British Airways today announced changes to its Executive Club program for tickets issued on or after April 28, 2015.
The change that will hit most Executive Club members is the cut of Avios that one earns for economy class flights. These are cut from 100% to 25% of the flown miles on deeply discounted fares. The price of business and first class awards are going up as is the price of upgrades.
You can access British Airways web page for these changes here.
Earning Avios on British Airways flights
The number of Avios that passengers earn on most economy class fares are cut from 100% to 50% or 25%. The bonus for first, business and premium economy flexible fare classes goes up.
Avios tier bonus
Silver members see their bonus cut by 50%. Bronze and Gold members continue to receive their current bonus.
The lowest fares now only earn 125 Avios instead of 500. Those that purchase premium economy, business and first class flexible fares earn more Avios.
Rewards Flight & Upgrade Prices
British Airways only released the new off-peak and peak award chart. I have compiled comparison chart between the current and the new that includes the upgrade price changes as well
The Avios price of off-peak economy seats goes down by up to 35%. The current rates become the new peak awards.
Using Avios for economy awards is usually terrible value due to extremely high junk fees (read fuel surcharges) that British Airways imposes awards issued on its metal. You can often purchase a paid ticket for not much more.
The price of most Premium Economy off-peak awards goes down by 13% to 15%. The Avios price of zone 4 to 9 peak awards goes up by 33%.
Premium Economy Upgrades
The upgrade prices are going up by 30% to 100% off-peak and peak.
The price of zone 4 to 9 off-peak awards is going up by 25% and peak ones by 50%.
Here’s where it is getting really ugly and confusing. The price of some off-peak upgrade awards from Premium Economy to business is going up by 140% (the upgrade price is just the difference of the award price in premium economy and business). The category 4 to 9 upgrades are going to cost 100% more.
All off-peak and peak awards are going up by 13% to 33%.
The zone 1 to 3 upgrades awards will go up by up to 100%. Zone 4 to 9 off-peak upgrade price goes down by 10% and there is no change for peak season awards for these zones.
British Airways will have the new peak award pricing for all its partner awards. This means that the price of the most premium economy, business and first class awards is going up by 33% to 50%.
Domestic (UK) Reward Flight Saver Connection Flights
Connections for Reward Fight Savers have been free. These will be calculated as normal award flights come April 28, 2015. Domestic UK connection flights remain free for long-haul award redemptions.
Avios Group Takes Over Issuing Avios
As part of an IAG group reorganisation involving British Airways Plc and Avios Group (AGL) Limited, British Airways has agreed that Avios Group (AGL) Limited will now be responsible for issuing Avios points to Executive Club Members. British Airways will continue to be in control of the operation and management of the Executive Club and these structural changes will have no direct impact to you as a Member and your relationship with the Executive Club as it is today.
As a result of this change Avios Group (AGL) Limited will receive, store and otherwise process Members’ Data in connection with administering aspects of the Executive Club. Avios Group (AGL) Limited will therefore become a Data Controller under the Data Protection Act 1998, along with, but independently to British Airways. Both British Airways and Avios Group (AGL) Limited will have their own responsibilities for separate aspects of the data processing involved in administering the Executive Club. These changes will come into effect on 28 April 2015 and will be reflected in the revised Terms and Conditions.
Avios Group will be the entity instead of British Airways that issues the Avios for Executive Club members also effective April 28, 2015.
These changes will hit very hard those that fly on deeply discounted economy fares on British Airways that will get hit both in the cut of the number of Avios they earn combined with higher number of Avios required for most premium cabin awards and upgrades.
Using Avios for economy class flights (outside of the Rewards Flight Savers) has made very little sense due to the high fees that British Airways assesses its awards and I doubt that this change has any impact on it.