The British Airways Executive Club has devalued its frequent flyer miles (called Avios). Just a few days ago, the prices for many award flights on Japan Airlines and Cathay Pacific were increased by 20% to 30%. The same applies to redemptions through Iberia Plus.
Until now, short flights within Asia were considered sweet spots in the BA Executive Club. With the recent increase, these have become significantly less attractive. What’s particularly frustrating is that the change happened overnight and without any prior notice.
New & Old Prices Compared
The current price hike only affects flights with Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines, specifically price zones 1 to 4, which cover all flights within a 3,000-mile distance.
The new mileage table was determined by colleagues at travel-on-points.com, and we have been able to verify the values through random checks.
In the summer of 2021, the Executive Club had already increased the prices for award flights on JAL & Cathay from 6,000 to at least 7,500 Avios. Now it’s getting even more expensive. Even short-haul flights now cost 9,750 Avios, which represents a 30% increase compared to the old values (and over 60% more than in 2021).
Here’s the full table:
|Zone||Distance||Economy Class (old)||Economy Class (new)||Change|
|1||1 – 650 miles||7,500 Avios||9,750 Avios||+30%|
|2||651 – 1,150 miles||10,000 Avios||12,000 Avios||+20%|
|3||1,151 – 2,000 miles||11,000 Avios||14,300 Avios||+30%|
|4||2,001 – 3,000 miles||13,000 Avios||15,600 Avios||+20%|
For instance, Zone 1 includes Cathay flights from Hong Kong to Manila and Taiwan and most domestic Japanese flights with JAL.
There are no changes to award flights with other airlines; for instance, you can still get award flights with Malaysia Airlines starting from 6,000 Avios.
In business class, it’s the same story as in economy class. Prices increase by 30% in price zones 1 and 3 and by 20% in zones 2 and 4. Thus, the following table emerges:
|Zone||Distance||Business Class (old)||Business Class (new)||Change|
|1||1 – 650 miles||16,000 Avios||20,800 Avios||+30%|
|2||651 – 1,150 miles||25,000 Avios||30,000 Avios||+20%|
|3||1,151 – 2,000 miles||25,000 Avios||32,500 Avios||+30%|
|4||2,001 – 3,000 miles||38,750 Avios||46,500 Avios||+20%|
Alternative: Book through Qatar Airways
Since last year, it has been possible to freely transfer Avios between the BA Executive Club and Qatar Privilege Club. The ratio is 1:1, and in many cases, the prices are the same no matter which channel you book through.
However, in the case of JAL and Cathay, booking through Qatar Airways currently seems to be much more attractive. They still use the old 2021 prices, meaning a one-way from Taipei to Hong Kong would cost only 6,000 Avios (instead of 9,750) Avios:
Such bookings with the Qatar Privilege Club cannot be made immediately online. Attempting to book through the website will only create an inquiry. The processing may take some time, and we do not have any personal experience to confirm if it will be approved.
The British Airways Executive Club has once again increased the prices for award flights. This is frustrating enough. What’s even worse is the airline’s usual lack of communication. There was no announcement before the devaluation, and there is no longer an award chart.
A timely announcement would be the least that frequent flyers can expect from the airline. For instance, Cathay Pacific announced the upcoming price increase about three months in advance.
Cover Picture: © Cathay Pacific