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In a move that’s very true-to-form, British Airways has quietly and without any notice to Executive Club members, increased the cost of some of its short-haul awards. The increases are already in effect (so there’s no way to avoid them) and they affect most of the routes that British Airways operates within Europe.
British Airways Short-Haul Devaluations
Firstly, I should point out that the increases in award costs relate only to flights operated by British Airways so, for now, there is no change to the cost of short-haul partner awards in the US, Australia and in all other parts of the world where short-haul Avios redemptions can offer great value.
Now that the good news is out of the way, here’s the bad news.
British Airways has increased the cost of all short-haul awards for travel in categories 1 through 3 by 750 Avios. At the lower-end, this represents a price increase of a little under 4% while at the upper-end it represents a price increase of a little under 19%.
Because of the numerous payment options that British Airways offers on its own short-haul award bookings where Reward Flight Saver (RFS) pricing is in effect, it can be easy to tricky to spot when the airline makes any changes. The key is to keep an eye on the Avios quoted alongside the £17.50 taxes/fees (Economy Class) and alongside the £25 taxes/fees (Club Europe) – these are the standard award costs that would be shown in the BA award chart if British Airways still published an award chart.
This is how things have changed in the past 36 hours.
Off-Peak Season Pricing
Peak Season Pricing
It should be noted that as things stand, there is one oddity in all of this that is not reflected in the charts above. Right now, if you search for a peak season Business Class (Club Europe) award for a Zone 3 route (e.g. London – Larnaca or London – Malta) you’ll find that BA.com is pricing it up at 18,350 Avios…which is 1,650 Avios less than this award cost before.
This is almost certainly an error (which is why the tables above show the award cost at 20,750) but if you need to book a Zone 3 Business Class award for peak season, now is probably the time to do it.
There really isn’t a lot to say here as BA’s actions speak for themselves. However mild or inconsequential some of these price increases may be, you can’t get away from the fact that the airline has increased the cost of all of its intra-Europe short-haul awards without announcing the changes and without giving Executive Club members any notice and all while using the pandemic as cover.
That’s a contemptible move by the airline and one for which it should be called out and vilified.
For the time being it looks as if the airline hasn’t made any changes to the cost of awards for travel in Zones 4 onwards or to the cost of partner awards, but it’s probably safe to assume that changes are probably on the way and that we will be given zero notice.
If you have any plans to make an Avios booking it may be wise to firm up those plans sooner rather than later just in case another wave of price increases is on the way. There’s no need to make any panic bookings (it possible that BA won’t touch long-haul awards for now), but if you simply haven’t got around to making a long-haul Avios booking that you know you’re going to make, now would be a good the time to act.
British Airways has pushed through a no-notice devaluation to its short-haul awards by increasing their cost by 750 Avios each. The changes are already in place so anyone who has yet to book their post-lockdown/post-vaccination European break will now be paying more than they would have done had they booked a couple of days ago. Regardless of how significant or insignificant the price increases are, the way BA has gone about introducing them leaves a very bad taste in the mouth.