I’ve been reading lots of commentary about the changes British Airways has made to its award chart with its new Avios distance/zone-based points redemption program. Pretty universally, the feeling is that British Airways has screwed over travelers and that we should all be up in arms about the screwing we just received.
If you haven’t seen, basically redemptions for flights to Asia and South America have gone from being very reasonable to very expensive. However, redemptions (especially nonstop redemptions) within the US; from the US to the Caribbean and Central America; within South America; from the US to Europe; and within Europe, have all become more reasonable. In some cases, far more reasonable.
How these changes affect you is based entirely on your travel patterns. I suspect for people (like me) with families, these changes are actually great. We can take cold weather trips to the Caribbean and Central America for fewer points than required before. Plus, short-to-mid haul flights within the US have also become more reasonable. As a commenter pointed out yesterday, flights from New York to Montreal are now 9,000 miles round trip plus about $55 in taxes. Many flights within South America are now 9,000 miles round trip plus $10 or so. Those are great deals, and there are plenty more.
For most families (and many non-families) that’s pretty much how we use miles. Sure, I take trips outside of those places — but I’ve got miles in plenty of other mileage plans to ensure I can fly free pretty much wherever I want. But for most people, these changes are beneficial.
If you were hoping to hop around South America for 40,000 miles like you used to, that’s gone. So are the well-priced business class trips to Southeast Asia on Cathay. Those are gone too. But most people reading this should take everything else they’re reading about Avios with a grain of salt — the changes will actually benefit most of us. How often does that happen?