British Airways Devalues Award Redemptions on Japan Airlines and Cathay Pacific British Airways Devalues Award Redemptions on Japan Airlines and Cathay Pacific

British Airways Devalues Award Redemptions on Japan Airlines and Cathay Pacific

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For the second time this year, British Airways devalued its Avios program. Earlier this week, British Airways made an unannounced change to the number of Avios needed for select partner award redemptions. Here's what you need to know about the new British Airways partner award chart after this devaluation.

Japan Airlines aircraft takes off
Select award flights operated by Japan Airlines will now require additional Avios

British Airways' March 2021 Partner Award Changes

In March 2021, British Airways increased the number of miles required for short to medium-haul flights. This round of devaluations only affected flights operated by British Airways; partner awards were not impacted by this change. All BA flights of up to 2,000 miles in distance were increased by 750 Avios. This increased these award redemptions by around $17 to $25 worth of Avios by our estimates.

Here's what British Airways' short-haul award chart looks like after the March devaluation:

Flight distance (miles)Economy (Off-Peak)Economy (Peak)Business (Off-Peak)Business (Peak)
1-6504,750 (+750)5,250 (+750)8,500 (+750)9,750 (+750)
651-1,1517,250 (+750)8,250 (+750)13,500 (+750)15,750 (+750)
1,152-2,0009,250 (+750)10,750 (+750)17,750 (+750)20,750 (+750)

The devaluations to the Avios program made in March were also unannounced.

How Many Additional Avios You'll Need for Partner Award Flights

Now, less than 5 months later, British Airways has devalued select partner award redemptions. The most recent round of devaluations is not as uniform as those made in March. While zones 1 through 3 are impacted by these changes, the increased number of Avios required varies from airline to airline.

Here's how partner awards operated by Cathay Pacific have changed as a result of these changes:

Post-Devaluation Avios Award Chart (Cathay Pacific)

Flight distance (miles)EconomyBusiness
1-6507,500 (increase of 1,500)16,000 (increase of 4,500)
651-1,15110,000 (increase of 1,000)25,000 (increase of 9,500)
1,152-2,00011,000 (no change)25,000 (increase of 3,000)

And here's how these changes impact award flights operated by Japan Airlines (JAL):

Post-Devaluation Avios Award Chart (Japan Airlines)

Flight distance (miles)EconomyBusiness
1-6507,500 (increase of 1,500)12,500 (no change)
651-1,15110,000 (increase of 1,000)24,000 (increase of 8,500)
1,152-2,00011,000 (no change)24,000 (increase of 2,000)

As these changes are unannounced, it is not clear why British Airways saw the need to increase the number of Avios needed for these partner award flights. As noted by One Mile At A Time, the main reason airlines increase the number of points or miles for partner award travel is related to the cost associated with reimbursing partner airlines for these award flights. That is, the cost associated with these award flights might have increased for British Airways.

Ultimately, these changes mean travelers will need up to 52% more Avios for these award redemptions. This significant change equates to an increase of up to $255 in value on Cathay Pacific business class flights between 651 and 1,151 miles in distance.

British Airways has increased the number of Avios travelers will need for select award flights operated by Cathay Pacific

The Bottom Line

British Airways Avios program remains a solid program for both short-haul and long-haul award travel. However, British Airways has slowly chipped away at the program's value.

To add insult to injury, the two most recent devaluations were done with no advance notice. Moreso, these changes come at a time where many travelers are still unable to travel as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

While the increase in Avios needed for award travel isn't great for travelers, British Airways' failure to notify members about these changes is arguably worse.

What do you make of these changes? Do you have any plans to redeem Avios in the coming months?

H/T: Loyalty Lobby

5 / 5 - (5 votes)
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  • Well, the continuous devaluation is common to many airlines. The difference is that usually the other airlines make an announcement before changes occur.
    I don’t understand why British Airways adopt this method on making changes on its programme without any announcement.
    At least as customer I would like more transparence.

  • This is not a welcome development.

  • This is a strange approach, are BA going to end up with loads of different award charts? QF seem to have survived the cull, for now.

  • As a US-based traveler who is almost solely focused on long-haul, premium-class redemptions, BA Avios is a useless program for me, given their high surcharges. So these changes won’t bother me a bit, but they’re unfortunate for those who they will affect.

  • I am an expat in the middle east. at least good to know BA’s RJ chart has not been affected. lol

  • Really disappointed in this move, and considering just using AAdvantage instead of Avios.

  • I am not surprised. British Airways often does things without telling people beforehand. Now that Aeroplan is part of Chase I might look more at using them for Cathay Pacific. BA would still be an option if I had miles still in an account with them.

  • While I never welcome award program devaluations, this past over a year of border restrictions has been particularly hard on single-hub airlines with primarily transnational networks (and no government bailout), such as British Airways, so I have to feel at least some sympathy for their efforts to eke out a little more revenue wherever they can, including on award redemptions.

    While its nice to receive advance notice of program changes, with most of my points being flexible points currencies, I always shop the award availabilities across several airline programs to choose whichever might be the best deal. Alerts like this one help set my bearings as to where to focus – and where not – when booking award travel.

    • Thanks for some perspective on the somewhat unique struggles at British Airways. Maybe that forces their hand on devaluation, but it really doesn’t excuse their lack of notice here. And, if they’re struggling, there’s a solid argument not to alientate your best customers. I’d suggest the choice to not provide notice is the pursuit of short-term profit that may cost them more in the long run.

  • Really sad news. I have a feeling that more will come…

  • You couldn’t pay me to fly British Airways – but for some strange reason, they expect me to pay to fly them.

  • Disappointing tactics by BA. How much does it cost to communicate these things nicely?

  • This is the thing I worry about the most once we are truly out of Covid. Devaluations. It starts small, but I can’t imagine it doesn’t happen across the board.

  • Time to say goodbye to British Airways.

  • The devaluation train rolls on like an unstoppable beast. BA was always a bit tough anyway, with fuel surcharges, etc.

  • This is terrible news. The previous devaluation already killed some nice redemptions. Now, there’s no point in holding Avios versus Asia Miles or JAL

  • sad to hear but probably inevitable. It’s earn and burn.