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Sadly, the headline says it all. British Airways has increased the cost of select Japan Airlines and Cathay Pacific partner awards without giving Executive Club members any notice whatsoever. The changes only affect short-haul flights of up to 2,000 miles but with some awards now costing over 50% more, this isn’t good news for Avios collectors.
British Airways has had a single, separate award chart for all partner bookings since May 2019 and up until now, this is what it looked like:
Now, for reasons best known to the airline, British Airways has made things considerably more complicated (and a little odd) by choosing to change the cost of select short-haul awards on Japan Airlines (JAL) and Cathay Pacific. All other partner awards appear to remain unchanged…for now.
Here’s what the changes to JAL short-haul awards look like:
And here’s what the changes to Cathay Pacific short-haul awards look like:
As you should be able to see, not all short-haul awards have increased in price but those that have, have increased by between 9% and 52%.
The fact that British Airways has made these changes without giving Executive Club members any notice isn’t a surprise. Those who run the airline’s loyalty program have shown disdain for their members often enough in the past that anyone expecting anything better is only setting themselves up for disappointment.
What *is* a little surprising is the fact that that only JAL and Cathay Pacific awards have changed in price, the fact that there’s now just one price for Business Class fares in Zones 2 and 3 and the fact that British Airways has managed to come up with two different award costs for a number of identical routes.
That last point seems the strangest.
If, for example, you want to fly between Osaka and Hong Kong in Business Class (a flight distance of a little over 1,500 miles), it will now cost 24,000 Avios if you’re flying with JAL and 25,000 Avios if you’re flying with Cathay Pacific. The same is true for the Hong Kong – Tokyo route and for most other routes between Japan and Hong Kong that both JAL and Cathay operate. Why? What’s the point of that?
I guess we should probably be happy that the cost of flying JAL Business Class within Japan has (mostly) remained unchanged and that the cost of Zone 3 Economy Class awards will continue to cost 11,000 Avios, but the 45% and 52% increases in the cost of JAL and Cathay Pacific Zone 2 Business Class awards are more than a little painful.
British Airways has increased the cost of JAL and Cathay Pacific short-haul awards by up to 52%. As is now standard practice for the airline, customers have been given no notice of these changes and you won’t find any mention of them anywhere on BA.com or in the frequent email blasts that BA likes to send out. This is very deliberate and it’s almost certainly because the airline knows that most people have no idea how much awards cost (you won’t find any award charts on the British Airways website) so they’re unlikely to realize that the Avios in their accounts are now worth a little less than they were worth a few days ago. Keeping customers in the dark is an underhand tactic but because loyalty programs like the BAEC keep getting away with it, it’s a tactic that’s here to stay.