Back in April, British Airways Executive Club announced upcoming changes to their partner airline redemption charts. However, they didn’t share any details on the changes ahead of time, leaving it to members to try and piece together the new award chart for themselves.
In any case, the new award pricing kicked in on May 30 and we now know the confirmed rates. Here’s how prices for partner award travel have changed (redemption rates for flights on British Airways, Iberia, Vueling and Aer Lingus have not changed):
|Zone 1 (1-650)*||4.5||6||6.75||9||9||12.5||18||24|
|Zone 2 (651-1,150)||7.5||9||11.25||12.5||15||16.5||30||33|
|Zone 3 (1,151-2,000)||10||11||15||16.5||20||22||40||44|
|Zone 4 (2,001-3,000)||12.5||13||25||27.5||37.5||38.75||50||51.5|
|Zone 5 (3,001-4,000)||20||20.75||40||41.25||60||62||80||82.5|
|Zone 6 (4,001-5,500)||25||25.75||50||51.5||75||77.25||100||103|
|Zone 7 (5,501-6,500)||30||31||60||62||90||92.75||120||123.75|
|Zone 8 (6,501-7,000)||35||36.25||70||72.25||105||108.25||140||144.25|
|Zone 9 (7,001+)||50||51.5||100||103||150||154.5||200||206|
*Does not apply to flights within North America, where flights from 1-1,150 miles price at Zone 2 prices.
Avios awards are the exception to my longstanding “never redeem miles for economy class” mantra. That’s because the Avios chart has numerous sweet spots for short haul economy awards, especially when revenue tickets cost a disproportionately high amount of cash.
With these changes, short haul economy awards have increased by up to 33%.
|Zone 1 (1-650)||4.5||6||+33%|
|Zone 2 (651-1,150)||7.5||9||+20%|
|Zone 3 (1,151-2,000)||10||11||+10%|
|Zone 4 (2,001-3,000)||12.5||13||+4%|
That said, the award costs are still reasonable in absolute terms, especially when compared to your alternatives. For example, here’s how some Avios sweet spots now price compared to KrisFlyer
|Economy RT Awards||Avios||KrisFlyer|
|Intra-Europe||8-26K||25K (Star Alliance)|
|Intra-Japan||12-18K||25K (Star Alliance)|
|Intra-Australia/Trans Tasman||12-26K||22-40K (Virgin Australia)|
It should be noted that the routes with a (*) are operated by Singapore Airlines, and KrisFlyer does not impose fuel surcharges on these flights. Avios does levy fuel surcharges on redemptions, so this isn’t a strict apples to apples comparison. However, given that these are short haul routes, fuel surcharges will not be substantial.
For Intra-Europe/Japan/Australia/Trans Tasman routes, KrisFlyer redemptions on partner airlines would be subject to fuel surcharges anyway, so we can say this is a more like to like comparison.
We see that even with the increased award prices, it’s still much better to redeem your miles for Avios short haul awards than through KrisFlyer. This is especially the case if you’re flying within Europe, because redemption rates on Iberia/British Airways/Aer Lingus/Vueling have not changed. The cheapest intra Europe round trip award would be just 8K Avios, versus 25K KrisFlyer miles.
I don’t believe that it’s worth redeeming Avios for anything other than Economy awards, but in case you’re interested, Head for Points noted that BA has moved away from their multiplication system for Premium Economy, Business and First Class redemptions. Previously, First Class awards cost was 4X of Economy, and Business Class 2-3X of Economy depending on zone. Now, the multipliers vary but the average multiple has decreased, making it cheaper to redeem these (but still not worth it for me!)
Some general pointers about Avios awards and Avios in general:
- You can redeem an Avios award for anyone you please
- Avios points do not expire so long as you have at least one activity in your account every 36 months
- There’s a S$69 refund/change fee for all Avios awards, although the maximum fee is capped at the amount of taxes paid. All changes must be done at least 24 hours before flights
- Remember that Avios pricing works on a segment by segment basis, not overall distance. For example, a SIN-KUL-REP flight (SIN-KUL= 184 miles, KUL-REP= 747 miles, total distance: 931 miles) would cost 6K+9K=15K miles in total, not 9K miles. For this reason, you should always look for direct flights
Earning British Airways Avios in Singapore
The easiest way to earn Avios in Singapore is through a Citibank credit card like the Citi PremierMiles Visa or the Citi Rewards Visa/Mastercard. Don’t forget that Citi has just extended the 30K miles sign up bonus on the Citi PremierMiles Visa until 30 June- read this post for more details.
|New-to-bank customers can get $300 of NTUC/Grab/Taka vouchers when they sign up for a Citi PremierMiles Visa or Citi Rewards Visa card through SingSaver|
It’s also possible to earn Avios through American Express cards, but the earning rates are generally inferior. That said, if you’re looking to get the AMEX Platinum Charge card through the MGM program, you’d have a total haul of 87.5K miles by spending $20K in the first 3 months of membership– none too shabby.
Otherwise, Avios can also be earned through
- Hotel point conversions e.g Marriott, Hilton
- Hotel stays
- Car rentals
- Rewards for Thoughts surveys
British Airways does sell Avios with a bonus several times a year, although it’s generally cheaper to look out for them on Groupon.
There’s no such thing as a “good devaluation”, but given the secrecy British Airways was adopting about the new chart, most people expected much worse.
If you’re flying point to point outside of Singapore, be sure to check if an Avios award can make sense for you.