Up to 66.67% Increase: New Minimum of 7,500 Avios for Short Flights Within North America

Source: British Airways.

Effective as of Tuesday, February 2, 2016, reward flights originating or terminating within the United States of America which cost a minimum of 4,500 Avios will increase by approximately 66.67 percent — or by two thirds — to a new minimum of 7,500 Avios. This does not include taxes, fees and carrier charges starting at $5.60 United States dollars.

Changes to the British Airways Executive Club pricing structure for reward flights will only affect shorter routes operated by American Airlines and Alaska Airlines.

Chart of Avios Redemption Changes

The good news is that the majority of reward flight prices within North America will remain unchanged, as shown by the chart below.

New reward flight prices effective as of 10:00 GMT on Tuesday, February 2, 2016
Routes currently starting at 4,500 Avios in economy class
Example route New economy price in Avios New business price in Avios New first class price in Avios Plus taxes, fees and carrier charges
Toronto (YYZ) to New York (JFK) 7,500 15,000 30,000 $46.00 United States dollars
Chicago (ORD) to Washington (DCA) 7,500 n/a 30,000 $6.00 United States dollars
Charlotte (CLT) to New Orleans (MSY) 7,500 n/a 30,000 $6.00 United States dollars
Routes currently starting at 7,500 Avios in economy class — NO CHANGE
Example route Economy price in Avios Business price in Avios First class price in Avios Plus taxes, fees and carrier charges
New York (JFK) to Chicago (ORD) 7,500 n/a 30,000 $6.00 United States dollars
Los Angeles (LAX) to Denver (DEN) 7,500 n/a 30,000 $6.00 United States dollars
Des Moines (DSM) to Phoenix (PHX) 7,500 n/a 30,000 $6.00 United States dollars
 Routes currently starting at 10,000 Avios in economy class — NO CHANGE
Example route Economy price in Avios Business price in Avios First class price in Avios Plus taxes, fees and carrier charges
Atlanta (ATL) to Los Angeles (LAX) 10,000 n/a 40,000 $6.00 United States dollars
Dallas (DFW) to New York (JFK) 10,000 n/a 40,000 $6.00 United States dollars
Baltimore (BWI) to Phoenix (PHX) 10,000 n/a 40,000 $6.00 United States dollars
Routes currently starting at 12,500 Avios in economy class — NO CHANGE
Example route Economy price in Avios Business price in Avios First class price in Avios Plus taxes, fees and carrier charges
Los Angeles (LAX) to Honolulu (HNL) 12,500 n/a 50,000 $6.00 United States dollars
Honolulu (HNL) to Phoenix (PHX) 12,500 n/a 50,000 $6.00 United States dollars
New York (JFK) to Los Angeles (LAX) 12,500 37,500 50,000 $6.00 United States dollars
*Taxes, fees and carrier charges are correct as of Tuesday, October 27, 2015.

To see how a particular route may be affected, search for a reward flight in economy class and refer to the relevant price grouping in the table. Reward Flights are subject to availability.

Reaction by Members of InsideFlyer

The majority of members of InsideFlyer consider this change a devaluation and are not happy about this announcementInsideFlyer member newbluesea stated that “Long haul redemptions already being totally useless” and that “Considering that for some (read ME) that the current short haul (mostly NA) award structure were really one of the few reasons to even acquire Avios I wont be bothered tot make any further attempts in increasing my current balance and will use the points I have only in the very limited cost effective circumstances still available.”

With a more euphemistic point of view, InsideFlyer member satman40 posted: “You know it’s still a good deal, these miles are pretty easy to come by.” He continued that “The nice thing about it is you can add family members and friends as long as they’re your residence to your account.”

On a more pessimistic note, InsideFlyer member akcae surmised that “BA seems to be on a mission to destroy ANY usefulness of its program. It seems to target those who love spending cash on premium long-haul fares, and redeeming Avios for economy + extortionist ‘fuel’ surcharges.”

Summary

Depending on your travel patterns and despite the increases in the redemption of Avios, short-haul flights within North America operated by American Airlines and Alaska Airlines may still be a good deal — although an increase of 66.67 percent can be tough to swallow.

The former redemption value of as low as 4,500 Avios was considered to be an excellent deal amongst frequent fliers. “Because there are no fuel surcharges on domestic U.S. tickets, one of the best strategies was to stay here and use Avios on domestic partners”, according to this article written by And if you live in an American or Alaska Airlines hub city, you probably are able to take advantage of many short, nonstop flights at the cheapest level of 4,500 Avios.”

Scott Mackenzie also advises not to redeem Avios on the more expensive premium class redemptions which have also increased, as flights up to a maximum of 1,151 miles for 7,500 Avios is “tolerable” as a passenger seated in the economy class cabin.

Unfortunately, devaluations do happen; but the good news is that from airport hub cities of American Airlines such as Chicago and Dallas, airfares have been quite inexpensive lately. One of many such deals is $88.00 round-trip — including all taxes and fees — on flights operated by American Airlines between Dallas and San Diego, according to this article posted at The Flight Deal; and even though availability may be extremely limited at that airfare, flights can still be purchased at airfares ranging from $106.00 to $116.00 to $126.00. Those are still good deals which arguably may be better to pay in cash than with Avios.

Source: British Airways.

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