British Airways have substantially reduced Avios earning rates in the Executive Club for the types of flights I purchase. From 18 October 2023, they are moving to a revenue based model, aligning them with their fellow stablemates Aer Lingus and Iberia. Since I always go for the cheapest ticket I can find, I will come out earning less points than before.
Flights booked from the changeover date onwards will earn Avios per pound spent on the tickets, not counting the taxes and surcharges. Those buying in other currencies will have the value converted to GBP behind the scenes to work out how many points are awarded. Blue members get six Avios per pound, Bronze seven, Silver eight and Gold members nine.
What British Airways Are Saying
The marketing spin has to be seen to be believed, especially this quote from the Director of Retail and Customer Relationship Management. “This is a simpler and more transparent system offering more opportunities to collect Avios than ever before.” Now it is simpler in one respect, in that the class of travel bonuses are no longer in play.
Otherwise, the new system is much more complicated as the Avios will be awarded on the base fare and carrier imposed surcharges – the net fare before tax – so not the total amount you pay. Happily, you will now also earn points on baggage and seating fees, but that’s not very useful to those who get those elements free via status.
For some extra complexity, not all tickets will earn points based on spend. Flights on other airlines will still earn on the distance based model. That is not including Iberia, whose services will earn one Avios point less than BA for each Executive Club level.
Those booking via British Airways Holidays and other packages where “the fare isn’t disclosed or isn’t available” will also earn on a distance based model. In these cases though, the Avios bonuses for Bronze, Silver and Gold have been reduced to 15%, 30% and 50%. Ahh yes, simpler and more transparent indeed.
My Avios Earning Is Substantially Reduced
I’m pretty used to earning fewer Avios on flights, as Aer Lingus already operate a revenue based model. Since I liked the earning opportunities in the Executive Club, I was using British Airways over LHR on European services for both the extra Avios and the Tier Points. There is no question that my earning is substantially reduced.
My most common route is Dublin to London Heathrow and back. Club Europe in September prices up at €237.92 return. The new regime means I will earn BA Avios on the fare and carrier imposed charges, which come to €176. That is then converted into GBP – which is £152. As a BA Gold member, I will earn £152 x 9 which is 1,368 Avios. At the moment, I would earn 2,500 Avios for the same thing, so it’s been more than halved.
Some People Will Be Better Off
Now it must be said that I can only afford the cheapest business class tickets. If money were no object, I could select the most expensive Club Europe ticket on the same route which would be €834.06 return. €741 of that – £638 – earns at 9 Avios per pound, so 5,742 Avios will be awarded instead of 3,500. I can’t justify throwing that kind of money on a flight of an hour, but some can!
Someone online also pointed out that as a Silver member (eight Avios per pound), they would also come out ahead. London to Orlando in Premium Economy was a net cost of £1,729, earning 13,832 Avios in the new regime, previously 13,060. London to Munich return for £324 earns 2,592 in the new version versus 1,180 in the old, and London to Stuttgart return is £79, earning 632 in the new vs 500 in the old. It will very much depend on your flying and buying pattern as to whether you’re a winner or a loser.
I Might Be A Loser, But…
When I am travelling from Europe to Australia, I usually find other oneworld airlines are cheapest (hello Qatar Airways!). That means I am used to earning less Avios than I otherwise would if I flew with British Airways. With the changes, flying on the partner airlines should actually mean I am earning more points by doing so. Thankfully the Tier Points for moving up status levels in the programme remain the same.
The other casualty will be that I will be much less likely to use Avios for Club Europe redemptions. I used to do this all the time. As my Avios will be much harder to come by, it will be wasteful to use them for this. Looks like I will probably be in collection mode for quite a while to come, which is fine, though it is far more fun to spend points.
Remember folks, as British Airways say in their press release, “The update to the new collection model is the latest change to the Executive Club this year to keep improving the loyalty programme for Members.” I’m very grateful they care!
From my perspective the change is not beneficial and will result in my pattern of flying changing. Those of us who connect over London Heathrow are losing out on even more Avios, as connecting flights currently earn Avios separately. I suppose that could be a plus though, because taking non-stop flights is better for the environment, and if this forces me into doing that (using Aer Lingus instead) thus avoiding unnecessary connecting flights, well so be it.
What do you think of these changes to the British Airways Executive Club? Is your Avios earning substantially reduced like mine, or do you actually come out ahead? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.
Featured image by Enrico Pierobon on Airliners.net via Wikimedia Commons.
British Airways aircraft at JFK by Roland Arhelger via Wikimedia Commons.