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For flights booked from 18 October 2023 onwards, British Airways will be offering members of its Executive Club program considerably fewer Avios that it currently does as it transitions part of its rewards program to a spending-based model.
British Airways starts to move to a spending-based rewards program
As thing stand, the number of Avios that you earn from a British Airways flight credited to the British Airways Executive Club is based on the fare class that you booked and the distance of that flight.
From 18 October 2023, this will no longer be the case as British Airways starts to base the number of Avios that you earn from a British Airways booking on the price that you pay for that booking.
For tickets booked from 18 October onwards, this is the model that BA will be using to work out how many Avios to award:
That image (taken from BA.com) doesn’t actually tell the full story because the “pound (GBP) spent” as mentioned in this model, doesn’t represent the whole price of what you pay for your flight.
To get to the cost that it will use to calculate how many Avios to award, British Airways will first remove any government taxes/fees from whatever a traveler has paid, and then use what’s left to calculate the number of Avios to award.
As the taxes paid as part of a fare are not always disclosed very clearly, this will make it tricky for customers to work out how many Avios they will earn before they book a flight.
Unfortunately, the news now gets worse because it’s not just fares that are purchased through British Airways that are affected by this change.
- Flights booked through American Airlines and credited to the British Airways Executive Club will earn Avios in the same way as flights booked through BA (6x/7x/8x/9x the net cost in GBP).
- Flights booked through Iberia and credited to the British Airways Executive Club will earn Avios at a lower rate – 5x/6x/7x/8x the net cost in Euro).
If you were thinking that you could get around this change by simply booking your flights through one of BA’s two closest partners (American & Iberia) you would be wrong. That option has been taken off the table.
The key issue surrounding this upcoming change is that this new way of working out how many Avios to award will see most people (people who don’t pay vast sums for their flights) earning considerably fewer Avios than they do right now.
A traveler with no BA status booking a £562.21 British Airways Economy Class fare for travel between London and Los Angeles would currently earn at least 2,728 Avios for this booking (assuming both flights were booked into one of the lowest Economy fare classes).
The British Airways website shows us that this particular fare includes £202.21 of taxes/fees that would not qualify to earn Avios under the new model, so that leaves us with just £362 of spending that British Airways will plug into its new Avios earnings calculation when it comes to awarding Avios at the end of the flights.
We know from the new model that to work out how many Avios a traveler without BA status will earn under the new model, we have to multiple the eligible spending by 6.
In this case that would be £362 x 6 = 2,172 Avios
That’s 20% fewer Avios that would be earned under the current system.
You can repeat this kind of calculation for various routes for various cabins and for flyers with different levels of elite status and you’ll find that in almost every case, the winners will be flyers who pay the expensive fares (usually people spending their employer’s money) while the losers will be those of us who shop around for the best fares (most people reading this article).
If you’re an Executive Club member who’s careful with how much they pay for their flights and who has been planning a booking through BA/AA/IB, now would be a good time to book if you want to maximize the number of Avios that you earn.
As will just about all rule changes, there are exceptions of which you will need to be aware.
- The flight portion of a package booked through British Airways Holidays will continue to earn Avios based on the distance flown and the fare class booked.
- Bookings made through BA’s airline partners (excluding American Airlines and Iberia) and credited to the Executive Club will continue to earn Avios based on the distance flown and the fare class booked.
This last point means that, for now, bookings made through airlines like Qatar Airways, Finnair, JAL, Cathay Pacific, etc… will not be subject to the new fare-based model.
From 18 October 2023, bookings made with British Airways, Iberia and American Airlines and credited to the British Airways Executive Club will earn Avios based on the fare paid rather than on the distance flown.
For some, this will be good news, but most Executive Club members will see their Avios earnings cut sharply and it’s this group that should be looking to lock in any fares they know that they need to book before 23:59 (GMT) on 17 October.