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Where Reward Flight Saver taxes/fees used to be capped at £17.50 each way in Economy and £25 in Business Class, you are now presented with the option of paying as little as 50p each way:
On the face of it, that might sound great – but there are a couple of issues with the way BA has gone about this.
Craig has already flagged that there’s a minor devaluation baked into the changes on many routes from Europe to the UK.
Perhaps more significant though, is the way BA has decided to lay out the new pricing options.
As you can see in the image above, when you select a Reward Flight Saver flight now, the only option that you are immediately presented with is the X Avios + 50p one.
50p might be good, but 8,000 Avios for a one way Economy flight to Paris seems very high! – it used to be 4,500 (Peak) + £17.50. I don’t know about you, but 3,500 more Avios to save £17 sounds like a very bad deal to me.
Fortunately, the old redemption options (or very similar ones at least), are in fact still available – but you need to click on the small “More pricing options” line written in blue to see them:
4,500 Avios + £15.50, is actually £2 cheaper than the old pricing!
I don’t want to be completely negative here – BA is providing more options for members, and that’s usually a good thing. My issue is the way the booking system initially only presents the worst value option (assuming you value Avios at ~1p each) – it seems like a cynical move.
Most casual Avios collectors are only going to pay attention to the 50p option and will end up getting very bad value from a proportion of the Avios they redeem. Maybe that is unintentional by BA? I doubt it.
New sweet spot Avios redemption
One of the enduring truths of points/miles is that where there is change, there is opportunity. No matter how bleak a devaluation may look at first glance, there are almost always some new gold nuggets just waiting to be dug out. The latest Avios changes are no exception.
As I mentioned above, you can actually now save £2 flying to Paris (and presumably elsewhere) compared to the old Reward Flight Saver fees, but that’s not going to get anyone very excited…
More interesting is something that I first saw being picked up by Tim over at PointsToBeMade. Business Class redemptions to Zone 3 destinations like Athens, Istanbul, Malta, St. Petersburg, etc, are now considerably better value than they used to be on Peak dates.
Take, for example, a Club Europe return from London to Istanbul, which would previously have cost 40,000 Avios + £50.
You can now book exactly the same itinerary for 35,200 Avios + £50 (but remember you have to click on “More pricing options” to see it!):
For a family of 4, that would work out as a saving of nearly 20,000 Avios!
For savvy Avios collectors, I’d argue the latest changes are positive on balance.
For more casual collectors though, the way the new pricing is presented means that they will end up getting less value from their Avios than they used to.
What do you think about the changes?