This change takes effect for bookings made February 2 at 5 AM ET or later.
British Avios are great for short, direct, economy awards on flights with no fuel surcharges–but they are getting less great.
The price of an award flight booked with British Airways Avios is determined by only two things: the distance of the flight and the cabin you book. The price of an Avios award is the sum of the prices of each flight segment. The award chart used to be set up such that Business Class flights were 2x the economy price and First Class flights were 3x.
In April 2015, the changed. First Class flights are now 4x the economy price. Business Class flights longer than 2,000 miles flown are now 3x the economy price. I didn’t love this devaluation, but I argued it was basically no big deal since only a few high value awards (like Boston to Dublin in Aer Lingus Business Class went up in price.) Most of the best values, namely the cheapest economy awards, were untouched. Here is the current chart (in thousands of Avios), since that devaluation:
I even argued that the devaluation might be a good thing, on net, since it would probably forestall additional negative changes to the chart. I was wrong. In October 2015, British Airways announced additional negative changes.
For awards booked February 2, 2016 and later, the minimum price for an award starting or ending in the United States will be 7,500 Avios. The minimum price for a connecting award within the United States will be 15,000 Avios.
This change only affects bookings made February 2, 2016 and later. You can book until February 1, 2016 on the current chart. That means all of 2016 is bookable at the 4,500 Avios price. Here is an award currently bookable for this Summer from Charlotte to Tampa for 4,500 Avios.
This change only affects flights to, from, or within the United States. Flights in other regions will maintain the current chart. Here is that current chart (in thousands of Avios):
Here is the chart for award bookings of flights that touch the United States starting February 2, 2016.
These are the last five days to book Avios awards within the United States for 4,500 Avios. You can book for the rest of 2016 and lock in the price. Cancellations of Avios awards cost as little as $5.60, so you may want to book some awards now even if you aren’t sure you’ll take them.