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British Airways will make a sweeping change to the way its frequent flyers earn Avios rewards currency, and it’s bound to be a controversial move.
The Oneworld airline is abandoning the long-standing practice of calculating how many Avios its Executive Club members earn per flight, based on the number of miles they fly.
From 18 October 2023, Avios earning will instead be based on how much their ticket costs, along with additional spending on the likes of upgrades, pre-paid seat selection and excess baggage, at a rate of between six and nine Avios per £1 spent.
Many airlines have made a similar shift from miles-based earning to revenue-based earning, and the happiest of high flyers are those who typically travel in business or first class.
Naturally, passengers who sit further towards the back of the plane and rely on discounted tickets stand to be worse off.
The number of Avios per £1 will be geared according to the traveller’s Tier status in the Executive Club:
- Blue members will receive 6 Avios per qualifying £1 spent
- Bronze members will receive 7 Avios per qualifying £1 spent
- Silver members will receive 8 Avios per qualifying £1 spent
- Gold members will receive 9 Avios per qualifying £1 spent
An Avios analysis
As a practical example, British Airways’ Kangaroo Route from London to Sydney via Singapore is a trip of 10,672 miles, for which an Executive Club Gold member travelling on a flexible business class ticket which currently costs around £7700 today stands to earn 37,051 Avios.
As of 18 October, the same flight would earn 69,300 Avois – almost twice as many as before – based on that £7700 fare and a 9x Avios multiplier based on the passenger’s Gold status.
However, the Avios earn on shorter trips into Europe – which are more commonly done in economy, especially when top-tier frequent flyers already enjoy status perks such as lounge access and priority boarding – will take a hit.
The same Gold-grade BA frequent flyer making the 1h45m dash between London and Frankfurt would today earn 625 Avios on the lowest-priced economy ticket costing around £50. Under BA’s new revenue-based model, that fare would land just 450 Avios.
While that 175 Avios shortfall – or 350 Avios on a return trip – not going a large amount in itself, you can appreciate how frequent flyers reguarly doing these UK-EU hops stand to lose out in the long run.
The new Avios-earning scheme will ironically be of extra benefit to premium cabin travellers saddled with the ongoing slew of high airfares, while pushing down the Avios haul of anybody who snares a heavily-discounted sale fare, even in business class.
BA describes the Avios-per-pound model as “a more consistent and clearer approach” to earning points which can later be turned into upgrades or free flights.
“This is a simpler and more transparent system offering more opportunities to collect Avios than ever before and rewarding loyalty based on customers’ cash spend,” said Ian Romanis, British Airways’ Director of Retail and Customer Relationship Management.
The same approach was adopted by British Airways' sister airline Iberia in 2022.
British Airways notes that flights marketed by other airline partners – such as Oneworld members including Qatar Airways, which also uses Avios – will continue to collect Avios “based on how far you fly, the cabin you fly in and your Executive Club Tier level.”
BA has posted a more detailed explainer online at britishairways.com/en-gb/executive-club/faqs/collecting-avios-changes.