Members of the British Airways frequent flyer programme are starting to quake in their boots as it seems like there are big changes coming to the way people earn their miles. Yes, earning miles by spend seems to be on the way as other IAG airlines do exactly this.

Mentions in presentations about dynamic award pricing and the recent removal of the award chart have added fuel to the fire. Is it really that big a deal though?

Many Already Earn By Spend

Those people with credit cards linked to their frequent flyer accounts are already earning miles by spend. In some cases, quite a large percentage of their miles are earned this way.

Therefore, it is not exactly a stretch for the airline ticket price to earn your miles rather than distance. In fact, it makes sense doing it this way as the airlines biggest spenders earn the most miles.

Often people earn a lot of miles through deeply discounted fares which is all well and good, but it sort of defeats the purpose of a frequent flyer programme. Those who actually fly frequently, possibly on short flights, are penalised here.

Thus far the roof hasn’t fallen in on those carriers that have switched to a miles by spend model. This is probably due to the fact it is somewhat mitigated by the fact partner airlines flights still accrue by distance.

Arguably, Status Is More Important Than Miles

While I like having a decent pot of Avios miles, at the end of the day I value my status more than the miles. Fast-track security saves me tons of time and I really like having lounge access.

Things like extra baggage come in handy at times while priority boarding and advance seat selection are a god send. In actual fact, I save a decent chunk of change by having status as I am not paying for seat fees.

Dynamic Award Pricing Will Be Interesting

Different flights on different days of the week and at different times of the year will cost varying amounts of miles to redeem for a reward flight. Some will be worse off and some will be better off.

Always use your miles to go away with the kids in school holidays? You’ll probably pay more. Tend to fly in the mid-winter to short haul destinations? You’ll probably end up better off.

Overall Thoughts

When you’re earning four miles per dollar or something like that, you do rack up miles quite quickly anyway. I will certainly miss my regular trips to Australia which rack up tens of thousands of miles when flying from Europe, but there’s no use complaining.

Those complaining most vociferously are the people who game the system and to an extent I can sympathise with their plight. Even so, the winds of change are blowing and there’s not much to do but accept it.

What do you think of moves towards earning by spend and dynamic award pricing? Does it suit you? Are you better or worse off? Thanks for reading and please leave your comments or questions below.

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TWA image by Christian Volpati via Wikimedia Commons.
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