Avios Devaluation No. 1 Is Coming On 30 May 2019

a group of airplanes parked on a runway

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British Airways has announced that it will be changing the to cost of Avios awards on partner airlines from 30 May 2019 but, for some unfathomable reason, the airline has declined to provide any clues as to what those changes will look like.

a close-up of a blue and red airplane wing

Here’s the full text of what BA has announced so far:

From 30 May 2019, we’ll be changing our Avios prices on reward flights with the following partner airlines: Alaska Airlines, Air Italy, American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Japan Airlines, LATAM, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Qatar Airways, S7, Sri Lankan and Royal Jordanian Airlines.

The price of Avios upgrades on American Airlines only will also be changing from 30 May 2019. You will pay the difference between the Avios prices of your booked cabin and your upgraded cabin.

Don’t worry if you have an existing Avios booking with one of these airlines. It’s still valid and you can make changes or cancel it if you need to*. Our new Avios prices will apply to any changes or new bookings you make after 30 May 2019.

There will be no change to our Avios prices for reward flights and upgrades with British Airways, Aer Lingus, Iberia or Vueling. The Avios prices for our other services are also unaffected, so you can continue to benefit from spending your Avios on our wide range of hotels, car hire and experiences.

*Subject to the Terms and Conditions of your booking.

a row of seats in an airplane
Expect the cost of Avios bookings on American Airlines flights to go up

It’s important to note that BA is saying that the changes to the cost of Avios award bookings will also apply to any reservations that are changed on or after 30 May 2019 as well as to new bookings made on or after that date.

This means that there’s no real advantage to making any speculative future bookings ahead of 30 May because, if your plans change, you’ll incur a change fee and you’ll be liable to hand over the difference in Avios between what you paid and whatever the new award cost is.


I’m not going to speculate about what the changes are going to look like (specifically) as no one outside of BA can tell us what the new costs will be….but I think it’s a fairly safe bet to say that the changes are unlikely to turn out to be positive when the full details are finally revealed.

I’m also pretty sure that this is just the first (of multiple) Avios devaluations we’ll see announced this year.

For the time being the cost of Avios award bookings on British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus and Vuelling (all IAG owned airlines) are not changing but I don’t expect this to be the case for the rest of the year.

a sign on a building

It’s not really a secret that BA has wanted to introduce some sort of dynamic award pricing (for reward flights on its own aircraft) for some time, but it has been hampered by the fact that its IT team is remarkably incompetent – they can’t make the BA homepage work property let alone code the site for dynamic awards.

Now I’m getting the feeling that, incompetent IT team or not, the airline is a lot closer to achieving its aim and will be following the legacy US airlines down the path of dynamic awards sooner rather than later.

It’s also unlikely that the Iberia award chart will remain untouched.

BA has already said that aims to bring all Avios redemptions under one roof at some point in the future so, IT issues permitting, it’s entirely possible that we’ll see BA and Iberia sharing an award chart by this time next year.

Bottom Line

The only thing we know for sure right now is that British Airways will be changing the cost of partner awards from 30 May 2019 – everything is else is just speculation.

Overall this clearly isn’t going to be good news for Avios collectors and it’s also not going to be great news for anyone who collect Chase Ultimate Rewards points and Amex Membership Rewards points with a view to converting them to Avios for partner bookings – both of those currencies will be taking a hit too.

If you’re sitting on large number of Avios which you were planning to use for a partner award booking then now may be the time to firm up your plans and get the trips ticketed before the changes are pushed through in a month’s time.


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