British Airways has quietly rolled out a new trial method for redeeming Avios to the USA, Canada and Mexico. The crux of this trial is the ability to redeem Avios, at a premium, even when there is no ordinary Avios availability.
BA devalued Avios redemptions on partner airlines on 30th May 2019, although it’s fair to say it wasn’t the carnage that we first feared. One of the key changes that many had been and are anticipating from BA is the introduction of some sort of dynamic Avios pricing.
Well, this isn’t dynamic pricing either but it does seem to offer additional opportunities to redeem your Avios.
More Avios, for better availability
The funky name for this new Avios option is Additional Price Point Options (APPO).
I’ve spoken to British Airways this morning and have tried to piece together the pricing levels for this new availability as well as the general rules that apply when using it. This is what we know so far:
- All British Airways Executive Club members can use this new option
- Can only be used for Club World redemptions at the moment
- Can also be used when upgrading from World Traveller Plus to Club World
- This new redemption option relies on there being ‘I’ class (the cheapest Club World fare bucket) availability – you can check this via the likes of ExpertFlyer
- You can mix and match – i.e. combine a new-style redemption one-way with a standard Avios redemption on the other leg.
- You cannot use a British Airways 2-4-1 companion voucher when making an APPO booking
- These tickets can only be booked over the phone
- Usual Avios cancellation and change fees apply
According to the BA agent I spoke to, there is no end date that has currently been given for the end of this trial.
How many extra Avios are required?
While trying not to exhaust the patience of the BA agent, I tried to extract as many pricing examples as possible. Feel free to add any extra pricing info in the comments and I’ll add it in.
Confusingly, the person I spoke to suggested that there was different APPO pricing depending on whether you were travelling on peak/off-peak dates. This contradicts info given to Flyertalk member teledude so further clarification is required.
These are supposedly off-peak return prices. With the exception of New York, a regular Avios redemption to any of these destinations normally costs 125,000 Avios:
- New York – 194,000 Avios, normally 100,000
- San Fransisco – 256,000 Avios
- Miami – 240,000
- Los Angeles – 224,000
- Atlanta – 240,000
- Orlando – 240,000
- Tampa – 224,000
- Las Vegas – 240,000 Avios
Using more Avios isn’t new for some
One of the most underrated benefits of British Airways Gold status is the ability to book a Gold Priority Reward. This allows BA Gold members to pay double Avios for any seat, as long as there are still cash tickets available.
There a number of key differences between this trial and a Gold Priority Reward, none greater than the fact this trial is open to all BA Executive Club members. There is also no requirement to book at least 30 days out – as is the case with Gold Priority Rewards.
On the other hand, Gold Priority Rewards used to book for tickets in any cabin, class as opposed to Club World-only. There are also no charges to cancel a Gold Priority Reward.
This isn’t dynamic pricing, or perhaps it is just without the dynamic aspect. These appear to be fixed increases.
Some might seek to portray this as a devaluation – I definitely don’t agree. Provided regular Avios redemptions remain available, availability permitting, I certainly hope to see this trial extended across BA’s route network. There are times when you would be willing to accept an increase in the amount of Avios required in order to travel on your preferred dates/flights.
I will continue to update this article with further details as they become available.