

  10. BA miles = European version of Delta miles

    Looks like the pricing is done by segment, and non-stop or with stop flights matter.

  11. Like everyone else, I’m sitting like an idiot wasting time plugging in every city pair to try and understand this new program. (Although its something to do while on hold to BA, the other thing that sucks about BA).
    So instead of doing random ones, I tried all CX destinations ex-HKG to see if there’s any pattern.
    It’s still a bit hard to tell but gives some sort of idea. City with distance from HKG,
    4,500 miles required,
    7,500 miles required
    10,000 miles required
    12,500 miles required
    20,000 miles required
    25,000 miles required
    30,000 miles required
    35,000 miles required

    Anyone figured out exact where it splits?

  12. Looks like the splits are at:

    up to 600 mi – 4500 pts
    600 – 1200 mi – 7500 pts
    1200 – 2000 mi – 10000 pts
    2000 – 3000 mi – 12500 pts
    3000 – 4000 mi – 20000 pts
    4000 – 5000 mi – 25000 pts
    5000 – 6000 mi – 30000 pts
    6000+ mi – 35000 pts

  13. surely there will be some good values here with the shorter and medium segment flights

    lan already offers great value for the shorter segment flights. their setup is pretty similar to ba’s with a distance based chart.

    overall though the $ was in the long hauls and BA gutted it. even going to europe costs more than expected cause u pay for your connecting segment. ridiculous!

    way to go chase and ba…

  14. @Aleks

    Looks good and that’s what I was thinking.

    Then I tried SYD-DFW, prices at 50,000. It’s 8578 miles do thought maybe there’s 8,500+ level.
    But then tried SYD-LAX and it also prices at 50,000 even though its only 7488 miles, almost 600 miles less then HKG-JFK.
    BNE-LAX (7161 miles) is also pricing at 50,000.
    All the other Qantas routes fit in the above equation so it seems there’s some exceptions.

    Anyone else find a city pair that doesn’t fit the above?

  15. @lucky
    The reason you’re seeing a 60k avios price for JFK-BCN is because a partner flies that route nonstop (AA in this case), so that’s the nonstop price, not the price for a connection in LHR. Try another city in Spain not served by AA or IB TATL, and you’ll see the calculator price go up.

    The calculator only displays the prices of nonstops for partners, and up to one stop for BA. Everything’s based on adding the prices of individual segments flow; it really sucks for us maximizers.

  16. @ Michael — That directly contradicts what the calculator says. It clear says “Prices shown are the lowest based on a one-way journey, with up to to one connection (on BA flights only).”

  17. The changes are per non-stop segment. So it’s 60k on AA JFK-BCN. When you add a connection, you need to use calculator on both segments seperately and add the cost.

  18. @ oleg — Right, that seems to be the case, though it *directly* contradicts what the award calculator says.

  19. @ Lucky

    Here’s how I read these calculator “rules”:
    “Prices shown are the lowest based on a one-way journey, with up to one connection (on BA flights only).”
    “Partner airline prices shown are full Avios only based on a one-way journey.”

    The calculator always shoes the lowest possible price, which is a “partner price” if it’s there’s a nonstop partner, or a “BA flights only” price if there’s no nonstop.

    After you hit “calculate,” however, they say this: “These guide prices are based on a one-way journey on British Airways. Prices may vary on partner airlines.”

    Which is an outright lie.
    Anyway, Thanks for all the updates. I’m glad I’m going to Easter Island next year!

  20. The bottom line is 1) the name Avios—what’s THAT about? Horrible name. But even worse is how the miles required to travel have changed…. I kept miles in British Airways as the partner awards were great. For Instance, LA to Bangkok via Cathay or JAL in economy was 25,000 miles and 50,000 (one way) in business. Economy went up at least 15,000 miles and Business went up 80,000. If I had know this was coming I would have moved all my airline miles into another program on American Express instead of leaving them on BA. Bottom line is that with the new changes I have stopped flying BA entirely except for using up miles for awards and now am firming in the Star Alliance Camp (where I am now a 1K flyer). Bye Bye BA.

  21. this is a disgrace, I wasted five hrs today on the phone and on their site which is a seminal example of obfuscation at its height.AND,they have carefully made it so that they must be allocating many less award seats, so i started just putting in random destinations ,changing dates, to anywhere from jfk,,,,,and,,after five hrs, not ONE came up. Shame on you BA ,,,or should we change the name to BM

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