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.