British Airways is joining the growing legion of airlines that rewards members based on how much they spend rather than how much they fly. From 18 October 2023, new bookings for British Airways-operated flights will credit Avios to Executive Club based on the price of the fare.

Ian Romanis, British Airways Director of Retail and Customer Relationship Management, says that the changes are supposedly based on ‘customer feedback’.

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.

– Ian Romanis, British Airways Director of Retail and Customer Relationship Management, 18 July 2023
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New Avios earning rates from 18 October 2023

Members will earn Avios at the following rates, per £1 (around AU$1.92) spent:

  • Blue members: 6 Avios per £1
  • Bronze members: 7 Avios per £1
  • Silver members: 8 Avios per £1
  • Gold members: 9 Avios per £1

After the change, members can also earn Avios on ancillaries such as seat selection fees, upgrades and baggage costs. They can also earn Avios on carrier charges on revenue fares, but not award bookings. Government fees and taxes in the fare won’t earn any British Airways Avios.

These tiered status earn amounts are noticeably less rewarding than before. Previously, top-tier Gold members would earn 100% more Avios on flights (i.e. double a base member). After 18 October, those same members will only earn 50% more Avios on the same flights.

At this stage, the earn rate on partner airlines will remain the same. It’ll be based on distance flown and cabin bonuses. British Airways also flags that there’s no change to Tier Point (status credits) earn rates. That’s good news for travellers who might prefer to credit their Qantas and other oneworld flights to British Airways Executive Club for faster access to lifetime oneworld Sapphire and Emerald status.

Some members win, some members lose

Members jetting on high-value fares, such as international Business and First Class, may find that their Avios balances will be rewarded more. But if the fare is cheap enough, it’s still possible to earn fewer Avios than before. Take a return Business Class Sydney–Singapore trip with British Airways in March 2024.

This currently prices at AU$5,744, or £2,995 return for one person in ‘D’ class. Of that fare, AU$214 (£112) is government fees and charges, so the remaining fare and carrier charge is AU$5,530 or £2,883.

Seats in British Airways Club Suite Business Class
British Airways’ latest Club Suites usually fly between London, Singapore and Sydney.

Before 18 October 2023, a Gold member would earn up to 27,356 Avios and 280 Tier Points on that return fare. But if it’s booked after 18 October, then that same member would walk away with around 25,947 Avios and 280 Tier Points instead. In fact, by reverse engineering the new earn rates, you would have to spend at least AU$6,045 or £3,152 to break even on the Avios earn compared to the current rates.

So if that same fare skyrocketed (say, due to last-minute travel), then the member would be better off in terms of the Avios earn. But their hip pocket (or employer’s budget) would take a greater hit as well.

Summing up

It’s no surprise that British Airways is changing to a revenue-based system for earning Avios. It has been flagged before and sister airline Iberia already does it. In an era of high fares, this change will mostly benefit those who can afford to spend on inflated airfares. But for those seeking the best fares or travelling short distances, they’ll probably wind up with fewer Avios than before. At least there’s no change to earning status in Executive Club.

Within Australia, Virgin Australia also uses revenue-based earning for VA-operated flights. Velocity members can earn between five to 10 points per dollar spent. But Qantas still uses a fixed system where points are dished out based on the route and cabin class flown.

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British Airways changes Avios to revenue-based earning from October was last modified: August 24th, 2023 by Brandon Loo