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Possible British Airways Award Chart Devaluation For Partners? Jury’s Out

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Possible British Airways Award Chart Devaluation For Partners? Jury's Out

Possible British Airways Award Chart Devaluation For Partners? Jury’s Out

After a tip from a reader about a possible British Airways award chart devaluation, we looked into it. The honest answer is that we couldn’t confirm or deny the tip. In the interest of clarity, we are sharing with you what we found. The tip seems to have a good source, and we found it worth exploring. However, what we see is inconclusive and not sufficient to confirm whether there’s really a British Airways award chart devaluation being implemented for partners.

The Tip / Rumor

We received a message this week saying the following:

FYI, Avios may have quietly devalued. Spoke to a friend at BA and she mentioned receiving a memo regarding Avios redemptions on CX and JL Wednesday. When I tried pricing a short haul business class ticket, the rate increased from 12.5K to 16K. Thoughts?

In short, there’s supposedly a memo circulating at British Airways about increasing points requirements to redeem award flights on Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines.

Our Research

I will point out that right now is a hard time to confirm anything related to award flights in Asia. With tons of flights not operating, operating at reduced schedules, not allowing award redemptions, etc. right now is a tough time for awards in the region where JAL and Cathay Pacific operate. This already affects the methodology.

That being said, we worked to find award seats on JAL and CX flights to compare to the existing British Airways award chart.

For reference, here are the current Avios mileage requirements.
British Airways award chart for partner redemptions, as of 2019
Cathay Pacific award redemptions

Possible British Airways Award Chart Devaluation For Partners? Jury's Out

From Hong Kong to Kuala Lumpur is 1,579 miles. The old chart says 22,000 miles for a business class ticket, but we see 25,000 Avios as the price. That’s higher than expected.

Possible British Airways Award Chart Devaluation For Partners? Jury's Out

What if we try a different route or check economy tickets in the same distance band? Hong Kong to Beijing is 1,237 miles. 11,000 miles for an economy ticket is what we expect. 

Flying from Hong Kong HKG airport to Taipei TPE in Taiwan is a distance of 500 miles. In the 2019 British Airways award chart shown above, this should cost 12,500 Avios for a business class ticket. At present, BA is asking for 16,000 miles. This matches the rumored devaluation / price increase message we got. Maybe prices are increasing for Cathay Pacific flights, but this is obviously not enough to make concrete conclusions as of yet.

Japan Airlines award redemptions

What we see with JAL is also inconclusive. Here are some examples.

Possible British Airways Award Chart Devaluation For Partners? Jury's Out

Tokyo Haneda to Hiroshima HIJ is a distance of 395 miles. Current booking price is 12,500 Avios, which is the published (2019) price.

Seoul GMP airport to Tokyo HND is a distance of 733 miles. The 2019 British Airways Avios award chart for partners says this should cost 16,500 Avios. Right now, BA wants 24,000 Avios.

The distance from Tokyo HND to Nagasaki NGS is 591 miles. The asking price matches expectations in the award chart.

Final Thoughts

This is not enough to confirm the message we got about a possible devaluation. However, when people send us a message saying an internal memo exists / a devaluation was mentioned to employees, we’re interested in checking it out. We previously discussed an unannounced BA devaluation on short-haul flights (first appeared on Head For Points here). That change is confirmed.

At this point, we can’t confirm whether CX/JL booking rates really are changing. It looks like certain routes or dates are asking for miles above the expected amount. However, other routes / dates / distance bands show exactly what we would expect from the published rates seen previously. At this point, we see this possible increase in booking rates for Cathay Pacific and JAL as unconfirmed.

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Ryan Smith
Ryan Smith
Travel hacker in 2-player mode, intent on visiting every country in the world, and can say "hello" or "how much does this cost?" in a bunch of different languages.

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    • Yup. Can’t speculatively book anything on this right now, since nearly everyone in the world isn’t allowed to transit where JL/CX fly, so we’ll just see what happens between now and then.


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