This week the British Airways Executive Club program is a topic of discussion. In particular, what are the best ways to use Avios, BA’s mile “currency”?
As a oneworld member airline, British Airways Avios can be used for flights on BA itself or any oneworld partner airline. This includes Qantas, Cathay Pacific and American Airlines.
Every frequent flyer program has its own quirks and sweet spots when it comes to redeeming miles. British Airways uses a distance-based award chart, and the sweet spot is actually shorter flights. Flights under 650 miles in length offer the best value, with redemptions costing just 4,500 Avios in Economy or 9,000 Avios in Business Class. This includes Australian domestic flights on Qantas. By way of comparison, Qantas Frequent Flyer charges 8,000 points in Economy and 16,000 points in Business for flights of up to 600 miles.
When SYD-MEL fares are going for 4,500 Avios + $30 vs $160 for commercial fare, thats 2.9c per point. Of course the number of these that you need to use may well be limited.
Flights between 651 miles and 1,151 miles are similarly good value at 7,500 Avios in Economy or double that for Business class.
An Avios redemption is especially good value on shorter domestic flights that would otherwise sell for several hundred dollars!
Definitely short haul redemptions for BA. Managed to snag a few LRE-BNE flights and v.v. while out there – 4500 points vs $400 AUD one way, it’s a no brainer!
The same rate applies for shorter redemptions anywhere in the world except the USA. The cost of Avios redemptions in the USA recently increased but the value remains, for example, on intra-Europe flights.
But Business and First class redemptions on longer international flights are generally very poor value with British Airways, compared to most other programs. On long-haul flights Business Class costs triple the number of miles of Economy, while First class costs 4 times as much! So, if it’s an international flight in the pointy end that you aspire to, BA Executive Club is not the program for you.
Since the recent devaluation long hauls in J have been dramatically reduced – a return in business from SYD-LHR on QF is 300000 pts return + $1K in taxes. So value is not too different.
British Airways is also notorious for passing on high “carrier charges”, such as the dreaded fuel surcharge, to its customers when redeeming miles. The fuel surcharges on some redemptions are very high, adding to the cost of redeeming miles.
On the whole, the British Airways Executive Club program is not the best value out there. But for shorter flights that would otherwise be relatively expensive, the value is actually quite good.
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