Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Avios is now the official program for British Airways and Iberia

It had been announced awhile ago that the FFPs of British Airways (Executive Club) and Iberia (Plus) would be merged into one big loyalty program which also would bring in the Air Miles UK program. When the announcement came out the news hit many North American's members of BA's Executive Club hard as some of the great redemption opportunities in that program (North America to Asia and South America) were lost as the new redemption schedule is based on distance and not to a set reward chart. All day today I have been reading various frequent flyer blogs looking at the new Avios system and while those great offers mentioned above may be gone there are some new gems to be had within the program, in particular for flights within North America on BA's partners.

Since the Avios program now works on distance rather then the set reward chart a lot of the shorter haul redemptions have actually gone done in price. For example a one-way flight between Toronto and New York can be had for only 4,500 Avios points (9,000 round trip) and used to be 12,500 miles (25,000 round trip), compare this to 15,000 Aeroplan Miles, 25,000 AAdvantage Miles etc.. Toronto to London has also become cheaper as it used to 50,000 miles for a round-trip redemption in economy and that is now 40,000. These lower redemption rates make the semi annual RBC Avion 50% transfer bonus to BA even more attractive (that is if they keep the bonus around)

Another issue that seems to arise in addition to the redemptions that became more expensive is the fact the if you want to build an itinerary with a connection (think stopover in previous Executive Club terms) you have to price out each connection separately. So where you used to be able to get a round trip flight Calgary to Paris for 50,000 miles with a connection in London (and the option to stopover in London for a few days) now has to be priced at Calgary-London for 50,000 miles and London-Paris for 9,000 miles so in the new program it will cost you 9,000 more points.

What do you think of the changes to the program? For those of you who are BA flyers will it make you shy away from BA and take your business to another airline or will you take it as it is and continue with your loyalty to BA?

To see some more news on the good and the bad of the new Avios program here are some other blog posts made today (bear in mind all of these are U.S. based but do hold some merit for Canada):
Dan's Deals has a good run down of redemptions that have gone down, stayed the same and increased
View from the Wing - it always good to hear Gary's take on programs
One Mile at a time had numerous posts today: Post 1 | Post 2 | Post 3


  1. I’m still wondering if its worth it to redeem my points as cash or to redeem my points for tickets for a round-trip from Toronto to London.

  2. Depends on which card you are using but to get to London from Toronto for only 40,000 miles on BA is pretty good deal.

  3. Have you heard of any possibility of British Airways strengthening their partnership with Westjet at all? I'm thinking similar to their partnership with Alaska Airlines. You can earn and redeem Avois on Alaska Airlines flights. British Airways/Westjet codeshares would be fantastic!

  4. Have not heard of a bigger tie up between BA and WS just yet. Currently WS has bigger ties with AF/KL which includes some codeshares on WestJet flights but I don't believe WS has any on their transatlantic flights yet.