British Airways moves to revenue-based Avios earning

How many Avios you’ll earn with BA now depends on how much you spend, rather than how many miles you fly.

By David Flynn, October 19 2023
British Airways moves to revenue-based Avios earning

Frequent flyers on British Airways will notice a significant change to how their Avios reward miles are tallied from today, with the Oneworld airline switching from its long-held calculation based on the distance you fly to how much you spend instead.

The number of Avios earned by Executive Club members now factors in the price of your ticket, along with additional spending on the likes of upgrades, pre-paid seat selection and excess baggage, at a rate of between six and nine Avios per £1 spent.

Many airlines have made a similar shift from miles-based earning to revenue-based earning, and the happiest of high flyers are those who typically travel in business or first class.

Naturally, passengers who sit further towards the back of the plane and rely on discounted tickets stand to be worse off.

The number of Avios per £1 is also geared according to the traveller’s Tier status in the Executive Club:

  • Blue members receive 6 Avios per qualifying £1 spent
  • Bronze members receive 7 Avios per qualifying £1 spent
  • Silver members receive 8 Avios per qualifying £1 spent
  • Gold members receive 9 Avios per qualifying £1 spent

What hasn’t changed, BA says, is “the way you spend your Avios or collect Tier Points.” 

An Avios analysis

As a practical example, British Airways’ Kangaroo Route from London to Sydney via Singapore is a trip of 10,672 miles, for which an Executive Club Gold member travelling on a flexible business class ticket – which currently costs around £7700 today – previously earned 37,051 Avios.

Now, that same flight earns 69,300 Avios (almost twice as many as before) based on that £7700 fare and a 9x Avios multiplier based on the passenger’s Gold status.

However, the Avios earn on shorter trips into Europe – which are more commonly done in economy, especially when top-tier frequent flyers already enjoy status perks such as lounge access and priority boarding – have taken a hit.

The same Gold-grade BA frequent flyer making the 1h45m dash between London and Frankfurt on the lowest-priced economy ticket – costing around £50 – now lands just 450 Avios under the new revenue-based model, versus the previous 625.

While that 175 Avios shortfall – or 350 Avios on a return trip – is not a large amount in itself, you can appreciate how frequent flyers regularly doing these UK-EU hops stand to lose out in the long run.

Business class travellers on long-range international trips will come out ahead in the Avios overhaul.
Business class travellers on long-range international trips will come out ahead in the Avios overhaul.

The new Avios-earning scheme is ironically of extra benefit to premium cabin travellers saddled with the current slew of high airfares, while pushing down the Avios haul of anybody who snares a heavily-discounted sale fare, even in business class.

BA describes the Avios-per-pound model as “a more consistent and clearer approach” to earning points which can later be turned into upgrades or free flights.

“This is a simpler and more transparent system offering more opportunities to collect Avios than ever before and rewarding loyalty based on customers’ cash spend,” said Ian Romanis, British Airways’ Director of Retail and Customer Relationship Management.

The same approach was adopted by British Airways' sister airline Iberia in 2022.

British Airways notes that flights marketed by other airline partners – such as Oneworld members including Qatar Airways, which also uses Avios – continue to collect Avios “based on how far you fly, the cabin you fly in and your Executive Club Tier level.”

BA has a detailed explainer online at britishairways.com/en-gb/executive-club/faqs/collecting-avios-changes.

Aegean Airlines - Miles & Bonus

16 Jul 2019

Total posts 25

Thanks David - that's all clear but I'm wondering how the new policy will impact earning and retaining status in BA Exec Club. Will all Business fares still earn the same tier credits or will this also be impacted based on spend? 

Perhaps questions for another day - but would be good for readers to know in due course when that's released.  

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Nov 2016

Total posts 44

"What won’t change, BA says, is “the way you spend your Avios or collect Tier Points.” 

Aegean Airlines - Miles & Bonus

16 Jul 2019

Total posts 25

UPDATE 

I see from the Q&A in the link that tier point collection remains unchanged. 

"No, we are changing the way members collect Avios when they fly. There is no change to the way you collect Tier Points or the number of Tier Points needed to reach the Executive Club membership levels".

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Nov 2016

Total posts 44

How is a system that needs more calculation deemed to be "simpler" ?

05 Mar 2015

Total posts 407

Well, because nobody has any idea of the number of miles between Sydney and London for example, or between almost any two other points on the globe, so they have to look that up, and almost nobody knows about GCMap or similar, and THEN they have to apply Tier bonuses. Sure, most people just use the BA Avios & Tiers calculator, but my point is that it's a lot easier and more obvious for somebody to look at their airfare, which they know right away and up front, look at their Tier which they also know, and then do the maths or just put both numbers into their phone's calculator.

05 Mar 2015

Total posts 407

I have to say, I am in favour of revenue-based systems. I know that makes me the odd one out but I don't see why somebody who pays the higher fare for business or first or even premium economy shouldn't be earning a LOT more points and be recognised by the airline's loyalty program for their spend, compared to people on discount or sale fares in economy.

Points which use 'miles flown' as their baseline, and then a status or tier bonus of sorts, don't come close to properly rewarding the real loyalty to a business of people who spend big on the front cabins AND have high status to boot.

GAG
GAG

19 Oct 2020

Total posts 2

This isn’t about rewarding loyalty, it’s about rewarding value or worth to the airline. Loyalty is rewarded with tier bonuses, value or worth is rewarded by recognising the dollars spent

Cathay Pacific - Asia Miles

19 Jul 2023

Total posts 1

Airfare goes up (inflation), you pay higher fares and get more Avios. If the award chart stays the same, the reward you get will increase for taking the same flight as time goes by. Hence expect regular avios devaluation in the future.

19 Jul 2023

Total posts 1

Far be it from me to question your maths, but I think you have got the Avios comparison between the existing and the new systems a little wrong in relation to the Kangaroo route example you published. 

A Gold member travelling under the existing system on a flexible fare of £7700 would receive over 37000 Avios each way, so a total of over 74000 (350% of base mileage each way).

Under the new system he or she would receive 7700 minus government taxes etc (say £400) x9. So 7300 x 9 = 65700.

So, far from being better off, this loyal Gold member with an expensive ticket is in fact worse off. I wonder if you think a correction might be appropriate as we Gold members are mightily displeased with this change from BA?

Many thanks. 

British Airways - Executive Club

06 Apr 2018

Total posts 13

Markie77 is correct. As someone who often does Syd- Europe in J with BA I always get over 60k Avios return (depends on exact fare classes). I would also note that you can usually get this route for less than 7k GBP so I would expect a slight drop in the number of Avios earned. 

The big devaluation here is that GOLD members now only get 50% more Avios - before it was 100%!


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