Travel News

British Airways Announced a Devaluation – But They Won’t Tell Us How Bad

Written by Charlie

There is a British Airways devaluation coming for partner award redemptions. The biggest problem? British Airways announced it but won’t say how bad it actually will be.

In the rewards world, you can always count on devaluations (or “necessary adjustments” as the programs would say) over time. With those of us who travel, these devaluations in hotels and airline programs can really hurt. When an airline gives advance notice, that is always a nice heads-up, but what does it mean when that is all that they tell us?

British Airways Announced a Devaluation – But They Won’t Tell Us How Bad

british airways devaluation

Here is what British Airways has to say about this devaluation, which will kick in from May 30, 2019:

“From 30 May 2019, we’ll be changing our Avios prices on reward flights with the following partner airlines: Alaska Airlines, Air Italy, American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Japan Airlines, LATAM, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Qatar Airways, S7, Sri Lankan and Royal Jordanian Airlines.

The price of Avios upgrades on American Airlines only will also be changing from 30 May 2019. You will pay the difference between the Avios prices of your booked cabin and your upgraded cabin.”

How Do British Airways Avios Rewards Work?

British Airways operates a distance-based award chart which can be extremely useful in many short-haul situations. Since many short flights can also be the most expensive (in terms of distance and cost), being able to use a handful of points (or, Avios, as BA calls them) is a great way to get around for cheap.

American Airlines off-peak

The British Airways Avios chart

A while ago, British Airways devalued their short-haul redemptions for partner flights in North America. But, that still left the fabulous 4,500 Avios price point wide open for flights around the world that were less than 650 miles. It meant being able to use just 4,500 Avios for a partner flight on an airline like Qatar that may otherwise cost $500!

It appears that British Airways no longer wants to allow such redemptions on partner flights so they will be making changes for tickets booked from May 30, 2019.

So, What Is the British Airways Devaluation?

That’s the big question and problem. BA won’t really say what the new reward rates will be. They do give an example and it is just a horrible example! 🙂 The example simply gives the cost for taxes and fees and says “Avios.” The problem is that they have already told us that it is the Avios prices that will be changing so their examples give us no help at all.

british airways devaluationWhat the British Airways Devaluation Could Look Like

Thanks to some heads-up work by Seat31B and a lot of time that they spent on the phone, we do have a little glimpse at what these changes may be. Check out the post for all the information but also keep in mind that British Airways has not announced anything on this front yet.

  • 0-650 miles: 6,000 Avios (up from 4,500)
  • 651-1,150 miles: 9,000 Avios (up from 7,500)
  • 1,151 miles-2,000 miles: 11,000 Avios (up from 10,000)
  • 2,001 miles-3,000 miles: 13,000 Avios (up from 12,500)

If that is indeed what is changing, it isn’t so bad but it will still add up. At this point, I wouldn’t just start making speculative bookings with BA’s partners to avoid the devaluation. We still have a whole month and I am guessing that British Airways will be putting out an official post with changes before that date comes.

But, if you do want to make speculative bookings, remember that the cancellation fees with British Airways aren’t that bad!

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.