Last Chance for Great Deals Using British Airways Points?

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Update:  British Airways is NOT changing its Avios partner award chart.  Here’s an updated post with the latest information!

Via View From the Wing and Million Mile Secrets’ readers, there could be huge changes coming to the British Airways frequent flyer program.  And if this happens, it’s NOT good news!

Folks like to use British Airways Avios points for cheap, short-haul award tickets on American Airlines, because it only costs 4,500 Avios points (and no fuel surcharges) for a 1-way coach class ticket for flights under 650 miles.  This is an amazing deal, because other US airlines charge 12,500 points for the same award ticket!

Last Chance For Great Deals Using British Airways Points

Please, Don’t Go! Are Cheap British Airways Avios Short-Haul Award Tickets About to Depart for Good?

But it looks like these tickets could get a lot more expensive very soon!  I really hope this doesn’t happen, but it sounds like it might.

What’s Going On?

Link:   View From the Wing – HOLY SMOKE:  Is British Airways About to Devalue Its Points?  Iberia Massively Jacks Up Award Rates!

Link:   British Airways Avios Award Calculator

Link:   Iberia Avios oneworld Partner Award Charts

Link:   Iberia Avios American Airlines Award Chart

Iberia (a Spanish airline which is also part of the oneworld alliance) and British Airways are owned by the same company, International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG).  And their frequent flyer programs earn the same points (Avios).

You can transfer Iberia Avios and British Airways Avios between programs, and until recently their award charts were very similar.

But Iberia just updated their award charts for redeeming Avios points on partner airlines, like American Airlines, and you now need MANY MORE points for the same award ticket!  It could mean British Airways will make the same changes soon.

Last Chance For Great Deals Using British Airways Points

Iberia Just Made Avios Award Tickets Much More Expensive on Their oneworld Partners…Will British Airways Avios Follow?

Iberia and British Airways have distance-based award charts, which means the number of Avios points needed for an award ticket depends on the distance flown.

The award chart for redeeming Iberia Avios on British Airways doesn’t seem to have changed much.  It’s still 4,500 Avios points for a 1-way coach class ticket under 650 miles, and 7,500 Avios points for flights as long as 1,151 miles.

Last Chance For Great Deals Using British Airways Points

The Chart for Using Iberia Avios on British Airways Award Tickets Still Looks the Same

But the award chart for using Iberia Avios on oneworld partner airlines is now much more expensive!  This chart applies to oneworld partners except American Airlines.

Last Chance For Great Deals Using British Airways Points

It’s Now Much More Expensive to Use Iberia Avios Points for oneworld Partner Airline Award Tickets

And the shortest haul tickets are those with a distance of 600 miles or less.  It’s not stated clearly if the distance is 600 miles 1-way or round-trip, but because the chart goes up to a distance of 50,000 miles (!), my guess is that it’s round-trip (the earth’s circumference is only ~25,000 miles!).

If it’s 600 miles round-trip, the price of a 1-way ticket under 300 miles is 9,750 Iberia Avios points (19,500 Avios points / 2) and under 500 miles is 12,500 Iberia Avios points (25,000 Avios points / 2).

The award chart for using Iberia Avios points on American Airlines award tickets is very slightly different.  This chart specifically says prices are for round-trip award tickets.  And the only difference I can see is the price for Business Class award tickets under 600 miles round-trip (37,500 Avios points instead of 35,500).

Last Chance For Great Deals Using British Airways Points

The Iberia Avios Award Chart for American Airlines Is Slightly Different, but Still Very Expensive

Again, these charts are for booking partner airline award flights using Iberia Avios points.  But because Iberia and British Airways are owned by the same company, I wouldn’t be surprised if British Airways makes similar changes soon.

It wouldn’t make sense for British Airways to not make changes.  That’s because if they don’t, folks could easily transfer their Iberia Avios points to their British Airways account and book award tickets on oneworld partners at a much lower rate!

Has British Airways Made Changes Yet?

I looked at award tickets on the British Airways website this morning, and so far, short-haul award tickets seem to cost the same as before.  A 1-way coach class ticket from New York to Toronto, for example, still costs 4,500 Avios points plus $5.

Last Chance For Great Deals Using British Airways Points

No Changes (Yet) to Award Ticket Prices on the British Airways Website, at Least for This Route

I also checked Los Angeles to Las Vegas, and it also still costs 4,500 Avios 1-way in coach class.

Last Chance For Great Deals Using British Airways Points

No Changes to Price From Los Angeles to Las Vegas Either

So for now, it looks like British Airways hasn’t made any changes.  That said, I only checked a few routes.  Hopefully it stays this way!

But if you had plans to book an award ticket using British Airways Avios points, it might be a good idea to get your tickets now, just in case things change without warning!

Bottom Line

Using British Airways Avios points for short-haul, coach class tickets on American Airlines is a great deal because it only costs 4,500 Avios points for 1-way flights under 650 miles.  In this hobby, things are always changing and folks have taken advantage of this deal for a few years.  

The changes to Iberia’s award charts could signal the end to this fantastic award redemption.  I hope it doesn’t change but there will always be new ways to get Big Travel with Small Money!

For folks planning to book award tickets using British Airways Avios points, you may consider doing it soon because things could be changing.

If you see unusual award ticket pricing on the British Airways website, please let me know in the comments!

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9 Responses to Last Chance for Great Deals Using British Airways Points?

  1. We’ve been talking about taking an Asia trip next year but hadn’t pulled the trigger. When I read this I went ahead and booked CX flights to HKG in business using my Avios. Better safe than sorry!

  2. @Doug, same thought here. Have a trip I’m looking at to Peru and Machu Pichu next spring. Thought I’d wait to book the flight but hearing this, thinking I should get a move on.

  3. Is there any advance warning like hotels sometimes give? Obviously it would be nice if BA indicated changes would occur in say 30 days which would give people time to book. You don’t want to wake up one morning and see that your balance is worth 1/2 of what it was without getting a chance to spend at the old rates. It’s easy to say just book now but no vacation time for awhile so would rather wait but that could cost dearly.

    Is there typically no notification to the consumer?, just an immediate change?

    I know hotels, like Hyatt gave warnings so folks could burn points at the old rates before the new rates going into affect. Not sure the airlines are as kind.

  4. They’ve already made the change :(. Last week I was looking at flights Houston > Honolulu round trip with one stop. The economy ticket was 40.000 Avios now 60.000. So there is a 50% increase… damn..

  5. This is a misunderstanding. You were never able to book Iberia awards online before. I guess now you can. But there was no increase. I don’t think there is a devaluation coming with British Airways like you said. Check out milevalue.com & British Airways tweets.

  6. From I’ve gathered so far, Iberia award chart has been this way for quite some time. It’s just that no one was paying attention till now. In all likelihood, devaluation will come sooner rather than later. To fly from JFK to Toronto for 4,500 Avios one-way is just too good of a deal. Ditto for Boston-Dublin route for 12,500 Avios one-way in economy, not sustainable in a long run.

  7. This is all a misunderstanding, check out Rob’s post for clarification (a UK based blog):

    http://www.headforpoints.com/2014/08/26/there-has-been-no-iberia-devaluation-i-repeat/

  8. This would be brutal. In the past 18months I have used BA miles for like 30 one way short haul segments.

    The value I’ve gotten from these avios are insane.

    The only issue is the wait time to book through the call in center cuz you can’t book Alaska online with avios.

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