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British Airways Avios Still Offers Great Value Despite Devaluation On Partners

Historically, British Airways Executive Club has been a great way to redeem for medium-haul flights on their partner airlines. Which is especially useful for redeeming flights on Cathay Pacific, with Business Class flights from 1150-2000 miles (enough to bring you to Singapore and Japan) costing only 20,000 miles (Avios), a much better deal compared to Cathay’s Asia Miles that charges 25,000 miles.

At the end of May, British Airways devalued their partner award chart. With ultra-short-haul flights taking a particular hit. However, the sweet spot remains for redemption for 1151-2000 miles (zone 3) and 2001-3000 miles (zone 4) flights. This is the new British Airways Partners Award Chart:

ZONE
(MILES)
ECONOMYPREMIUM
ECONOMY
BUSINESSFIRST
ZONE 1
1-650
Old:4500
New: 6000
Old:6750
New: 9000
Old:9000
New: 12500
Old:18000
New: 24000
ZONE 2
651-1150
Old:7500
New: 9000
Old:12500
New: 12500
Old:15000
New: 16500
Old:30000
New: 33000
ZONE 3
1151-2000
Old:10000
New: 11000
Old:15000
New: 16500
Old:20000
New: 22000
Old:40000
New: 44000
ZONE 4
2001-3000
Old:12500
New: 13000
Old:25000
New: 25750
Old:37500
New: 38750
Old:50000
New: 51500
ZONE 5
3001-4000
Old:20000
New: 20750
Old:40000
New: 41250
Old:60000
New: 62000
Old:800000
New: 82500
ZONE 6
4001-5500
Old:25000
New: 25750
Old:50000
New: 51500
Old:75000
New: 77250
Old:100000
New: 103000
ZONE 7
5501-6500
Old:30000
New: 31000
Old:60000
New: 62000
Old:90000
New: 92750
Old:120000
New: 123750
ZONE 8
6501-7000
Old:35000
New: 36250
Old:70000
New: 72250
Old:105000
New: 108250
Old:140000
New: 144250
ZONE 9
7001+
Old:50000
New: 51500
Old:100000
New: 103000
Old:150000
New: 154500
Old:200000
New: 206000

Despite the devaluation, I think British Airways Avios is still offering a great value redeeming short and medium haul flights. Especially for Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon, where their short and medium haul flights can be priced atrociously high.

My First Redemption After Devaluation

I made my first British Airways Partners Redemption today since the May 30th devaluation. I needed to book a last minute flight for my brother to travel to Beijing from Hong Kong for this evening (5th July). Since my brother has Oneworld status and is connecting in Hong Kong, I looked for Cathay tickets so he can use the lounge in Hong Kong. And boy the price is running wild:

An example of a flight that Avios can have great redemption value

I know this is the start of the summer holiday season in Hong Kong, but a one-way Economy Class flight to Beijing on Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon selling at 4404HKD (565USD) is INSANE.

Even calculated as a half round-trip basis based on his expected date of return to Hong Kong, the prices are still extremely high at over 3300HKD (425USD) per segment in Economy Class. There is also the lack of flexibility in booking a round-trip fare.

British Airways websites do not show Cathay Pacific or Cathay Dragon award availability for flights within one-week. So I had to call their hotline to search for award space and book the flights.

The agent was beyond helpful and was able to find award space for the 11PM KA996 to Beijing, which is the exact flight that my brother needed to avoid an overnight connection in Hong Kong after his arrival in the evening.

How Much I Ended Up Paying

The agent quoted me the 11000 Avios redemption price, as well as 391HKD in taxes and surcharges. I was also able to get a phone booking fee waiver as the availability is not searchable online.

British Airways also offers a Cash+Avios option for redemption tickets, and I was offered the following options:

More often than not, British Airway’s Cash+Avios options offer a great value to “buy-back” the Avios you ought to spend on the redemption. I personally value British Airways Avios acquired at under 1.15 US cents (9.0HK cents) to be a good deal. So by choosing the “4400 Avios+911HKD” option, I am practically buying 6600 Avios for 520HKD (minus the 391HKD tax), which equates to an acquisition cost of exactly 1 US cent (7.8HK cents) per Avios. Hence, it was a no brainer for me to choose this option.

Avios redemption payment

So in the end, I paid 4400 Avios plus 911HKD for a ticket that is selling for 4400HKD if paid by cash. My 4400 Avios in exchange for nearly 3500HKD of savings represents a value of 10.1 US cent (79.3HK cents) per Avios on my redemption. That is a fantastic value for redemption!

Conclusion

This may be an extreme case of last minute one-way bookings, but it does show the value that British Airways Avios is able to offer despite their recent devaluation.

Other opportunities also still exist too. For example, despite an increase of 2000 Avios each way, Zone 3 Business Class redemption continues to be the sweet spot. For example, you can redeem 44000 Avios and pay 880HKD in taxes for a roundtrip Business Class flight from Hong Kong to Singapore. Where this route has cash fares consistently priced at nearly 16,000HKD round-trip.

There are many ways to acquire British Airways Avios, many banks allow mileage transfer to British Airways. In Hong Kong there is CitiBank, Amex, Dah Sing, HSBC (Premier only) and a few others. There are also period offers online that sells Avios at a discount on sites like Groupon.

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