I’d hate to have jumped the gun with angry comments and articles…

Last week, British Airways and IAG Loyalty unveiled some of the biggest changes to pricing using Avios on British Airways flights in years. The main gist is that surcharges in cash went down massively, and the price of Avios went up a bit.

People now pay less than half of what they used to in cash surcharges. For most people, it’s a lot easier to earn a few more points than change their income level. For anyone with a British Airways credit card, the card is also now more valuable than ever before.

Anyway, I found the changes really positive for my situation and for most people in the US & UK, but that still left the rest of the world. Initially, they weren’t nearly as happy.

There Was One Big Worry…

Readers with British Airways accounts in other geographies were raking me over the coals last week about the new “Reward Flight Saver — aka RFS” changes. The changes were good for the US and UK, but pricing changes appeared less attractive elsewhere.

Rather than journey into angry tirades and pitchforks, assuming all the changes were done and that these places had been excluded from the newly improved pricing, I said “let’s wait and see” — because frankly, it seemed like there might be more to come.

It wouldn’t make sense to take away value from other important markets. Waiting may be the hardest part, but sometimes waiting prevents entirely unnecessary panic and inaccuracy.

“RFS” Pricing Extends Beyond US & UK

The heads up team at point.me flagged that European accounts seemed like they might have suddenly gained access to “Reward Flight Saver” pricing today, which is the new and improved pricing structure which massively reduces surcharges.

I decided that rather than pontificate about what these changes might represent, I’d just ask someone at British Airways if indeed the theory was right. Would “RFS” really be available in Europe now, and potentially elsewhere?

They came back quickly and told me that “Reward Flight Saver” pricing had now indeed made it to Euro currency countries. They also shared that they are “are reviewing and working through other markets” too.

People with accounts across Europe can now immediately benefit from the significantly reduced surcharge levels and pricing changes. It’s live.

Just like people in the US & UK, if they want the old — I’d argue far worse pricing — they can also still select it at the time of booking.

This is great, since it adds choice and personalization to rewards. If you want to spend more Avios and less cash, you can do that now. Most tend to people prefer that. If you have more money than sense, you can spend more of your greenbacks, Euros or Great British Pounds instead.

From the sound of the comment, it sounds like more regions may be coming. Let’s wait and see. Bottom line: this fundamentally changes many of the perceptions around the only perceived negative pain points with the changes. People in the US & UK came out well, but people in Europe felt short changed. That’s confirmed not to be the case now.

With this knowledge that “RFS” is now in the wild for Euro countries and could be elsewhere, there’s a lot to like here. In many ways, European currency countries come out aces here, with new access to significantly lower surcharges and points earning opportunities across the continent.

Easy UK Avios Offer Too

While we’re talking Avios, there’s a pretty great new offer to earn Avios for a thing many people are likely already planning to buy this holiday season, which I found out about last night. Yes, its wine.

The Wine Flyer is British Airways rather creative “ground-up” new wine business, and they’ve layered in extra Avios on top of the already attractive Avios earning rates on wine, wine subscriptions, mixed cases and more. Here’s how the offer stacks…

Amex Cardholder? Want to boost your Avios balance? Need to stock up before Christmas?

If you have a BA Amex Classic Card, you can earn 6,475 Avios when buying the 12 case on subscription or 4,000 Avios if just buying it as a one off! Click here to buy!

If you have a BA Amex Premium Plus Card, you can earn 7,475 Avios when buying the 12 case on subscription or 5,000 Avios if just buying it as a one off! Click here to buy!

Buy both the 6 and 12 case at the same time and earn even more Avios. Offer expires 31st December whilst stocks last.The Wine Flyer

More Positivity Around The Changes?

These changes are looking increasingly positive as the dust settles. More regions, if not all, seem to be included.

During a time when people are feeling a squeeze but want to get away more than ever, people can now fly two people in aspirational business class seats on a long haul trip for just £700 round trip departing from London. Similar economics play in more areas now, with todays development.

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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17 Comments

  1. “Just like people in the US & UK, if they want the old — I’d argue far worse pricing”

    U.S. customers should consider RFS ex-U.S. and old pricing ex-Europe. since while fuel surcharges are high both directions when booking a roundtrip, they’re lower on the European one-way departure.

    To the extent that it remains a choice of course it is good news. But it isn’t a no brainer to outright choose RFS.

  2. Oh dear, “The main gist is that surcharges in cash went down massively, and the price of Avios went up a bit.” how many AVIOS compensation did you get for this coverage?

    The main gist is BA have been setting this up for the past few years increasing FEES steadily over past few years to get us to the point where “any” change seemed good. They also introduced an option to buy discounted AVIOS via subscription. These two things didn’t happen by coincidence, they were to set up gullible customers (and some bloggers it would seem) into thinking they have done some great positive changes, when in fact they have done the opposite.

    Granted there is some UK/US routes where you can mimic the old November pricing.. but with the exception of AVIOS rich people (eg those that now have to subscribe to the BAs new AVIOS subscriptions or have a crazy spend, or churn cards).

    Please do some balanced reporting vs simply how this affects you and your massive pot of AVIOS, at least one other blogs site is bringing some balance.

    1. No they were not you have been able to buy Avios for years what difference is offering a subscription to buying them outright? These changes have offered more options to use less cash or if not you can pay the old pricing. Nothing has changed other than allow you to reduce surcharges if you want to

      1. Youve never been able to buy them so cheaply, subs were announced recently and are much cheaper than the normal buy avios option. And of course they are currently being “discounted” so they will go up in price probably in about 12 months time.

    2. Please name an industry, other than illicit drugs, where prices have remained stable and unchanged in the last 10 years.

      Every loyalty program raised rates in the last 10 years. Emirates, American, Singapore, you name it.

      BA customers never had issues with points rates, but the program was becoming uncompetitive because of cash components.

      Now, that’s fixed. And if people want to spend cash, they still can. I just don’t get it. Stop drinking the inside baseball Kool-Aide.

      1. I don’t disagree around inflation/ price increases that’s not the point here.
        BAs has increased fees over the past 2-3 simply to sell this December change as something good.
        E.G. My FEES on BA Dubai redemptions in 2021 cost me £550, then later in 21 it was £700, and in 22 it was hiked to over £800. Now BA have made you happy because you can lower your FEES to 2021 prices, but you need to pay an insane amount of AVIOS.
        It really is brilliant marketing from BA, and they have certainly fooled quite a few people into thinking this is a good thing.

        And as BA customer I DO have an issue with the using AVIOS/FEES with BA bookings, hence 90% of my Avios goes to Qatar (and now Iberia too).

        (had to google inside baseball BTW)

        Id prefer you go a bit more “inside baseball” type digging vs parroting BA press sheets, there is still some real value in AVIOS and BA, these are the gems that make your blog worth reading.

  3. Feels like has been hijacked by BA PR spin.
    Earning is being devalued, using them costs more, seats are less available and Amex card fees rocketed.
    What exactly is positive about all that?

    1. How has “using them cost more”. Most people in the US & UK now find significantly lower surcharges in exchange for higher Avios costs that are on trend. If people want to pay old prices, they still can. What’s so negative about that. It’s easier for people to earn points than change their job’s salary. This helps people who engage with Avios earn more value. It’s that simple.

      Can you eloquently, and using basis in fact illustrate how people in the US & UK, or better yet — how you — are worse off from this?

  4. ‘People who engage with avios’
    Sounds like a line straight from the BA spin machine.
    I appreciate you have a business/blog to keep alive, but speaking as someone good with numbers, the. unless you have an extremely distorted view of what an avios is worth or sone non linear idea of what it’s worth, then it’s a stonking devaluation by stealth and spin. By raising avios needed it also cuts off redemptions for many who were close to it.
    A little more objective analysis, rather that simply repeating the BA narrative, would make this site more valuable.

    1. Josh — I asked you to provide data points of devaluation. You haven’t. Last week, I would’ve had to pay £858 per person to fly to New York in business class, on top of paying a bunch of Avios. Now, £700 will get two of us there, and companion voucher means we pay 160,000 Avios round trip for two. That’s value. Paying £1700 plus over 100,000 Avios was not. For my travel, every route is better. For my family in the US, their surcharges were halved.

      You’ve spent a lot of time attacking my character without merit and clearly have no idea about the relationships between blogs and airlines (or rather, lack thereof). Come back at me with quantifiable examples of how Y-O-U are worse off, or find another bonfire to piss in.

      1. I’d suggest it’s time to do that scientific analysis, not cite singular unrepresentative examples and ditch the emotional response (sic) for the scientific

          1. Claiming valid criticism and questioning is ‘attacking your character’ merely serves to show lack of factual analysis. Getting emotional and calling people’ ‘big dog’, etc suggests the same.
            It’s up to you, since you authored it to provide evidence, not your readers.
            Head for points seem to have a clearer picture. I suggest you read that.

  5. You know that quite a lot of us do not live in EU countries, right? Like half of Europe, All of Africa, Asia, South America, the Caribbean. Any indications that this will be done fairly?

  6. Positive news I can now leave from Glasgow without paying high fees and charges but it is costing 50k extra Avios compared to the trip I took from Dublin in 2022 for the same level of £ – enjoyed my day out in Dublin and being able to use my 241!

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