This devaluation was not severe, however, the best uses of Avios have now changed.

A month ago, I received the following email from the program:

Changes to British Airways Avios May 2019

For historical context, British Airways had region-based award chart until 2011 and removed 4,500-Avios redemptions on US domestic flights in 2016.

Most Australia-based travellers get their hands on Avios by purchasing them during buy points promotions, crediting their Qantas flights to BA and/or transferring points from Marriott Bonvoy.

What’s changed?

  • Partner redemption rates increased on 30 May 2019
  • The largest increases were at the shortest-distance bands, e.g. for up to 650 miles, there was a jump from 4,500 to 6,000 Avios (33%) in Economy Class and 9,000 to 12,500 (39%) in Business
  • Then, the increases taper down as the distance increases, i.e. 10-20% for the next band, 10% for the following one, and 3% increases at the bottom half (longer distances) of the award chart
  • Given that British Airways doesn’t publish its award charts, US blog One Mile At A Time has put together one that is easy to understand
  • All oneworld partners are affected, including Qantas, Cathay Pacific, American Airlines and Japan Airlines (amongst others)
  • Also included are Alaska Airlines and Air Italy, which are not part of any alliance
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What hasn’t changed?

  • Redemption rates for travel on British Airways, Aer Lingus, Iberia or Vueling—which offer poor value most of the time anyway

Why do I like British Airways Avios?

Moving forward, in my opinion, the best use of Avios is for Business Class travel on flights between 651 and 3000 miles, as demonstrated from Sydney below:

British Airways sweet spot

For example, a one-way Qantas Business Class flight from Sydney to Adelaide now costs 16,500 Avios (an increase of 10%). Compare that to 24,000 Qantas Points (jumping to 27,600 from 18 September 2019).

Another example is a one-way Cathay Pacific Business Class flight from Hong Kong to Tokyo. You need 22,000 Avios for that redemption (also 10% increase), compared to 38,000 Qantas Points (jumping to 43,800 from 18 September 2019).

Another plus of the program is that they have very reasonable change and cancellation fees.

However, they offer poor value when redeemed for travel on British Airways’ own flights due to ridiculously high fuel surcharges.

British Airways plane on the tarmac
It’s counterintuitive, but you’ll get better value from using your Avios on a partner airline rather than on British Airways itself

Summing up

As far as award chart devaluations go, this is not a bad one.

Previously, Avios offered good value for short hops on oneworld airlines in Economy Class. However, the attractiveness of those redemptions has now decreased.

Therefore, my recommendation to use your Avios is for short- and medium-haul redemptions in Business Class (and First if that cabin is offered on the route).

All Point Hacks guides have been updated with the new Avios pricing.

What are you planning on doing with your Avios? Share in the comments below.

British Airways’ new partner award chart is now live was last modified: January 21st, 2020 by Matt Moffitt