British Airways Increases Alaska Airlines and American Airlines Award Pricing


Once again, British Airways Executive Club has devalued Alaska Airlines and American Airlines awards booked with Avios. 

As first reported by One Mile at a Time, award pricing for Alaska Airlines or American Airlines flights has increased for the second time in just seven months. Compared to this time last year, some award costs have nearly doubled, while others have spiked significantly.

Fortunately, you may be able to book the same flights for less, either by using a different flavour of Avios or by using different loyalty programs altogether.

British Airways Devalues Alaska Airlines and American Airlines Awards Again

In December 2023, British Airways increased the cost of booking Alaska Airlines and American Airlines flights with Avios by as much as 32%. 

Unfortunately, the cost has risen yet again with another no-notice devaluation of awards from British Airways Executive Club.

As a reminder, British Airways Avios have historically been great to use for shorter-haul flights in economy or business class around the world. This used to include flights with American Airlines and Alaska Airlines, which are both oneworld airlines, to destinations across North America.

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You can book flights with American Airlines and Alaska Airlines using Avios

British Airways no longer publishes an official award chart for travel with British Airways or partner airlines; however, pricing had been consistent with the previous charts until the recent changes were implemented.

It appears that only the first four distance bands in the historical chart have been affected this time, which means that flights longer than 3,001 miles haven’t seen the same devaluations.

The below chart shows the former cost in Avios for economy flights with Alaska Airlines and American Airlines in each distance band, as well as the new prices through the two devaluations.

(Note that the percentage shown is the difference between the original pricing and the devalued pricing, and not incremental changes between devaluations).

Cost in Avios 
(Before devaluations)

Cost in Avios
(December 2023 devaluation)

Cost in Avios
(July 2024 devaluation)

The below chart shows the former cost in Avios for business class flights with Alaska Airlines and American Airlines, as well as the new prices through the two devaluations.

Cost in Avios 
(Before devaluations)

Cost in Avios
(December 2023 devaluation)

Cost in Avios
(July 2024 devaluation)

As you can see, the costs have risen by 29–94% compared to what they were prior to the December 2023 devaluation.

Overall, business class award pricing has seen the sharpest total rise, nearly doubling in some cases, while economy pricing has also seen a significant spike. 

No-notice devaluations like these don’t instill a lot of confidence from program members, as it sends the message that award prices can and will change without advance notice.

Furthermore, it illustrates the best practice of keeping transferable points held in your account until you have a planned redemption in mind, since doing so can help defend you from sudden devaluations.

In other words, it’s best to keep your American Express Membership Rewards, RBC Avion, American Express US Membership Rewards, Capital One Miles, and Chase Ultimate Rewards (all transfer partners with British Airways Executive Club) points in those accounts until you need them for a specific, planned redemption.

Book the Same Flights with a Different Flavour of Avios

After these devaluations, your best bet to book the same American Airlines or Alaska Airlines flights are with American Airlines AAdvantage miles or Alaska miles directly. This is especially the case with Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan, which recently underwent sweeping changes, and short-haul flights have the potential for excellent redemption value.

However, both AAdvantage miles and Alaska miles are rather difficult to accrue when compared to British Airways Avios. Therefore, if you used Avios to book American Airlines and Alaska Airlines flights, you may find yourself in a bit of a bind.

img 668840f4035f4
Booking flights with Alaska Airlines and American Airlines now costs more with British Airways Avios

One thing to keep in mind is that six loyalty programs now use Avios as a currency: British Airways Executive Club, Qatar Airways Privilege Club, Finnair Plus, Iberia Plus, Aer Lingus AerClub, and Vueling Club.

Furthermore, you can instantly convert one type of Avios into a different “flavour” of Avios online at a 1:1 ratio.

One strategy to keep in mind, especially if you found value in redeeming British Airways Avios for flights with American Airlines and Alaska Airlines, is to compare award pricing between different programs that use Avios.

For example, a one-way flight in economy from Miami to Toronto costs 18,000 Avios plus $7.60 in taxes and fees if booked with British Airways Avios.

Screen Shot 2024 07 05 at 11.31.45 AM

The same flight booked with Qatar Airways Avios costs 11,000 Avios plus $10 in taxes and fees. 

Screen Shot 2024 07 05 at 11.30.08 AM

Notably, 11,000 Avios is the cost that British Airways used to charge prior to the December 2023 devaluation. So, by converting your British Airways Avios into Qatar Airways Avios, which only takes a few seconds, you can benefit from lower, pre-devaluation pricing for the same flight.

Similarly, a one-way flight from Seattle to Honolulu with Alaska Airlines costs 13,000 Avios in economy or 38,750 Avios in business class if booked with Qatar Airways Avios… 

Screen Shot 2024 07 05 at 11.47.09 AM

Alternatively, you’d now need to spend 20,000 Avios in economy or 50,000 Avios in business class if booked with British Airways Avios. 

Screen Shot 2024 07 05 at 11.46.24 AM

In other words, you can still access the pre-December 2023 devaluation pricing in Avios by leveraging pricing through Qatar Airways Privilege Club instead of through British Airways Executive Club.

Note that you can book American Airlines flights with Qatar Airways Avios online; however, you’ll need to either call in or submit a request for manual ticketing to book Alaska Airlines flights.

Conclusion

For the second time in less than a year, British Airways Executive Club has devalued awards with American Airlines and Alaska Airlines.

In total, the cost for awards has risen by 29–94% over the two recent devaluations, which is unfortunate news for anyone who redeemed Avios for these flights.

On the bright side, you can still get Alaska Airlines and American Airlines flights for the same price in Avios prior to the December 2023 devaluation by converting your British Airways Avios into Qatar Airways Avios, which happens instantly at a 1:1 ratio.





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