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New British Airways Chart Is Out: Bad for Longhaul, Good for Shorthaul

I won’t bother getting into the details of the new British Airways Avios redemption chart (Gary and Ben do a more-than-admirable job here and here), but I figured I’d pass along the highlights because the more casual traveler (especially those who just signed up for the big 100k credit card bonus with BA last year and doesn’t care about long-haul) actually may benefit from the changes.

In short, their redemption chart is now (primarily, at least) distance based (they made this way, way, way, way more complicated than they needed to by not publishing a chart. You have to use this instead.) Long-haul travel has gotten much, much more expensive (nearly doubling the miles required in some cases.) This is especially egregious on flights to Asia and South America.

But for short-haul flights, it’s a steal. JFK – Toronto is 9,000 miles round trip. JFK – Chicago is 15,000 miles. JFK – Ft Lauderdale is 15,000 miles. Northeast to Costa Rica is 25,000 miles. New York to San Juan is 20,000 miles round trip. These are great deals.

On the flip side, connecting flights require you to price out two awards In other words, to go from JFK to the island of Grenada, you’ll need a 20,000 mile award to San Juan, then a 9,000 mile award from San Juan to Grenada. Still a deal at 29,000 miles. But for connections on domestic flights, you can end up paying 30,000 miles instead of 25,000 in some cases.

Plus, BA does not add fuel surcharges on American Airlines flights in the US, Caribbean and South America.

Again, you can read more detail in the other articles I linked to, but to sum up:

- Long haul, especially to Asia and South America, gets dinged.
- Short haul gets cheaper, especially intra-Europe where many flights are now 9,000 miles round trip with fuel surcharges waived if you’ve gotten at least 1 point in Avios
- Travel from North America to the Caribbean and Central America on American Airlines is now cheaper.

For me, this is a great thing because that’s how I (mostly) use those miles. For people constructing multi-stop trips to traipse through Southeast Asia, you’ll want to go elsewhere.

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  1. I’m somewhat intrigued by AA’s limited JFK-Canada service. Like I see it’s only 9000 miles roundtrip to Montreal. I’d like to go up there for a long weekend, but the taxes on a paid ticket are a huge disincentive. Any idea what BA will charge on an award ticket?

  2. I’ll answer my own question. The total tax/fee for JFK-YUL is about $57. The cheapest published fare for the dates I checked is over $500. So this is obviously a great deal.

    I also noticed that intra South America flying — which can be ungodly expensive, especially for Gringos — is a bargain under the new award chart. Like many a foreigner has been confronted with a $400+ airfare from LAN to fly from Lima to Cuzco. I know I had to do an elaborate transfer of points into Lanpass to avoid paying. Now 9000 Avios miles and 12 bucks will get you a roundtrip.

    Yes, I’m not getting to Easter Island again with my points, but there’s certainly some value to Avios points. I’d certainly value them above Delta Skypesos, for example.

  3. Has BA always allowed one-way award travel? I’m asking for LAX-MUC availability in first class and it’s giving me a one-way option for 84000 points plus $348.09 in taxes & fees. If this is correct, this is a GREAT way to use the 100,000 credit card bonus miles. I’ll use miles on my “preferred” airline (United) for the flight home.

    • Yes – they’ve allowed one-ways (yet another reason why people liked the BA program). That’s actually just a bit higher than what you would’ve been charged under the old chart (75k miles). Either way, if you’re sitting on those 105,000 BA miles, why not enjoy the long trip over to Munich in First?

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