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MSE News: Airmiles becomes Avios: hurry to beat the cost hike

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MSE News: Airmiles becomes Avios: hurry to beat the cost hike

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Flights, Currency & Car Hire
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MSE_GuyMSE_Guy MSE Staff
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edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Flights, Currency & Car Hire
This is the discussion thread for the following MSE News Story:

"The Airmiles reward scheme has closed, which will mean passengers have to pay taxes and charges when redeeming flights ..."
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  • edited 17 November 2011 at 3:36PM
    thelawnetthelawnet Forumite
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    edited 17 November 2011 at 3:36PM
    Rather misleading this article.

    Firstly it's not very helpful to tell people to call Airmiles to compare when you could just put the info in the article.

    It's quite simple: if you were saving to go long-haul, you need to book now as the miles in future will be useless for economy redemptions.

    For short-haul Avios is still perfectly viable, and you don't need to worry too much. However obviously some you will lose out on.

    The Airmiles Zone 1 is UK-UK, London-Amsterdam, London-Paris, London-Brussels, London-Dublin. These flights will now cost 150 airmiles more (1500 avios), plus £27, so about another £40 equivalent cost - for these flights best book now under the airmiles rules. However for people flying to Amsterdam, Paris, Brussels or Dublin via London from a regional airport, the 500 mile supplement is now gone, so they are getting a better deal.

    The next thing is flights to Germany, the south of France, Switzerland, Innsbruck, Copenhagen, Salzburg , Prague, Genoa, and Turin have moved from Zone 2 to Zone 1, saving 600 airmiles but costing £27. This is effectively about £30 cheaper under Avios than airmiles. For those flying from a regional airport, the saving is 1100 airmiles, so about £60 worth of saving. So to any of these destinations, Avios is better than airmiles.

    The remaining Airmiles zone 2 destinations - Spain, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Italy except Turin and Genoa, Budapest and Vienna - that have not moved to Zone 1 will cost an extra £27 each. Best book now, unless again you are flying from a regional airport, in which case it's a better deal than before.

    For Airmiles Zone 3, Poland, Serbia, Algeria, Tunisia, Finland, Libya, and Croatia have all moved to Avios Zone 2, saving 1000 miles but costing £27. This is a big saving, about £60 worth net, even more from regional airports, so don't book under Airmiles!

    The rest of the old Zone 3: Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria, Albania, Romania, Kosovo is now slightly cheaper at 2000 airmiles (20,000 avios) rather 2500, but plus £27. This is a slightly better deal, even better from regional airports.

    The main improvement is to Russia - previously 5000 miles, now 2000 (equivalent). This is a saving worth about £200. Again, don't book under Airmiles, as Avios is much better!

    Unfortunately anything outside BA's Eurozone, attracting proper 3/4 class service, is now useless. This is anything served by a BA long-haul flight, including the Middle East and Egypt.

    There's really no need to hurry unless you have something specific in mind, the avios system is still a good one, as long as you are happy to confine yourself to short-haul destinations - long-haul of course it's still good if you want to upgrade to business class.
  • malkie76malkie76 Forumite
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    long-haul of course it's still good if you want to upgrade to business class.

    I'd argue it's an exceptional programme for upgrades - and that was something you could not do under the old airmiles programme.
    Legal team on standby
  • As someone who has just about scraped together 5000 airmiles with the intention of using them before the final 15th December cut off and avoid the extra taxes....just about enough to get me to Dubai, but I note with interest that the new list of destinations on the interim website, has downgraded Dubai to 40000 avios (or 4000 airmiles) and there are some new destinations at my current 5000 airmiles/50000 avios on the interim website which I might be interested in.

    I guess its too much to hope that booking a flight now will be under the "new" destination/miles list...

    Suspect when I phone up to make a booking it will be using the old destination/miles offers?
  • Regional airports that BA serves:

    Edinburgh - to Gatwick and Heathrow
    Glasgow - to Gatwick and Heathrow
    Aberdeen - to Heathrow
    Newcastle - Heathrow
    Manchester - Heathrow and Gatwick
    Jersey - Gatwick

    (There are also codeshares on Flybe, Loganair, etc.)

    You can book something like Aberdeen-Heathrow, road transfer to Gatwick - Tunis (BA fly to most places from Heathrow, but some only from Gatwick)

    Distances from London:

    Manchester 245km
    Jersey 301km
    Newcastle 399km
    Edinburgh 551km
    Glasgow 555km
    Aberdeen 642km

    I believe the plan is to charge for the total distance flown, so it's possible a regional flight to somewhere in Europe/North Africa/Turkey will be in a higher zone than one direct from London. However flights in Zone 3 won't go into Zone 4, because Zone 4 is for World flights, not Euro flights. So basically everything in Zone 3 will also be in Zone 3 even from Scotland.

    Everything in the old Airmiles Zone 1 should remain in Avios Zone 1, even from Aberdeen.
    The comparison here is 1250 miles versus 900 miles + £27. This is roughly the same, so no need to rush to spend now.

    Some flights in the old Airmiles Zone 2 that are now in Avios Zone 1 will probably be in Avios Zone 2 from regional airports. For instance some Italian destinations are Zone 1 from London, but will likely be Zone 2. However somewhere closer such as Dusseldorf, previously Zone 2 but now Zone 1, is likely to be Zone 1 even from Aberdeen.
    The comparison here for flights moving from Zone 2 to Zone 1:
    2000 miles versus 900 miles + £27 = a very good saving
    2000 airmiles versus 1500miles + £27, a smaller saving, but still a saving.

    So for any destination in old zone 2 from regional airports Avios is better.

    For the old zone 3, some will be in zone 2 from London but in zone 3 from certain regional airports. For those in Zone 2, you will save 1500 airmiles (equivalent) and spend £27, for those remaining in Zone 3, you will save 1000 airmiles and spend £27. Either is a much better deal than at present.

    So for anyone using airmiles to fly via London from a regional airport to a short-haul destination, Avios is as good or better. For something like Aberdeen-London, it's substantially worse, as the miles cost increases and you have to pay £27, but for one-stop flights from regional airports it's great.

    Really I think the article is a little irresponsible. I'm very happy with the changes.

    Firstly, my BA miles are now more flexible and can be merged with my Avios so I can either do airmiles-style redemptions on short-haul, or BA-miles-style miles-for-upgrade on long-haul.

    Secondly, long-haul flights on Airmiles were never the best choice - the cheapest long-haul was 5000 miles, 7 times more than a short-haul to Amsterdam or Paris, but the cost of a flight to say New York averages much less than 7 times more than a flight to Amsterdam. So they weren't really the 'money-saving option' before.

    Thirdly, all regional airport users are now better off.

    Fourthly, the expansion of zone 1 makes the scheme much more balanced - previously London-Frankfurt cost double London-Brussels, which was very unbalanced, but now the costs are more balanced making basically any Zone 1 - 3 redemption a rational choice when considered against the cost of buying the ticket for cash or when compared with other Zone 1 - 3 options.
  • As someone who has just about scraped together 5000 airmiles with the intention of using them before the final 15th December cut off and avoid the extra taxes....just about enough to get me to Dubai, but I note with interest that the new list of destinations on the interim website, has downgraded Dubai to 40000 avios (or 4000 airmiles) and there are some new destinations at my current 5000 airmiles/50000 avios on the interim website which I might be interested in.

    It's not downgraded.

    It used to be 5000 airmiles. Now it is 40000 + £279.13 in 'taxes'.

    If you want to book long-haul, book now, otherwise keep your miles and consider that for 5,000 miles plus £135 you can make five flights to Germany, Austria, France, some cities in Italy, Copenhagen, Switzerland or Prague.

    1500 miles to Tunis is a better bet than 5000 to Dubai....
  • Other thing is that the Club Europe redemptions on Avios are actually not a bad deal.

    For instance:

    London-Nice will cost 9000 miles plus £27. If we value the miles at 0.8p, that's £99.
    Or for 18,000 miles (double) plus £34 you can fly Club Europe. That's £178, £79 more.

    £79 (or more accurately £7, plus 9000 miles) gets you:

    more legroom, with no-one sitting next to you
    seat at the front of the plane - first off
    faster check-in (this might not save any time if economy check-in is quiet)
    fast-track security
    lounge access - you can go eat a meal, drink champagne, spirits, etc. A glass of champange and lunch in the airport is going to cost you £20+. A good £20's worth each way, the BA lounge is MUCH better than a pay-for lounge such as servisair costing around £16 for entry.
    better service on board including a proper meal (not on shorter flights!) instead of just a sandwich in economy
    another bag - up to 23kg weight - this costs £30 each way otherwise

    If you want more baggage, Club Europe is a no-brainer, otherwise for Zone 1 flights it works out the equivalent of another £40 each-way, which is worthwhile IMO, if you don't have BA status - you can easily spend £15 on a meal and a newspaper + magazine otherwise, plus you will be more comfortable on-board. Club Europe is no flat bed and caviar, but it's nicer than being in the back....

    For Zone 2, it's 15,000 miles more plus £7, about £64 worth each way, and for Zone 3, about £84 each way. To somewhere like Larnaca, four-and-a-half hours from London, £84 (equivalent) each-way is not a bad deal.

    I don't book Club Europe because I get all the on-the-ground benefits from my BA status, but if you don't, it's worth trying and £7 + extra airmiles is a pretty cheap way to do so.

    Another thing to mention about the Avios changes is that Club World now costs twice Economy, plus fees, insteas of three times Economy but no fees.

    Comparison:

    Old Scheme: London - San Francisco Club World - 24,000 Airmiles = 240,000 BA miles/Avios
    New Scheme: London - San Francisco Club World - 100,000 Airmiles + £478.33

    If an Avios is worth 0.8p, then you save 140,000 miles = £1120 worth of miles but only incur £478.33 in charges.

    Now admittedly this is a very favourable example, as SFO has gone from the 8000 band to the 5000 band, but overall it's very favourable for CW redemptions:

    Old 'World' bands:
    Zone 4 - was 15,000 in CW, now either 8,000 or 10,000, plus fees
    Zone 5 - was 19,500 in CW, now either 8,000, 10,000 or 12,000, plus fees
    Zone 6 - was 24,000 in CW, now either 10,000, 12,000 or 16,000, plus fees
    Zone 7 - was 30,000 in CW, now either 12,000, 14,000 or 20,000, plus fees

    The smallest saving is 5000 airmiles, i.e. 50,000 air miles, worth about £400. In every case, Club World redemptions are now better than under Airmiles

    You might say 'nobody was making CW redemptions using airmiles before', well that might be but it doesn't mean this is bad. You can fly Club World to Bangkok for £2,500, sale price. A redemption for 120,000 Avios plus £490 in fees is a saving of at least £1000 (total cost around £1500). Not cheap, but a money-saving opportunity that wasn't there before. Another option is to buy a WT+ ticket for around £1000 (sale price!) and spend £240 worth of Avios upgrading to Club.
  • thelawnet wrote: »
    Other thing is that the Club Europe redemptions on Avios are actually not a bad deal.

    For instance:

    London-Nice will cost 9000 miles plus £27. If we value the miles at 0.8p, that's £99.
    Or for 18,000 miles (double) plus £34 you can fly Club Europe. That's £178, £79 more.
    .

    I tried to make a booking earlier this morning on BA.com to that exact destination, but i was still quoted the 9000 miles plus around £80 in taxes???

    I take it i am just too early and they havent updated the site yet
  • SaveTheEuroSaveTheEuro Forumite
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    It's a poor start for Avios. The website was incapable of taking a booking this morning.

    And over on the BA Executive Club page it proved impossible to transfer BA Avois points to an Airmiles Avois account.

    Despite months of planning, Avois has failed to launch properly. The company appears to recognise its failures, The website has "found a bug?" messages and suggests you give up and phone them instead.

    Impressed? Hardly.
  • aptapt Forumite
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    allyjm wrote: »
    I tried to make a booking earlier this morning on BA.com to that exact destination, but i was still quoted the 9000 miles plus around £80 in taxes???

    I take it i am just too early and they havent updated the site yet

    Either that or you have not added airmiles to your account in the last 12 months so don't qualify for the £27 cap on charges.
  • allyjm wrote: »
    I tried to make a booking earlier this morning on BA.com to that exact destination, but i was still quoted the 9000 miles plus around £80 in taxes???

    I take it i am just too early and they havent updated the site yet

    At wee hours 'o clock? Not surprised.

    Working now, just before noon.

    Incidentally the miles plus cash option is there too, but at over 1p per Avios, all miles is a better option.

    Still, nice to add flexibility to the system.
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