British Airways Flyer Program Changes

I have seen a lot of blog posts and forum posts bashing the new British Airways redemption schedule. They have gone from a fixed price (in point) schedule to a new one based on distance. This is both good and bad for BA frequent fliers depending on how they use their points. This makes perfect business sense for the airline but it is to be determined how their fliers will react.

I can see both good and bad points to this. The bad side is that the long haul flights require a LOT more miles. I cashed in 40,000 miles to go to Easter Island and back from the USA before the change happened. Today that would cost me 75,000 miles. These are both economy class tickets. 75,000 is still not bad to fly that far but almost double what it was. It gets really "expensive" if you want business class or first class which costs 2x or 3x the amount of miles needed respectively.

Now the flip side of this are the short haul flights. Since the levels are distance based there are some really good short haul deals to be had. Another example is getting the two of us to Miami to connect to our flight onward to Easter Island. I cashed in 27,000 BA miles for two first class one way tickets from Atlanta to Miami. That is only 2,000 miles more than 2 one way coach tickets using American's miles. A very good deal! Another great option is Atlanta to New York one way in coach for 7,500 each way! If Miami coach availability was there I could have gotten us there for only 4,500 each!

Other good redemption values include intra-Asia flights on Cathay. I can get a one way ticket from Bangkok to Hong Kong for 10,000 BA miles each way. Good luck finding redemption levels that low on any other airline's program! Also since my American Express Platinum and Chase Sapphire cards both allow me to transfer to British Airways I can easily earn points for these great redemptions.

While the changes are not all good news they are not all bad new either. I now have 2 options for booking awards where I can comparison shop and see what I can get for the least amount of points out of pocket. I will use fixed value programs for long hauls or multiple connections but will always check British for short jumps. Why spend 12,500 points when I can get the same seat on the same route for 4,500 or 7,500?