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Earning miles is easy, earning tons of miles is hard. Upgrades matter because they allow people without a gazillion miles to elevate their travel. Upgrading from Premium Economy to Business allows you turn a seat into a bed, mush into a three course meal and a busy terminal into a lounge to relax in before the flight. Almost anyone can collect the 10,000 miles currently needed to upgrade from Premium Economy to Business class on a flight from London to New York (one way) without even flying. Because of this accessibility, British Airways has decided to murder the upgrade by more than doubling the price in miles on most flights you might actually want to upgrade…

You heard correctly, double or worse. To be crystal clear, this applies to all long haul flights, specifically any flights over 2,000 miles. If your flights are within Europe fear not, you are probably spared, but if you ever want to get off the continent notably to places like the Middle East, America, South America, Asia or beyond, you will now be faced with an insurmountable amount of miles needed to upgrade after April 28th, when the new changes take effect. Business changes the airport and in flight experience entirely and for 10,000-15,000 miles depending on distance to upgrade, it’s been well worth its weight in gold. With the new changes, I don’t see how anyone can manage to upgrade regularly going forward. The fundamental issue is that British Airways is a British Airline, yet it rewards its compatriots far worse than it rewards those of us abroad. I can sign up for a British Airways card with 50,000 bonus miles after only $2,000 USD spending. The best offer in the UK only allows for 18,000 bonus Avios. When you couple this with slashing away at mileage and tier earning for economy fliers, it’s clear that British Airways no longer want anyone without serious change flying upfront. 

A family of four flying from London to New York currently require 10,000 miles per person (40,000) to upgrade. Post changes, the same family would now require 80,000 miles or more, each way. Out of reach for nearly all. Ultra long haul flights, like those from London to Tokyo, which currently require only 15,000 per person have been a wonderful niche use for Avios. That number, as you may have guessed, is now 30,000 or more. I just don’t see how British Airways can double down by taking away mileage earning for most, while simultaneously doubling the price of meaningful upgrades. If you have a flight on the books or are about to book one, try to lock in your mileage upgrade before the fateful date of April 28th, unless of course you want to use double the miles for the same thing.

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