British Airways today announced that it will be combining its frequent flyer program, the Executive Club, with Iberia Airlines’ Iberia Plus program to form Avios. British Airways has four award charts for different types of reward tickets, but the new program will be realigned on November 1st, 2011.
Currently, British Airways has a very advantageous award chart for single carrier redemption to Asia and South America. For example, for 100,000 miles and about $150-200 in taxes, one can fly on Cathay Pacific business class from New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Vancouver or Toronto to Hong Kong and have multiple stopovers in Asia. It is possible to go from New York to Hong Kong, have stopover for a week, head over to Bangkok, have another stopover for a week and then fly back to Hong Kong and back to New York for 100,000 miles.
Another award that The Flight Deal team is taking advantage of in November is 80,000 miles on LAN Chile in business class to fly from New York, Miami, Los Angeles or San Francisco to Lima/Santiago/Buenos Aires etc with stopovers in each city. These two examples are significantly lower than the counterpart awards with American, United, Delta or US Airways.
While British Airways has not published their new award chart, it’s more than likely that these advantageous rewards will go away. We all should remember the golden rule with miles: use them as you accrue them (but only for international premium seats or high priced economy class tickets). Miles are not an investment vehicle. What we have seen over the past few years is the constant devaluation of miles by the likes of United, Delta, US Airways and American.