There’s always debate about the best generations and decades of history. Some people prefer the neon blazers of the eighties, some the glamorous golden age of the twenties and others are possibly still somewhere in a field dancing to the grooves of Woodstock. There’s one subject which requires no debate. British Airways avios are worth less than they were even earlier this year. Here are some insights into past and present.
In April of last year before the fateful day of April 28th, a day all British Airways fliers will remember forever, I cashed out all 280,000 of my avios. I redeemed my 280,000 avios for two business class tickets on Cathay Pacific for round trip direct flights between New York and Hong Kong. If you’re going to take one of the ten longest flights in the world, do it in business class and do it for free. To give the airline some credit, they have added a very handy new avios calculator showing exactly how many miles you need for your flights by inputting your departure point, destination and cabin class. Sadly the results of their shiny new tool are less exciting. The flights I paid 140,000 miles a piece for now cost 210,000 miles a piece. You heard right, instead of 280,000 miles I would need 420,000 miles to book two tickets on a partner airline for this distance. Partners were an amazing way to maximize your miles in first and business class cabins while flying on five star airlines. Since partner travel automatically books into the peak avios prices, it’s now the worst way to use miles for long flights. British Airways has essentially left you with marginal choices: use your miles in any cabin for flights up to 2,000 miles long (best current use), use your miles in coach for longer flights or finally face paying far more in miles for any business class flights you would want to take. Oh the times have changed.
The good news, and I’m not being facetious, is that your miles are just more specialized now. For short flights you need less British Airways avios than just about any other option using miles. It’s probably the most valuable short flight currency on earth. I have been constantly amused and amazed by cheap fares originating in various (non London) points of Europe. In recent months there has been €271 Barcelona to Hong Kong, £1000 round trip Virgin Upper Class from Dublin to New York, €240 Oslo to San Francisco, £700 flat bed business class from Sweden and Denmark to Thailand, Berlin to Hong Kong for £800. The list is endless. The point you are likely wondering about is that you don’t need many miles to put yourself in one of the places to take advantage of amazing deals. The deals change, the cities change, but using just a few avios, which are really no longer worth saving for long haul can put you in position without putting you out of cash.
If globetrotting connections isn’t your thing and luxury is, upgrades are better and worse. Upgrades to champagne class now require up to three times the miles but upgrades are possible from far more fares. Gone are the days where you needed an impossibly expensive ticket to upgrade to the next class, here are the days when you need an impossible amount of miles to upgrade. Upgrades can really change a trip for the better and if you want a little tip, the longer the flight, the more worth it.
Don’t complain about the changes, I’ve done enough of that for everyone. Focus on the opportunities at present to travel better on all airlines. You can find cheap flights, cheap business class flights and upgrade tips everywhere. Knowing how to use your avios will help get the job done right.
As Always, Get in Touch: GodSaveThePoints@gmail.com