There’s a saying about “making hay while the sun shines”. Sadly, the “sun” seems to be setting on British Airways miles being a great currency. As of April 28th, despite the marketing rhetoric, most everything involving British Airways miles (Avios) will be more expensive and you will earn less miles for every ticket you purchase, unless you are purchasing first class tickets. I have spent far too much time reading the FAQ’s and have some thoughts on how to play it. 

Make hay while the sun shines. If you care about travel on British Airways (especially premium cabin travel) or any partner airlines like American, Iberia, Qantas, Cathay Pacific, Finnair or Qatar, book now or forever lose more miles. Changes are coming that will mean virtually every seat up front will cost more miles. How much? Up to 140% more. If that wasn’t bad enough, all the seats in the back will now earn a fraction of their current miles. Though award seats in coach will remain virtually unchanged, award tickets and upgrades with miles for Business or First Class will go up nearly across the board. Business class awards will cost 25% more Avios on all distances greater than 2,000 miles (one way). Upgrading a paid premium economy ticket to business using miles, which has traditionally been a great value, will now cost 140% more miles on all flights over 3,000 miles (one way). Bye Bye upgrades to Club World from New York to London!

Book now, make changes later. From British Airways:

“Will I be able to change the dates of an existing reward flight after 28 April?

Yes. You will be able to make changes to your existing booking on or after the 28 April 2015 under the existing rules. This means, for example, that you will not have to use more Avios towards your existing booking if you need to change it after this date where under the new rules you would be required to use more Avios to make the same booking. This also means that you will not be refunded any difference in Avios if you make a change to your existing booking which would require you to use less Avios under the new rules. Please note change fees may apply.”

I personally plan to liquidate all of my British AIrways miles before April 28th and if I need to make changes… so be it.  I can afford a $75 dollar change fee but I certainly cannot afford an extra 25-50,000 Avios each way. My best advice is to book now before April 28th to lock in the lower cost in Avios with the assurance that you cannot be charged more as per British Airways own terms and conditions (which I would screenshot). If your dates don’t change, you’ve locked in the last great value for Avios, and if they do, its a reasonable expense to make the dates work and avoid the horrendous new pricing in Avios. 

As you hopefully know, even if you are flying British Airways you can collect miles on other airlines.  For earning and crediting miles, I would suggest finding another airline which also serves your destinations. If you are an elite flier on British Airways it may be beneficial to switch your allegiance to another airline which doesn’t cut your tier and mile earning in half (or quarter). If you are an economy flier most discount tickets will now receive only a quarter of the miles actually flown while mid priced economy tickets will only receive half! Shocking!!! Silver tier bonuses will be halved and most premium economy will no longer earn you bonus miles. If you are thinking of ditching one world, I highly value the Sky Team Alliance. At a certain tier, all alliances offer benefits such as priority check in, screening, lounge access and priority baggage handling regardless which airline you are flying in the alliance. There are simply too many variables to tell you who to switch to.

For my American readers there is a small silver lining. The distance based chart for short haul flights within the United States seems to be in tact and will not go up. You can still go any distance from 1,152 miles (each way) and less for 15,000 miles roundtrip and from 650 miles or less (each way) for only 9,000 miles roundtrip.

Book now or forever lose more miles. I for one, will now cease to collect Avios and will use what remaining Avios I have to book all the flights I could possibly need before the April 28th deadline. For UK readers, did you know that you could avoid paying those horribly high taxes on awards by getting to the US first and booking from there using Avios? New York to LA round trip in American Airline’s swanky lie flat business class is only 50,000 Avios. If you bought a ticket to New York you could see the best of both coasts while liquidating your soon to be useless avios. You could also fly to Rio for 100,000 avios and only $62USD per person round trip. Whether its from London or anywhere else, get rid of those Avios and fast. 

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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151 Comments

  1. This press release from BA was particularly frustrating as I am currently in the process of climbing their tier ladder (currently bronze and moving towards silver before my collection year is up). I’ll take your advice and try to liquidate miles before April. Question: if I am going to move away from BA loyalty after I reach the next tier level, which airline program do you recommend switching to for premier level benefits? I’ve heard good things about the American AAdvantage for rewards. I live in London but travel globally for work. Thanks for the guidance!

    1. Alex,
      Thanks for reading. I do believe American is a very good airline and would keep you with benefits when you fly with BA. The level you would ideally want to reach is Platinum with AA. You should research "status challenges" which are essentially where you pay a small fee (during your busiest travel period) to try to qualify for the status in an accelerated amount of time. If you were to request the challenge after June you would complete it by September and be awarded the status which is also One World Sapphire for the rest of the year and then the entire following year which is nice. Its 10,000 EQP (unless its super discounted economy 1 EQP=1 Mile flown. Business gets a boost. so 10,000 EQP in 2-3 months and if you complete that you get the status for the time described. All the best!

    2. Alex,
      Thanks for reading. I do believe American is a very good airline and would keep you with benefits when you fly with BA. The level you would ideally want to reach is Platinum with AA. You should research "status challenges" which are essentially where you pay a small fee (during your busiest travel period) to try to qualify for the status in an accelerated amount of time. If you were to request the challenge after June you would complete it by September and be awarded the status which is also One World Sapphire for the rest of the year and then the entire following year which is nice. Its 10,000 EQP (unless its super discounted economy 1 EQP=1 Mile flown. Business gets a boost. so 10,000 EQP in 2-3 months and if you complete that you get the status for the time described. All the best!

  2. Wow. This is the first I have heard of this. Gutting as I have spent many years building up nearly 500,000 avios so that I can take my kids to Disney when they are old enough and also make a few trips to Toronto to see my godson with them all. Have been put off the last few years by 1. High taxes and 2. Lack of availability of decent flight dates.
    Might need to rethink what I’m going to do with these points….

    1. I think the key is certainly to use at least some of those points before April 28th. If you don’t mind economy I believe those awards will remain roughly the same. If you prefer business It would be much more beneficial to book now with dates you can make work. You have roughly 355 calendar days from the time of April 27th available and I’d be happy to help you search to make the dates work. It’s a true shame and if you are a high volume flier as it sounds you might be, I would look for other airlines in the alliance or others to move your loyalty (unless you are already a BA Gold). Feel free to email me I’d love to help in any way! godsavethepoints@gmail.com

  3. Wow. This is the first I have heard of this. Gutting as I have spent many years building up nearly 500,000 avios so that I can take my kids to Disney when they are old enough and also make a few trips to Toronto to see my godson with them all. Have been put off the last few years by 1. High taxes and 2. Lack of availability of decent flight dates.
    Might need to rethink what I’m going to do with these points….

    1. I think the key is certainly to use at least some of those points before April 28th. If you don’t mind economy I believe those awards will remain roughly the same. If you prefer business It would be much more beneficial to book now with dates you can make work. You have roughly 355 calendar days from the time of April 27th available and I’d be happy to help you search to make the dates work. It’s a true shame and if you are a high volume flier as it sounds you might be, I would look for other airlines in the alliance or others to move your loyalty (unless you are already a BA Gold). Feel free to email me I’d love to help in any way! godsavethepoints@gmail.com

  4. Wow. This is the first I have heard of this. Gutting as I have spent many years building up nearly 500,000 avios so that I can take my kids to Disney when they are old enough and also make a few trips to Toronto to see my godson with them all. Have been put off the last few years by 1. High taxes and 2. Lack of availability of decent flight dates.
    Might need to rethink what I’m going to do with these points….

    1. I think the key is certainly to use at least some of those points before April 28th. If you don’t mind economy I believe those awards will remain roughly the same. If you prefer business It would be much more beneficial to book now with dates you can make work. You have roughly 355 calendar days from the time of April 27th available and I’d be happy to help you search to make the dates work. It’s a true shame and if you are a high volume flier as it sounds you might be, I would look for other airlines in the alliance or others to move your loyalty (unless you are already a BA Gold). Feel free to email me I’d love to help in any way! godsavethepoints@gmail.com

  5. Wow. This is the first I have heard of this. Gutting as I have spent many years building up nearly 500,000 avios so that I can take my kids to Disney when they are old enough and also make a few trips to Toronto to see my godson with them all. Have been put off the last few years by 1. High taxes and 2. Lack of availability of decent flight dates.
    Might need to rethink what I’m going to do with these points….

    1. I think the key is certainly to use at least some of those points before April 28th. If you don’t mind economy I believe those awards will remain roughly the same. If you prefer business It would be much more beneficial to book now with dates you can make work. You have roughly 355 calendar days from the time of April 27th available and I’d be happy to help you search to make the dates work. It’s a true shame and if you are a high volume flier as it sounds you might be, I would look for other airlines in the alliance or others to move your loyalty (unless you are already a BA Gold). Feel free to email me I’d love to help in any way! godsavethepoints@gmail.com

  6. Wow. This is the first I have heard of this. Gutting as I have spent many years building up nearly 500,000 avios so that I can take my kids to Disney when they are old enough and also make a few trips to Toronto to see my godson with them all. Have been put off the last few years by 1. High taxes and 2. Lack of availability of decent flight dates.
    Might need to rethink what I’m going to do with these points….

    1. I think the key is certainly to use at least some of those points before April 28th. If you don’t mind economy I believe those awards will remain roughly the same. If you prefer business It would be much more beneficial to book now with dates you can make work. You have roughly 355 calendar days from the time of April 27th available and I’d be happy to help you search to make the dates work. It’s a true shame and if you are a high volume flier as it sounds you might be, I would look for other airlines in the alliance or others to move your loyalty (unless you are already a BA Gold). Feel free to email me I’d love to help in any way! godsavethepoints@gmail.com

  7. Wow. This is the first I have heard of this. Gutting as I have spent many years building up nearly 500,000 avios so that I can take my kids to Disney when they are old enough and also make a few trips to Toronto to see my godson with them all. Have been put off the last few years by 1. High taxes and 2. Lack of availability of decent flight dates.
    Might need to rethink what I\’m going to do with these points….

    1. I think the key is certainly to use at least some of those points before April 28th. If you don\’t mind economy I believe those awards will remain roughly the same. If you prefer business It would be much more beneficial to book now with dates you can make work. You have roughly 355 calendar days from the time of April 27th available and I\’d be happy to help you search to make the dates work. It\’s a true shame and if you are a high volume flier as it sounds you might be, I would look for other airlines in the alliance or others to move your loyalty (unless you are already a BA Gold). Feel free to email me I\’d love to help in any way! godsavethepoints@gmail.com

  8. Wow. This is the first I have heard of this. Gutting as I have spent many years building up nearly 500,000 avios so that I can take my kids to Disney when they are old enough and also make a few trips to Toronto to see my godson with them all. Have been put off the last few years by 1. High taxes and 2. Lack of availability of decent flight dates.
    Might need to rethink what I’m going to do with these points….

    1. I think the key is certainly to use at least some of those points before April 28th. If you don’t mind economy I believe those awards will remain roughly the same. If you prefer business It would be much more beneficial to book now with dates you can make work. You have roughly 355 calendar days from the time of April 27th available and I’d be happy to help you search to make the dates work. It’s a true shame and if you are a high volume flier as it sounds you might be, I would look for other airlines in the alliance or others to move your loyalty (unless you are already a BA Gold). Feel free to email me I’d love to help in any way! godsavethepoints@gmail.com

  9. Wow. This is the first I have heard of this. Gutting as I have spent many years building up nearly 500,000 avios so that I can take my kids to Disney when they are old enough and also make a few trips to Toronto to see my godson with them all. Have been put off the last few years by 1. High taxes and 2. Lack of availability of decent flight dates.
    Might need to rethink what I’m going to do with these points….

    1. I think the key is certainly to use at least some of those points before April 28th. If you don’t mind economy I believe those awards will remain roughly the same. If you prefer business It would be much more beneficial to book now with dates you can make work. You have roughly 355 calendar days from the time of April 27th available and I’d be happy to help you search to make the dates work. It’s a true shame and if you are a high volume flier as it sounds you might be, I would look for other airlines in the alliance or others to move your loyalty (unless you are already a BA Gold). Feel free to email me I’d love to help in any way! godsavethepoints@gmail.com

  10. Wow. This is the first I have heard of this. Gutting as I have spent many years building up nearly 500,000 avios so that I can take my kids to Disney when they are old enough and also make a few trips to Toronto to see my godson with them all. Have been put off the last few years by 1. High taxes and 2. Lack of availability of decent flight dates.
    Might need to rethink what I’m going to do with these points….

    1. I think the key is certainly to use at least some of those points before April 28th. If you don’t mind economy I believe those awards will remain roughly the same. If you prefer business It would be much more beneficial to book now with dates you can make work. You have roughly 355 calendar days from the time of April 27th available and I’d be happy to help you search to make the dates work. It’s a true shame and if you are a high volume flier as it sounds you might be, I would look for other airlines in the alliance or others to move your loyalty (unless you are already a BA Gold). Feel free to email me I’d love to help in any way! godsavethepoints@gmail.com

  11. Wow. This is the first I have heard of this. Gutting as I have spent many years building up nearly 500,000 avios so that I can take my kids to Disney when they are old enough and also make a few trips to Toronto to see my godson with them all. Have been put off the last few years by 1. High taxes and 2. Lack of availability of decent flight dates.
    Might need to rethink what I’m going to do with these points….

    1. I think the key is certainly to use at least some of those points before April 28th. If you don’t mind economy I believe those awards will remain roughly the same. If you prefer business It would be much more beneficial to book now with dates you can make work. You have roughly 355 calendar days from the time of April 27th available and I’d be happy to help you search to make the dates work. It’s a true shame and if you are a high volume flier as it sounds you might be, I would look for other airlines in the alliance or others to move your loyalty (unless you are already a BA Gold). Feel free to email me I’d love to help in any way! godsavethepoints@gmail.com

  12. Wow. This is the first I have heard of this. Gutting as I have spent many years building up nearly 500,000 avios so that I can take my kids to Disney when they are old enough and also make a few trips to Toronto to see my godson with them all. Have been put off the last few years by 1. High taxes and 2. Lack of availability of decent flight dates.
    Might need to rethink what I’m going to do with these points….

    1. I think the key is certainly to use at least some of those points before April 28th. If you don’t mind economy I believe those awards will remain roughly the same. If you prefer business It would be much more beneficial to book now with dates you can make work. You have roughly 355 calendar days from the time of April 27th available and I’d be happy to help you search to make the dates work. It’s a true shame and if you are a high volume flier as it sounds you might be, I would look for other airlines in the alliance or others to move your loyalty (unless you are already a BA Gold). Feel free to email me I’d love to help in any way! godsavethepoints@gmail.com

  13. Wow. This is the first I have heard of this. Gutting as I have spent many years building up nearly 500,000 avios so that I can take my kids to Disney when they are old enough and also make a few trips to Toronto to see my godson with them all. Have been put off the last few years by 1. High taxes and 2. Lack of availability of decent flight dates.
    Might need to rethink what I’m going to do with these points….

    1. I think the key is certainly to use at least some of those points before April 28th. If you don’t mind economy I believe those awards will remain roughly the same. If you prefer business It would be much more beneficial to book now with dates you can make work. You have roughly 355 calendar days from the time of April 27th available and I’d be happy to help you search to make the dates work. It’s a true shame and if you are a high volume flier as it sounds you might be, I would look for other airlines in the alliance or others to move your loyalty (unless you are already a BA Gold). Feel free to email me I’d love to help in any way! godsavethepoints@gmail.com

  14. Wow. This is the first I have heard of this. Gutting as I have spent many years building up nearly 500,000 avios so that I can take my kids to Disney when they are old enough and also make a few trips to Toronto to see my godson with them all. Have been put off the last few years by 1. High taxes and 2. Lack of availability of decent flight dates.
    Might need to rethink what I’m going to do with these points….

    1. I think the key is certainly to use at least some of those points before April 28th. If you don’t mind economy I believe those awards will remain roughly the same. If you prefer business It would be much more beneficial to book now with dates you can make work. You have roughly 355 calendar days from the time of April 27th available and I’d be happy to help you search to make the dates work. It’s a true shame and if you are a high volume flier as it sounds you might be, I would look for other airlines in the alliance or others to move your loyalty (unless you are already a BA Gold). Feel free to email me I’d love to help in any way! godsavethepoints@gmail.com

  15. Wow. This is the first I have heard of this. Gutting as I have spent many years building up nearly 500,000 avios so that I can take my kids to Disney when they are old enough and also make a few trips to Toronto to see my godson with them all. Have been put off the last few years by 1. High taxes and 2. Lack of availability of decent flight dates.
    Might need to rethink what I’m going to do with these points….

    1. I think the key is certainly to use at least some of those points before April 28th. If you don’t mind economy I believe those awards will remain roughly the same. If you prefer business It would be much more beneficial to book now with dates you can make work. You have roughly 355 calendar days from the time of April 27th available and I’d be happy to help you search to make the dates work. It’s a true shame and if you are a high volume flier as it sounds you might be, I would look for other airlines in the alliance or others to move your loyalty (unless you are already a BA Gold). Feel free to email me I’d love to help in any way! godsavethepoints@gmail.com

  16. Wow. This is the first I have heard of this. Gutting as I have spent many years building up nearly 500,000 avios so that I can take my kids to Disney when they are old enough and also make a few trips to Toronto to see my godson with them all. Have been put off the last few years by 1. High taxes and 2. Lack of availability of decent flight dates.
    Might need to rethink what I’m going to do with these points….

    1. I think the key is certainly to use at least some of those points before April 28th. If you don’t mind economy I believe those awards will remain roughly the same. If you prefer business It would be much more beneficial to book now with dates you can make work. You have roughly 355 calendar days from the time of April 27th available and I’d be happy to help you search to make the dates work. It’s a true shame and if you are a high volume flier as it sounds you might be, I would look for other airlines in the alliance or others to move your loyalty (unless you are already a BA Gold). Feel free to email me I’d love to help in any way! godsavethepoints@gmail.com

  17. Wow. This is the first I have heard of this. Gutting as I have spent many years building up nearly 500,000 avios so that I can take my kids to Disney when they are old enough and also make a few trips to Toronto to see my godson with them all. Have been put off the last few years by 1. High taxes and 2. Lack of availability of decent flight dates.
    Might need to rethink what I’m going to do with these points….

    1. I think the key is certainly to use at least some of those points before April 28th. If you don’t mind economy I believe those awards will remain roughly the same. If you prefer business It would be much more beneficial to book now with dates you can make work. You have roughly 355 calendar days from the time of April 27th available and I’d be happy to help you search to make the dates work. It’s a true shame and if you are a high volume flier as it sounds you might be, I would look for other airlines in the alliance or others to move your loyalty (unless you are already a BA Gold). Feel free to email me I’d love to help in any way! godsavethepoints@gmail.com

  18. Dang… I am applying for an Avios Amex on your recommendation.. now looks like it’ll be useless! Any other recs for miles credit cards?

    1. Shit! Didn’t occur to me you’d be applying in Europe. The value will be the same on all short haul normal cabin flights. On long haul flights in premium classes the miles needed will go up but not until April 28th. If you can collect whatever miles and book before then you are golden! Sorry Alec! If it’s any consolation I just got one too and transferred a bunch of Amex points over to them. They will all be gone soon enough…. Cheers.

    2. Shit! Didn\’t occur to me you\’d be applying in Europe. The value will be the same on all short haul normal cabin flights. On long haul flights in premium classes the miles needed will go up but not until April 28th. If you can collect whatever miles and book before then you are golden! Sorry Alec! If it\’s any consolation I just got one too and transferred a bunch of Amex points over to them. They will all be gone soon enough…. Cheers.

  19. Unfortunately, many airlines are doing this, not just BA. They "printed" too many miles, so now they are devaluing their "currencies."

    1. Absolutely true David. Unfortunately British Airways cutting into the tier earning and making elite status even less attainable for valuable customers is a step further than anyone has gone to date. Take my miles but not my elite status…

    2. Absolutely true David. Unfortunately British Airways cutting into the tier earning and making elite status even less attainable for valuable customers is a step further than anyone has gone to date. Take my miles but not my elite status…

  20. I am planning to fly into YVR-LHR in September 2016, so if I book any available flights (usually 2 one way flights as it is easier to find than a round trip) before April 28 to use the old system, then when would the best time to change the flight? In September 2015 (to get the seats 1 year out when when I actually plan to fly) or in March/April 2016?

    I hope my question makes sense and TIA for any help.

  21. Here is what drives me nuts about BA. Every time I try to book something using my avios they tell me there are no seats. I’d like to use them on Anerican but you have to book over a year in advance. Seems to my that my avios have always been worthless.

    1. T Bert,

      I find that American is actually loading better than usual right now so if you have miles perhaps take a look. I don’t think your exact ideal dates will ever line up with BA but if you have some flexibility and just keep clicking through for a week or so of dates you will find it. Happy to help look, where you trying to go?
      godsavethepoints@gmail.com

    2. T Bert,

      I find that American is actually loading better than usual right now so if you have miles perhaps take a look. I don\’t think your exact ideal dates will ever line up with BA but if you have some flexibility and just keep clicking through for a week or so of dates you will find it. Happy to help look, where you trying to go?
      godsavethepoints@gmail.com

  22. British airways miles used to be fantastic because they were easy to get and use on British airways. The ailing airline realised this and have slowly taken away the avois accessibility (unless you fly globally for business most of the year) benefits one by one.

    This brings it in line with other airline points systems.

    The problem is British airways is shit compared to a whole host of other airlines. The staff are old, overpaid and unfriendly and a large number of the planes are very tired.

    I had a fantastic few hundred thousand worth of points journeys. Have about 50000 left but I have refused to fly with them since the changed the baggage allowances overnight last summer.

    Onwards and upwards – literally – without British Airways

    1. Totally agree Phineas, I think they took it even a step further than the likes of Delta who made mileage earning revenue based but rewarded high paying customers rather than also punishing lower paying customers. BA managed to insult the vast majority of fliers with this one and take the joy away from using avios. If you ever want to sell or transfer any of that 500,000 I’ll gladly take some off your hands though! godsavethepoints@gmail.com

    2. Totally agree Phineas, I think they took it even a step further than the likes of Delta who made mileage earning revenue based but rewarded high paying customers rather than also punishing lower paying customers. BA managed to insult the vast majority of fliers with this one and take the joy away from using avios. If you ever want to sell or transfer any of that 500,000 I\’ll gladly take some off your hands though! godsavethepoints@gmail.com

  23. I’ve been reasonably loyal to BA for a number of years but due to diminished routes out of MAN my allegiance has moved to other carriers. Boy have I seen a difference, gone are the tired looking planes and attendants with BA and hello to fresh new cabins and crew on Emirates etc. Dare I say even my most common flight MAN to PHI is getting better and I don’t seem to get yelled at as much by the US Airways attendants as much. The middle eastern carriers are a delight both in business and coach and have a truly fantastic product. They have the old mainstay operators running scared and righly so. The old guard are reminiscent of a filing old monarchy, blaming their new modern neighbours of treason.

    I took 4 flights with BA this week and about 90 flight last year on various carriers and BA is the only carrier that I remain largely status-less with I’m silver with nearly all the others. Whilst on row 1 last week I was probably the only lowly Putz on blue, all the others were Silver or gold and I heard nothing but ill feeling towards BA and threats to go elsewhere, though I don’t see how they can living in the UK and BA know that. Be careful BA larger than you have failed and people remember how they were treated and not one of my fellow BA patrons have a good word to say about you. Shafting us on Avios may be the turning of the tide.

    1. Chris, Truly great comment. I too feel that there is value elsewhere and that they really are playing with more chips than they realise. Have you written a letter? I think it could help. I guess it doesn’t matter now that you’re experiencing ME luxe’ though! Cheers.

    2. Chris, Truly great comment. I too feel that there is value elsewhere and that they really are playing with more chips than they realise. Have you written a letter? I think it could help. I guess it doesn\’t matter now that you\’re experiencing ME luxe\’ though! Cheers.

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