Live: British Airways’ New Partner Award Chart

Filed Under: Awards, British Airways

In late April British Airways Executive Club announced that they’d be making changes to their award redemption rates for travel on partner airlines. Rather annoyingly they said that changes would be made, but refused to officially share what those changes were.

Well, British Airways’ partner award chart changes kicked in as of today (May 30, 2019), so we now know what the new redemption rates are.

British Airways’ new partner award chart

Here’s British Airways Executive Club’s new award chart for travel on partner airlines:

Zone // Flight DistanceEconomyPremium EconomyBusinessFirst
Zone 1
1-650 miles*
*Not available in North America
6,0009,00012,50024,000
Zone 2
651-1150 miles
9,00012,50016,50033,000
Zone 3
1151-2000 miles
11,00016,50022,00044,000
Zone 4
2001-3000 miles
13,00025,75038,75051,500
Zone 5
3001-4000 miles
20,75041,25062,00082,500
Zone 6
4001-5500 miles
25,75051,50077,250103,000
Zone 7
5501-6500 miles
31,00062,00092,750123,750
Zone 8
6501-7000 miles
36,25072,250108,250144,250
Zone 9
7001+ miles
51,500103,000154,500206,000

As a point of comparison, here’s their previous award chart. Travel on partner airlines was “peak” pricing:

Zone // Flight DistanceEconomy
Off Peak // Peak
Premium Economy
Off Peak // Peak
Business
Off Peak // Peak
First
Off Peak // Peak
Zone 1
1-650 miles*
*Not available in North America
4,000 // 4,5005,750 // 6,7507,750 // 9,00015,500 // 18,000
Zone 2
651-1150 miles
6,500 // 7,5009,500 // 11,25012,750 // 15,00025,500 // 30,000
Zone 3
1151-2000 miles
8,500 // 10,00012,750 // 15,00017,000 // 20,00034,000 // 40,000
Zone 4
2001-3000 miles
10,000 // 12,50020,000 // 25,00031,250 // 37,50042,500 // 50,000
Zone 5
3001-4000 miles
13,000 // 20,00026,000 // 40,00050,000 // 60,00068,000 // 80,000
Zone 6
4001-5500 miles
16,250 // 25,00032,500 // 50,00062,500 // 75,00085,000 // 100,000
Zone 7
5501-6500 miles
19,500 // 30,00039,000 // 60,00075,000 // 90,000102,000 // 120,000
Zone 8
6501-7000 miles
22,750 // 35,00045,500 // 70,00087,500 // 105,000119,000 // 140,000
Zone 9
7001+ miles
32,50 // 50,00065,000 // 100,000125,000 // 150,000170,000 // 200,000

As a reminder:

  • For awards within North America, Zone 1 pricing doesn’t apply (so even a flight under 650 miles within North America would use Zone 2 pricing)
  • However, flights under 650 miles within North America are still pricing at the old Zone 2 price of 7,500 Avios; if you’ve held off booking one of these routes, I’d suggest booking now rather than waiting for the “undocumented” 20% discount to go away, or perhaps this is what British Airways intended to do
  • The partner award chart changes don’t apply to travel on British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus, or Vueling

My take on British Airways’ new partner award pricing

Given the direction that frequent flyer programs have been headed, in particular when it comes to introducing dynamic award pricing, I’d say these changes actually aren’t too bad.

Since British Airways has a distance based award chart, the sweet spot has long been using Avios for short haul awards that would cost a lot if paying cash.

With these Executive Club changes, we’re seeing a significant increase in the cost of short-haul awards, while the increase in long haul awards is minimal.

For example, a 7,001+ mile flight in economy increases in cost from 50,000 Avios to 51,500 Avios, which is an increase of just 3%. That’s not bad at all.

What’s worse are the changes on short-haul redemptions. For example:

  • Awards of up to 650 miles increase from 4,500 Avios to 6,000 Avios, which is an increase of 33% (again, these didn’t apply within North America, though)
  • Awards of 651-1,150 miles increase from 7,500 Avios to 9,000 Avios, which is an increase of 20%
  • Awards of 1,151-2,000 miles increase from 10,000 Avios to 11,000 Avios, which is an increase of 10%
  • Awards of 2,001-3,000 miles increase from 12,500 Avios to 13,000 Avios, which is an increase of 4%

While any devaluation is bad news, I’d say these changes aren’t actually that bad, and I was initially expecting they’d be much worse.

Are Avios still valuable for partner awards?

I’d say so. 9,000 Avios for a flight of up to 1,150 miles, or 10,000 Avios for a flight of up to 2,000 miles, is a pretty good deal.

More importantly, for many people British Airways Avios are easy to come by. British Airways Executive Club is transfer partners with Amex Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards. There’s even a 30% transfer bonus at the moment from Chase to British Airways.

So there’s still a lot of value to be had, especially if you acquire Avios during a transfer bonus.

Earn Avios

Bottom line

While no one likes an award chart devaluation, I’d say British Airways’ partner award chart changes could have been much worse. I just don’t get why they had to be so cryptic about these changes, and couldn’t have announced the details upfront.

What do you make of British Airways’ partner award chart changes, now that we have all the details?

Comments

  1. I’m certain we’re in for a major AAdvantage devaluation. Imagining it’ll be a combination of 1) no award chart, like Delta and United, and 2) increased costs for partner awards (to mirror BA’s strategy).

  2. for AA awards of 0-650 miles, it’s still pricing at the old rate of 7500/15000 (economy/business), which obviously is already high/higher than other airlines’ new pricing for this band.

  3. I’m actually okay with the change. Just like any currencies, it will be inflated over time. It’s not as bad as it could have been.

  4. Sure, this stinks, but compared to every other airlines’ devaluations it’s peanuts. Still a great value for AA domestic flights when you factor in the ability to cancel for a full redeposit and not having to pay the insane close-in booking fee. All of that for cheaper or just 500 miles more than what AA charges for their own awards is a steal in my book.

  5. Agreed with Aron: we might soon see AA award devaluation — and i’m afraid it will be much worse than just “peanuts” – AA is actually a last bastion of the award openness and honesty, not to mention, very reasonable mileage requirements for international travel… Ben is right: the trend is not good…

  6. Are we seeing any increases to fees/surcharges on partner award bookings? That’s what I am most concerned about.

  7. Given that the new Avios rates are now confirmed, maybe now is a good time to transfer Chase UR points with the 30% bonus after all (for those who have been waiting)? Seems like with the transfer bonus this still might be one of the better uses of UR points. Especially if you can transfer to BA

    Can OMAAT do an updated post on Avios sweet spots i.e. the possibility to transfer Chase –> BA –> Iberia for off-peak biz to Europe?

  8. It’s good to see the west coast to Hawaii redemptions have changed minimally, including premium cabins. That remains one of the best sweet spots in the chart. I was worried that was going to be destroyed just before the booking window for a planned 2020 trip.

  9. Does anyone know why when the new pricing went into effect all Japan Airlines domestic flights have disappeared from BA’s award availability? There is generally multiple daily awards available between Tokyo/Osaka and Tokyo/Sapporo and now there are no awards domestically in Japan for any day of the entire available schedule.

  10. I wish that band 1 was still available for North America. The increase makes it cost double what it cost back when that band was available. Does anyone know why they initially ended that band?

    I still see many circumstances where band 1 can provide one with great value.

    Does anyone know if the prices also changed for Iberian Avios redemptions?

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