amexstarwood728x90-1 amexbusstarwoodlto728x90-1

Is The British Airways Devaluation Actually A Good Thing?

Related post: Everything You’ve Ever Wanted To Know About British Airways Avios: Tips, Tricks, And Advice You Need To Know To Maximize Your Avios
————————————————————-

A couple days ago I wrote about the upcoming BA devaluation and created award charts showing the exact changes. Many commenters were angry at BA for announcing a devaluation after making a 40% AMEX transfer bonus.

However I’m not distraught over it like I was with other devaluations (see also: Hilton, Hyatt, United, El Al).

Ironically people were also angry at BA when they launched Avios in 2011 after making an AMEX transfer bonus and their 100K card signup offers from days of yore.

The thing is that people didn’t realize the value in the Avios program.  Sure it was no longer good for long-haul redemptions, but there are plenty of other programs that excel at that.  BA Avios created a niche where you can redeem miles for a short-haul at an excellent value, something that was previously very tough to do.

And so in an odd sort of way, I’m actually sort of happy with this devaluation.

The most valuable aspect of the BA program are the short haul awards that go for 4.5K, 7.5K, 10K, or 12.5K Avios for an award flight.  Everyone thought that when BA Avios devalued their award chart (which was unchanged since 2011) that those would get slammed. 50% increases would not have been a shock.

However BA has left those awards completely unscathed. In fact they have lowered the cost of those awards when you fly on actual BA flights off-peak. While generally redeeming BA Avios for BA flights is not a good deal due to fuel surcharges, it can make sense within Europe and Africa with their Reward Saver plan that lowers fuel surcharges to nominal amounts.

The most painful part of the devaluation are on business class flights like JFK to Vancouver, JFK to Los Angeles, and Boston to Dublin, where a one-way jumps from 25K to 37.5K.  First class awards on Cathay from JFK to Vancouver or Hong Kong were also a good value.

So yes, that stings.

But the fact they they have reaffirmed their commitment to the ultra-cheap short-haul awards is a great thing.

I flew for 4.5K Avios from Miami to Cancun this week, I mean how can you top that?  The 7.5K and 10K awards also have tons of hidden gems and even the 12.5K awards have gems like flights to Europe or Hawaii without fuel surcharges.

Those are the most unique feature of the Avios program and where awesome values can be found.

Programs rarely devalue their award charts more often than once every few years, so these changes make me confident enough to hold onto a stash of Avios for my short-haul needs for quite a while.

Agree or disagree? Sound off in the comments!

Tweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someoneShare on Facebook

45 Responses to “Is The British Airways Devaluation Actually A Good Thing?”

  1. Gary Leff Says:
    1

    Is it a good thing? NO it isn’t.

    Could it have been a lot worse for US-based members who redeem for short haul economy? Yes, absolutely.

    ReplyReply
  2. Papa Says:
    2

    On target.

    ReplyReply
  3. Dan Says:
    3

    Wow, you’re quick Gary 😀

    From my perspective I have lots of go-to programs for my business and first class redemtptions.

    But when I wanted a short-haul coach flight before Avios I would either pay for the ticket or use an overpriced coach award if the cost of the flight was too high. And that’s where I focus my Avios usage.

    There are very limited routes where business and first class redemptions make sense with Avios.

    When the USAir availability glitch happened I nabbed business seats to Tel Aviv with AA miles as BA tacks on over $800 in fuel surcharges on that flight.

    Yes, there are routes that make sense, but they are few and far between.

    So I’d argue the affirmation of the short haul awards is more valuable than losing some good redemptions like JFK-YVR.

    Those sting as I said in the post, but I’m just amazed that the short-haul chart was completely untouched and basically reconfirmed for the next few years.

    ReplyReply
  4. Chapshnell Says:
    4

    Every program has changes through the years… If the concession is to lose the long distance value & keep the short haul? absolutely.. obviously we want everything all the time but the 4,500 a way from NYC-YYZ & NYC-YUL etc etc are very valuable. I wouldve been way more grouchy had they increased the short hauls & kept the long hauls the same. Keep looking at the glass half full people…. Changes must happen… the lesser the damage the better…

    ReplyReply
  5. Dan Says:
    5

    @Chapshnell:
    Bingo!

    Devaluations are always going to happen as more miles go into the system and as monetary inflation needs to be balanced with mileage inflation.

    But as you say, 99% of us would prefer the BA Avios business/first awards going up over the coach awards going up.
    And knowing the coach award pricing has been “validated” is a great thing.

    Which is ironic as the opposite would be true for every other program where I’d much rather the coach awards go up instead of the business/first awards 😀

    ReplyReply
  6. Elchay Says:
    6

    Why do they price there domestic business class atvthe first class level. That’s really a killer and doesn’t really make sense.

    ReplyReply
  7. shauly Says:
    7

    dan I am trying to become a ddf however the system keeps on telling me error! that I didn’t enter the correct chaptcha when in fact there is no picture

    ReplyReply
  8. Dan Says:
    8

    @Elchay:
    Yup, that does stink.
    But it’s actually the fault of American, Alaska, and USAir for coding those flights as first class instead of business class.

    On flights to Canada and the Caribbean for example flights on American are coded as business while flights on Alaska and USAir are coded as first.
    And therefore BA charges double for the AA flights and triple for the USAir flights.

    @shauly:
    Try another browser?

    ReplyReply
  9. Why are we complaining? Says:
    9

    These are all free give-aways……..True we are getting fewer of them, but complaining………?

    ReplyReply
  10. Redbull3 Says:
    10

    How do we know they affirmed their commitment to their short haul program? Who says they can’t still make changes to it. Or are you merely saying it’s unlikely they do so, so soon after a previous deval.

    ReplyReply
  11. steve Says:
    11

    “even the 12.5K awards have gems like flights to Europe or Hawaii without fuel surcharges.”

    any examples?

    ReplyReply
  12. Dan Says:
    12

    @Why are we complaining?:
    It’s not free.

    Airlines aren’t doing this to be nice, they’re running these programs to make a profit. Credit card companies infuse billions of dollars into the industry.

    We contribute to that and definitely have the right to complain about and analyze any program changes.

    @Redbull3:
    They redid their entire award chart from the bottom-up.

    They wouldn’t have left the economy chart unchanged if they weren’t committed to that pricing for the future.

    Wholesale award chart changes happen every 3-5 years on average, so when a major program change like this happens and leaves the best redemptions in place that’s a good thing in my book.

    @steve:

    BOS-DUB, BOS-SNN, LAX-OGG, etc.

    http://www.dansdeals.com/archives/59617

    ReplyReply
  13. allen Says:
    13

    i still do not understand why BA’s partner (like AA) seat availability is so different from AA’s own saver level availability. For example now from LGA to CLT, BA shows nothing but AA has plenty.. any workaround?

    ReplyReply
  14. Dan Says:
    14

    @allen:
    It’s exactly the same, read this post and try again,
    http://www.dansdeals.com/archives/59617

    ReplyReply
  15. israel? Says:
    15

    Dan, how will this affect short haul flights from israel to europe or europe to israel?

    ReplyReply
  16. Uri Says:
    16

    When you are right, you are right…

    ReplyReply
  17. Dan Says:
    17

    @israel?:
    In coach? Not at all.
    On BA it may even get cheaper.

    ReplyReply
  18. sb Says:
    18

    @Gary Leff: yes, it is a good thing. There are plenty of other long haul options. Airlines will always devalue after a while and a move by BA was inevitable. This is a better scenario than 99% of Avios users could have dreamed of

    ReplyReply
  19. allen Says:
    19

    @Dan:
    I just retried. For example 2/4, I saw only one award flight availability from JFK to CLT on ba.com in the morning time. But there are a lot from LGA/EWR/JFK to CLT on aa.com all day.. According to your previous post, i should call BA? But BA told me that there is nothing they can do

    ReplyReply
  20. Dan Says:
    20

    @allen:
    Call the BA call center in Singapore like I wrote in that post.

    ReplyReply
  21. Ikey Says:
    21

    Dan, thanx for introducing us to Avios and keeping us very up to date. As far as your trip to Miami and then to Cancun for many Spirit Air would’ve been much better. This time of the year is consisted off peak even to/from Florida. A ticket from Nyc/ACY to Florida is 2500 miles and to Cancun another 2500. Avios is much more. I know Spirit gives no-frills but miles are money. Something to keep in mind.

    ReplyReply
  22. Dan Says:
    22

    @Ikey:
    First of all Spirit charges a $15-$75 award redemption fee.

    Second of all availability for 2.5K requires you to have a Spirit credit card which I don’t have and wouldn’t waste a pull on.

    Third of all we had 4x 50 pound bags and a carry-on that were free with AA.
    Spirit charges $35 for carry-ons, $30 for a 40 pound bag and $25 more for bags weighing between 40-50 pounds.

    Forth of all I got 36 inches of legroom free in AA Main cabin extra. Spirit has 28.

    Fifth of all we got free assigned seats together. Spriit charges extra.

    Sixth of all I got free drinks on the AA flight, Spirit charges extra.

    Seventh of all I transferred points from AMEX, so really that 4.5K award cost about 3K.

    Shall I go on?

    ReplyReply
  23. Jacob Says:
    23

    Good morning

    Can someone please clarify the devaluation does it effect if i use the avios for domestic flights within US

    TX -FL -GA -TN -AL- MS – SC- NC

    Thanks

    ReplyReply
  24. Dan Says:
    24

    @Jacob:
    There is no devaluation for coach awards.

    ReplyReply
  25. AJK Says:
    25

    Is the deval a good thing? Any objective reader and participant in this game must say no. How can you suggest that this deval is better than no deval? The only possible answer is that now you don’t have to *worry* the short-hauls will be gutted. But no deval is better than a deval in every instance. This one included. Period.

    A better blog title would have been “All things considered, the BA deval isn’t terrible and could have been much worse. Here’s why.”

    ReplyReply
  26. Dan Says:
    26

    @AJK:
    It’s pretty safe to say that every few years most programs have a deval.

    Considering the BA program was due for a deval, this is the least painful deval I’ve ever seen.

    Every other devaluation I’ve seen has attacked the most lucrative awards that the program has to offer. This devaluation did nothing of the sort. Major jumps here include premium class awards to Australia that were already a terrible use of Avios. So yes, some useful awards go up, but the creme de la creme of the Avios program remains blissfully intact.

    And the fact that it should be a while before that is reevaluated again is a good thing in my book.

    ReplyReply
  27. true Says:
    27

    is this accurate MIA to cancun 4500 avios plus $28 fees?

    ReplyReply
  28. Dan Says:
    28

    @true:
    Yes, just did that myself this week. Awesome value.

    ReplyReply
  29. true Says:
    29

    can I use avios to Dominican republic?

    ReplyReply
  30. Dan Says:
    30

    @true:
    Of course.
    Click on the related post link and at the bottom of that post are links to destination charts for using your Avios from dozens of airports.

    ReplyReply
  31. true Says:
    31

    Nothing from ny to Dominican right?

    ReplyReply
  32. shauly Says:
    32

    dan sorry for bothering but trying to register your system tells me that I didn’t put in the correct letters… when in fact it asks me which bank gives you ultimate rewards ??? any clue?

    ReplyReply
  33. Moishe Says:
    33

    Dan,

    Is there any better way to use amex membership reward points to fly first on aa?

    I usually use 37.5K avios to fly first class (milesaver) from JFK to LAX.
    This route has the new planes which have an excellent first class and a beautiful separate section in the LAX lounge.

    AA charges 32.5K for the same ticket but amex points don’t transfer. From what you wrote it looks like it will soon cost 50K avios for the same ticket.

    Is there any better method to using amex points for this route?

    ReplyReply
  34. Moshe Says:
    34

    I really started to freak out Wednesday when i read the beginning of the title post:

    “British Airways Avios Award Chart Devaluation… ”

    Because on Tuesday i transferred 160k MR to BA (224k) and i felt great about it! the freak out only lasted 1 minute as i read on and saw that it doesn’t affect the coach awards (main purpose i use it for)

    thanks!

    ReplyReply
  35. anonymous Says:
    35

    Dan: did you try that KosherLuxus authentic Mexican restaurant? If so, how was? I had been there last year & it was great (I mentioned it to you at the Miami DDF). Are we going to merit a trip report? Thanks!

    ReplyReply
  36. chase Says:
    36

    when it says only 1 available does that mean only one or they add later more when this one is gone? I would need more then one

    ReplyReply
  37. Sam Says:
    37

    Is the NYC-Florida Route still 7.5k?

    ReplyReply
  38. yk Says:
    38

    just flew my parents and two sibling from phl to cle nd they driving to detroit to visit and flying dtw to phl for a total 36000 avios. cash price would have been at least $3600 or 80k united. for domestic avios cant be beat!!!!

    ReplyReply
  39. ben Says:
    39

    Do avios points expire? or are they good as long as usage of them every year? thank you.

    ReplyReply
  40. aaron Says:
    40

    Is the Air Berlin 60k TLV RT still the same?

    ReplyReply
  41. Achshell Says:
    41

    Dan, you are all in to the short haul local flights that have Benn reaffirmed for a few years. What exactly guarantees us that we won’t be getting an email written in a Victorian style telling us that they will start charging “environment fee” or “fuel fee” or any other rubbish for short haul flights?

    ReplyReply
  42. Audrey Says:
    42

    @Ikey:

    I do have a Spirit credit card and was willing to put up with all of the points Dan mentions for the low miles required in the past, but in the last couple of years off peak availability has been reduced to either almost or actually nil for the international destinations I used to fly to. Have you checked FLL-CUN “off peak” recently?

    Spirit used to have real value for my purposes, so much so that I used its card almost exclusively, but unfortunately no longer.

    ReplyReply
  43. Will impact coach Says:
    43

    Here’s how the devaluation will negatively impact coach travelers:
    Until now, it was often great value to travel in business class when booking with avios. Now, for some of the flights, some of the time, it will be less valuable, causing travelers to book in coach instead. This will reduce availability in (the already hard to find) coach, for everyone else.

    ReplyReply
  44. jon18 Says:
    44

    Does this affect Montreal- Miami ?

    ReplyReply
  45. Bruce Says:
    45

    Dan, if I had to answer the same questions over and over I would go nuts.

    ReplyReply

Leave a Reply

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.

Switch to our mobile site