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Big Changes to British Airways Executive Club Avios — Reduced Surcharges!

Carissa Rawson's image
Carissa Rawson
Carissa Rawson's image

Carissa Rawson

Senior Content Contributor

Countries Visited: 51U.S. States Visited: 36

Carissa served in the U.S. Air Force where she developed her love for travel and new cultures. She started her own blog and eventually joined The Points Guy. Since then, she’s contributed to Business ...

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Huge news hit British Airways awards recently when the airline announced it would be revamping its Executive Club loyalty program. The result? Travelers can now pay more Avios for flights in return for massively reduced surcharges. Let’s take a look at the new Reward Flight Saver (RFS) options.

British Airways Reward Flight Saver Options

It’s not usually a good thing when airlines announce changes to their loyalty programs. Generally, these happen under the guise of “making things better for travelers” while actually devaluing the program. And while you will need to pay more Avios for your flights, the offset is that you’ll now need to pay far less in terms of surcharges.

In short, what British Airways has done is convert its existing redemption method, with varying amounts of fees that you’ll need to pay, to a standardized system. Now you’ll find a fixed rate in both cash and Avios for your flights.

Here’s an example of how the new system will work for off-peak flights. Note that this pricing is for round-trip flights:

SCROLL FOR MORE
RouteFare ClassAviosCash
New York (JFK) to London (LHR)World Traveller (Economy)50,000$200
World Traveller Plus (Premium Economy)85,000$560
Club World (Business)160,000$700
Los Angeles to London (LHR)World Traveller (Economy)60,000$300
World Traveller Plus (Premium Economy)95,000$660
Club World (Business)180,000$900

These changes have taken effect immediately, as you can see in this example flight one-way from Boston (BOS) to London (LHR) in Club World business class:

BA BOS LHR Club World
Image Credit: British Airways

Hot Tip: Care to pay fewer Avios and more in cash? Just click More pricing options to see your Avios + Cash options.

This is in stark contrast to rates we would have seen previously, where a one-way flight in business class would have cost 65,000 Avios but more than twice as much in fees. This can still be seen on American Airlines’ site, where those pesky fees remain the same:

AA BOS LHR award rate
Image Credit: American Airlines

Is This a Good Thing?

So look, British Airways has opted to increase the number of Avios you’ll need to redeem for your flight. That sucks. At the same time, however, it’s halved the out-of-pocket cash that you’ll need to pay when redeeming said Avios.

Since most of us specifically chose not to use Avios for these flights because of their extraordinarily high fees, overall this seems like a net positive. After all, would you rather spend 15,000 Avios or $379? For us, the answer is clear. We value British Airways Avios at 1.25 cents each, which means 15,000 Avios come out to just $187 in value.

This is even more pertinent when considering how simple it is to earn Avios. The Executive Club program is a transfer partner of multiple flexible point currencies, including American Express Membership Rewards, Bilt Rewards, Capital One MilesChase Ultimate Rewards, and Marriott Bonvoy. Each of these programs — with the exception of Marriott Bonvoy — transfers over at a 1:1 ratio, meaning 1 point becomes 1 Avios. Marriott Bonvoy points, meanwhile, transfer at a 1:3 ratio, with a 5,000-Avios bonus when transferring 60,000 points.

Hot Tip: Looking to get good value from your Avios? Check out our guide to the best ways to redeem British Airways Avios for max value!

Final Thoughts

It isn’t often that we’re happy about an airline revamping its award program. However, in this case, we’re pleasantly surprised. Although travelers will now need to pay more Avios for flights, those upcharges are more than offset by the reduced out-of-pocket costs for fees. We’d call that a win!

Carissa Rawson's image

About Carissa Rawson

Carissa served in the U.S. Air Force where she developed her love for travel and new cultures. She started her own blog and eventually joined The Points Guy. Since then, she’s contributed to Business Insider, Forbes, and more.

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