BA devaluation: not so bad after all

The British Airways award chart devaluation has gone live today, and the sky hasn’t yet fallen. I can verify that as I was up above the clouds all morning on my way to Europe — didn’t see a single piece of sky fall. Truthfully, if the changes were this minor, I don’t understand why they didn’t just announce a new chart rather than making people wait. But let’s not look a gift horse in the mouth and just be thankful: this was a minor deval.

The view from *my* wing this morning confirms that no sky panels have fallen.

Good news: No deval for short-haul US / North America

The best piece of news this morning is that short-haul flights that begin/end in the US remained untouched this time. You may remember that a couple of years ago, British Airways stopped honoring Tier 1 of its award chart (4500 Avios for flights 650 miles or fewer) for flights to/from/within the United States, lumping those short flights with Tier 2 pricing of 7500 economy / 15K business / 30K first. The good news is that even though Tier 1 and Tier 2 were both devalued today, that “special” Tier 1 exception for short flights to/from/within the US remains at the same 7.5K / 15K / 30K pricing band.

Most increases around 10% or less

While nobody likes to see their points become worthless, the truth is that in most cases here they are just worth a little less. When I see a 140K award go up to ~144K  or a 30K award go up to 31K, I just can’t get all up in arms about it. In the words of a wiser human, “Accept certain unalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old.

Given the fact that BA doesn’t impose fuel surcharges on most partner awards, doesn’t charge a close-in booking fee, and allows really easy changes/cancellations, they remain an attractive option despite the devaluation.

Those who would be booking round trip and/or who have to make connections may want to check out  Iberia instead — just be aware that most partner bookings with Iberia are completely nonrefundable (which stands in stark contrast to British Airways). See: From 11K RT: A new sweet spot for North American flight redemptions.

New award chart

Here is the new BA single partner award chart (thanks to Dan’s Deals for this information):

For a full look at the side-by-side old and new charts, see Dan’s Deals as they have created an easy visual.

About Nick Reyes

Nick Reyes is a (fairly) regular guy with an animalistic passion for maximizing the value of miles and money to travel the world in comfort and style. There is little in life that he loves more than finding a fantastic deal and helping you shop smarter & harder to achieve your travel dreams.

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Dan
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Dan

Stayed up late last night testing and creating the new award chart. Was surprised to wake up and see how many bloggers managed to get it wrong.

Greg The Frequent Miler
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Thanks for doing the work so that we didn’t have to! It must have been fun trying to find award space within every distance zone.

Dan
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Dan

Nothing I’d rather be doing at 1AM 😉

Richard
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Richard

The new chart is on par for normal inflation. Big fuss for nothing

iahphx
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iahphx

It’s a modest devaluation, but it hurts a little as some good bargains (like 7500 for up to 1151 miles on AA) get more expensive. More interesting will be how Avios will work when AA moves to dynamic pricing. The world of partner award bookings is going to get more complicated — as seems to ALWAYS be the trend in frequent flyer programs.

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[…] Airways’ new award charts went live and Nick from Frequent Miler was there to remind us that things weren’t as bad as we had suspected. I’ll still be able to use my BA Avios for the rare times AA releases saver space on flights […]

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[…] gift cards you’ve bought in other various deals (or perhaps at 5x at an office supply store). British Airways just had a change to the award chart a couple of months ago, but as noted in that post it wasn’t really that bad. Short haul […]

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[…] Nick previously reported that the BA devaluation wasn’t as bad as expected.  That’s true, but it does mean that the cheapest awards jumped from 4.5K to 6K.  Still, there are very good deals to be had with both BA and Iberia Avios.  The trick will be to find opportunities to get these cheap rates with low fuel surcharges. I hope that Chase returns with another transfer bonus to Avios before I book any flights! […]

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[…] Update: British Airways has changed their award charts.  Now, the flights described in this post cost 6,000 Avios each way (previously 4,500 Avios).  For more details, see: BA devaluation not so bad after all. […]

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[…] for short-haul Oneworld flights. They did devalue their award chart a bit a few months ago, but in most cases the increases were modest. As a reminder, here is the new British Airways single partner award […]