BA devaluation: not so bad after all


The British Airways award chart devaluation has gone live today, and the sky hasn’t yet fallen. I can verify that as I was up above the clouds all morning on my way to Europe — didn’t see a single piece of sky fall. Truthfully, if the changes were this minor, I don’t understand why they didn’t just announce a new chart rather than making people wait. But let’s not look a gift horse in the mouth and just be thankful: this was a minor deval.

The view from *my* wing this morning confirms that no sky panels have fallen.

Good news: No deval for short-haul US / North America

The best piece of news this morning is that short-haul flights that begin/end in the US remained untouched this time. You may remember that a couple of years ago, British Airways stopped honoring Tier 1 of its award chart (4500 Avios for flights 650 miles or fewer) for flights to/from/within the United States, lumping those short flights with Tier 2 pricing of 7500 economy / 15K business / 30K first. The good news is that even though Tier 1 and Tier 2 were both devalued today, that “special” Tier 1 exception for short flights to/from/within the US remains at the same 7.5K / 15K / 30K pricing band.

Most increases around 10% or less

While nobody likes to see their points become worthless, the truth is that in most cases here they are just worth a little less. When I see a 140K award go up to ~144K  or a 30K award go up to 31K, I just can’t get all up in arms about it. In the words of a wiser human, “Accept certain unalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old.

Given the fact that BA doesn’t impose fuel surcharges on most partner awards, doesn’t charge a close-in booking fee, and allows really easy changes/cancellations, they remain an attractive option despite the devaluation.

Those who would be booking round trip and/or who have to make connections may want to check out  Iberia instead — just be aware that most partner bookings with Iberia are completely nonrefundable (which stands in stark contrast to British Airways). See: From 11K RT: A new sweet spot for North American flight redemptions.

New award chart

Here is the new BA single partner award chart (thanks to Dan’s Deals for this information):

For a full look at the side-by-side old and new charts, see Dan’s Deals as they have created an easy visual.

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