You may have got an email today from BA trying to tell you the changes to Avios earning rates are a good thing. For nearly all leisure travellers in business class it is not.
A while ago Iberia announced they were changing to revenue-based earning from November 2022, and BA said that they planned to follow at a future date. Sadly, that day is here. Personally, I think it is just the start of future Avios and Tier point earnings based on revenue plus the ever-present threat of dynamic Avios redemption. This has been threatened for a long time but since BA’s IT was so poor it couldn’t even display your booked flights, it didn’t seem much of a threat, However, the reason why they are spending a huge chunk of money on 400 new IT staff, could be related, so for me all bets are off the table. Officially they are redesigning the website, but I’m sure it doesn’t need 400 people for that.
As a summary, if you buy expensive tickets and have high status you will probably earn slightly more. If you are an average person who buys sale tickets and has no or low status, it’s bad news. The only upside is that eventually it will mean people generally have less Avios so availability should improve.
The irony is that for those who don’t actually fly on BA on cash fares and earn Avios from credit cards, particularly in the US where you can get a 100,000 Avios bonus, they will be earning more than those who loyally fly on the airline!
Ian Romanis, British Airways’ Director of Retail and Customer Relationship Management, said: “We continue to listen to our customers’ feedback and ideas to evolve our Executive Club. This is a simpler and more transparent system offering more opportunities to collect Avios than ever before and rewarding loyalty based on customers’ cash spend. It’s a tried and tested model already used by a number of global airlines, including our sister airline Iberia.”
In this post:
British Airways has announced that the way customers collect Avios will be updated from 18 October 2023, including the ability to collect Avios on ancillary purchases for the first time.
You will be able collect Avios when purchasing additional items such as:
- pre-paid seat selection
- excess baggage,
either in advance or at the airport. This will also apply to reward flights.
The biggest change is that the amount of Avios collected per flight will be based on the amount paid rather than the distance travelled. Which BA says is “a more consistent and clearer approach.” The fact that it will mean they dish out less Avios overall, I’m sure is just an added perk….
The rates of earning are based on the base fare and any carrier-imposed charges. So taxes such as APD and other charges such as Heathrow’s passenger charge are not included in earnings even though you have to pay them. For most people, you also wouldn’t know what these are, so I’d argue it makes it less easy to work out how many Avios you are earning before you book.
Members booking flights from 18 October 2023 will collect the following Avios depending on their Tier status:
- Blue members will receive 6 Avios per qualifying £1 spent
- Bronze members will receive 7 Avios per qualifying £1 spent
- Silver members will receive 8 Avios per qualifying £1 spent
- Gold members will receive 9 Avios per qualifying £1 spent
This new model will also apply to flights marketed by Iberia.
- Blue members will receive 5 Avios per qualifying Euro (€) spent
- Bronze members will receive 6 Avios per qualifying Euro (€) spent
- Silver members will receive 7 Avios per qualifying Euro (€) spent
- Gold members will receive 8 Avios per qualifying Euro (€) spent
As you can see the tier bonus you used to get on Avios has been cut substantially. It used to be:
- Bronze 25%
- Silver 50%
- Gold 100%
The key point here is 18 October. So if you plan to book any “cheaper” flights, make sure you do it before 18 October to get the full Avios. You will still be able to collect Avios for any qualifying add-ons purchased from 18 October 2023 based on total eligible spend, regardless of when you made your flight booking. So if the flight is a way off, don’t rush to book anything extra like seats until 18 October so you get the Avios.
Which flights does this apply to (plus the loopholes)?
Any British Airways and Iberia marketed flights ie it has a BA or IB flight number. So all other airlines will continue to earn at the same rate. So in some cases, it could work out better flying with a different airline.
There is one big loophole – BA Holidays. The blurb says
“some tickets where the fare paid isn’t disclosed or isn’t available, including flights booked as part of a British Airways Holidays package, will continue collecting Avios based on a percentage of how many miles you fly and the cabin you fly in (no minimum Avios apply).”
If you are not trying to get the Double Tier Points bonus, then booking flights as a holiday with one or more night’s hotel or car hire is the way forward (you need 5 nights for the Double Tier Points). There’s no minimum number of nights for this so you can book just one night such as an airport hotel, and get the full Avios. However, it’s not all good news as you still will get the new reduced tier bonuses on your flights.
“Executive Club Bronze, Silver and Gold members will collect 15%, 30% or 50% extra Avios on top of the base flight award.”
How does it work for part-pay with Avios or vouchers?
If you use Avios or a voucher to part-pay the price of a cash ticket will continue to collect Avios based on the full, total eligible spend for the booking, before the discount is applied.
What about ex-EU flights that aren’t priced in pounds?
For tickets purchased in another currency, the total eligible spend will be converted to GBP using the IATA 5-day exchange rate applicable on the date the ticket was issued or the add-on was purchased. Your Avios will be calculated using this converted amount.
For more information visit www.ba.com/executiveclub