No, this isn’t the end of the world. Actually, it might be, we’re just not sure yet.
British Airways has just announced they’ll be “revitalising” (I guess that’s to Brits as “enhanced” is to Americans?) their Executive Club program.
They’re starting by renaming their miles “Avios Points.” You’ve gotta be ______ kicking me. Avios Points?!? Of the feedback I’ve seen, about 0% of people like the new name. Maybe it’s an acquired taste? I’ve always been told that about beer, but I still haven’t “acquired” it…
What are the changes? First, you can use your miles for hotels and car rentals. I’m guessing that won’t be a good redemption rate, so frankly couldn’t care less about the option. Second, they’re offering a new type of short-haul award, Flight Saver, where you can spend some
miles Avios Points and some money for your short-haul award ticket.
And then there’s the third change. Let me copy it straight from the source:
Straightforward pricing for reward flights
We’ve found a simpler, easier way to price reward flights and our reward flight zones will be enhanced in November.
On 97% of our routes there will be either no change or the route will require even fewer Avios points than the current BA Miles. We will update you more on this nearer to November.
The problem is, they don’t share the reward chart. They just list the number of Avios Points needed for some routes. They list London to New York, which will go from 150,000 miles to 120,000 miles in first class. That sounds nice.
But here’s my concern. Part of the beauty of British Airways Executive Club is the complexity of their award charts. They have multiple award charts, and one of them is the “one partner” award chart, whereby you can fly a single partner airline. For example, 80,000 miles will get you from the US to South America in business class, while 100,000 miles will get you from the US to most of Asia in business class.
There’s no mention of the partner award chart, though I can’t imagine that they won’t severely devalue it. My concern is that when they say “straightforward pricing for reward flights,” they mean they’ll switch to a single, “simpler” award chart. As a point of comparison, British Airways charges 240,000 miles for business class from the US To Japan on their own flights. So my concern is that the new pricing will be streamlined, and that’s what we’ll be paying for business class on partner airlines too.
So I’m guessing the changes with the program will be substantial, though so far we’ve only seen the lipstick on the pig. I hope I’m wrong.