Is the British Airways Sky Falling?

There has been a ton of speculation and angst in cyberspace about British Airways’ switch to Avios.  A lot is still unknown about the changes.  If you go to the British Airways site, they don’t have the award charts posted.  They have a calculator to help you determine how many miles you’ll need for a trip.  However, it’s unclear how they are calculating the number of miles needed.  It appears that they are looking at redeeming on British Airways metal first.  If it can’t find availability on BA metal, it appears to look for direct flights on one partner airline.  If it can’t find that, it suggests that you break up your search.

As with most changes, there are winners and losers.  One of the most popular ways to use British Airways miles before the switch was on business or first class tickets on Cathay Pacific to the Far East.  These awards, on first inspection, seem to have increased by as much as 100%.  British Airways used to allow unlimited stopovers and that is in question now too.

However, for those who want to redeem their British Airways miles for US domestic travel on American Airlines, you may like the changes for short haul flights.  I did a quick search on flights between New York and Raleigh, NC.  With the new award program, it will only cost 9,000 miles and $5!  This trip would cost you 25,000 miles if you redeemed it using American Airlines miles!  I am quite happy with that change since I have a lot of family in North Carolina.

If you had the direct links to the previous award charts, they still seem to work for the One Partner only and BA plus one partner.  The wording on the pages has been changed to reference Avios so I’m hopeful that they are good.  And if they are, some of our fears may be exaggerated if you redeem entirely on one partner airline (but I’m not holding my breath).

Many of the suggestions I had for Best Use of British Airways miles will now change.  Over the coming weeks, I’ll create a new post for suggestions on how you can best use your British Airways miles under the new Avios system.  Don’t call Chicken Little just yet.

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