British Airways Kills the 4,500 Avios Awards in North America

I just got an email from British Airways stating that starting February 2nd, 2016 award flights that occur in North America that are under 650 miles, will increase by 66.67%. In other words, any award flight that cost 4,500 Avios today will now cost 7,500 Avios. It is important to note this is for flights in North America only – you can still find 4,500 Avios award flights in other parts of the world. Here is the official notice from British Airways.

Here is the full scope of changes:

  • Economy class flights that touch North America increase from 4,500 Avios to 7,500 Avios.
  • Business class flights that touch North America increase from 9,000 Avios to 15,000 Avios.
  • First class flights that touch North America increase from 18,000 Avios to 30,000 Avios.


Sample new pricing

It is interesting to note that this is the ONLY devaluation made and it is only for a very specific set of flights (under 650 miles, North America only). Basically this tells us BA has seen a surging number of redemption for these short flights on American Airlines and wants to curtail that activity slightly. I think even at 7,500 Avios this still represents a great deal for most travelers, especially when using Avios to get last minute tickets which are usually several hundred dollars.

I appreciate the advance notice from British Airways but I’m slightly miffed at the timing of this as my wife just applied for British Airways 100,000 Avios offer. I’m not sure I wouldn’t have gone through with that offer but it’s slightly disingenuous to offer a large credit card bonus for the US market and then weeks into the promotion, make a change that only affects the US market. I guess I should be happy nothing else has devalued but that still doesn’t make me a happy camper this morning to see their best award devalue by almost 67%.