While there is enough love that goes around for British Airways Avios, from time to time, they make these stealth devaluations, which causes me to say, earn and burn. And this time, we have British Airways causing some changes to their redemptions on the short and medium-haul segments in Asia.
British Airways’ no-notice change to redemptions in Asia
British Airways Executive Club, over the last week, has rolled out new redemption rates on British Airways and Cathay Pacific, which is essentially a devaluation. This came without notice and is already live in the systems and ticketing.
The perks of a distance-based redemption chart have always been that it works out cheaper to have these redemptions on shorted segments than some of the charts using zone-based systems. For instance, back in the day, some sub-650-mile flights (between New York and Washington DC) used to go for 4,500 Avios + USD 5.6 per head in economy class/coach. At the resistance of American Airlines, however, an exception was made to hike it up to 7,500 Avios.
British Airways has made more exceptions for Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines. For a long time, flights under 650 miles with CX or JL cost 7,500 Avios in Economy or 16,000 in Business Class. For flights between 651 – 1,150 miles distance, it used to be 10,000 Avios in Economy and 25,000 Avios in Business.
Now, new prices have been rolled out. For instance, the new pricing for Economy Redemptions is reflected on various routes. This is a hybrid of the JL/CX changes, and some nuances have been skipped for brevity.
|Zone||Flight Distance (Miles)||Y (Old)||Y (New)||Difference (%)|
|3||1100 - 2000||11000||14000||+3000 (+27%)|
|4||2001 - 3000||13000||15600||+2600 (+30%)|
And here are the Business Class Redemptions with the new pricing.
|Zone||Flight Distance (Miles)||J (Old)||J (New)||Difference (%)|
|3||1100 - 2000||25,000||32,500||+7,500 (+30%)|
|4||2001 - 3000||38,750||46,500||+7,750 (+20%)|
As you can note, the most significant devaluations are for business class flights in Zone 1 and Zone 4. Here is an example of an award search for a flight on Cathay Pacific between Mumbai (BOM) and Hong Kong (HKG). This flight now costs 15,600 Avios in Economy while it used to price lower just a few days ago.
JAL Redemptions in the < 650 miles zone have been hiked by 40%, on top of the 25% increase in 2021 and the 33% increase in 2019. This has raised the Economy Class award rate for many domestic Japan flights like Tokyo to Osaka from 4,500 Avios in early 2019 to 6,000 Avios in 2020 to 7,500 Avios in 2021 to 10,500 Avios now. So, that must hurt those who use that sector regularly for redemptions.
So far, redemptions on Malaysia Airlines, Sri Lankan Airlines and Qantas redemptions are all pricing out per earlier rates in accordance with the Avios rates that have applied since 2019. For instance, my Malaysian Airlines redemption for two passengers in April 2023 (Bali to New Delhi) on MH is here.
And here is a redemption pricing made today (although in the opposite direction).
Unfortunately, this comes on the heels of the fact that Cathay Pacific will soon have a new redemption structure (launching on October 1, 2023).
British Airways’ has devalued redemptions on Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines for the second time in two years. However, this affects only the Asia region since the redemptions affected are up to 3,000 miles of flying distance. Economy redemptions remain viable, and there are far too many use cases for Avios, at least for now. So all is not lost.
Have you noticed the new redemption rates with British Airways Executive Club for Redemption on JAL and Cathay?
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