Counter intuitive seems to be the way of the world with many things and airline matters are no exception.In my world, and hopefully your world, off peak has the same meaning. It means less demand. Generally with less demand comes less price. If you read, you likely know that my wife is from London and getting there for the holidays is very important to her. Doing anything I can not to spend any more than four hours in an economy seat is very important to me. I don’t care about upgrades on short flights but on flights over four hours, I all but demand them. I’ve been looking at making a British Airways “World Traveller Plus”,  “premium” economy booking and instantly upgrading to business “Club World”. I was very surprised in practice to find that doing so off peak is worse than peak!

a blue and white chart with red arrows pointing to the top

When British Airways gutted their long haul value for Avios tickets they added peak and off peak prices. The good news is that if you fly with British Airways you can experience off peak pricing which although gouging compared to old prices is still better than the new prices you’d face using your miles on any partner airline and better than the peak prices which dominate most of the year. My initial impression was that I should look to book World Traveler Plus seats on British Airways off peak dates in hopes of requiring less overall miles to complete the instant upgrade. What I found was that it’s much worse the longer the flight. For New York to London “peak” upgrades from World Traveller Plus to Club World you’ll require 20,000 miles each way per person. Off peak the number jumps to 24,000 per person and for each subsequently longer distance flight the number grows. Who wants to spend nearly 50,000 miles just on an upgrade when it used to be 20,000 round trip!

a row of seats in an airplane

Here’s the brutal honesty. British Airways have made clear opinion that they do not want people receiving high end value for their miles with first class flights on partners or even their own airline. They’ve marked those seats up at a far higher percentage in the new changes than seats in economy and premium, which in my opinion are rarely a good value given British Airways extortion taxes and “fuel surcharges”.  Whatever those really are. As evidenced by the chart the gap between World Traveller Plus and Club World rises on off peak dates and rises again the longer the flight. Essentially, the more worthwhile to buy World Traveller Plus and upgrade, the more shocking the pricing in miles. Of course if you want to upgrade from Economy to World Traveller Plus it’s a far more acceptable value…. for them. This is not news, the chart hasn’t changed since I first reported it months ago but I was intrigued by putting the new moves into practice. Clearly I need more practice. 

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Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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