Update: Since I typed this up, via PFD, BA has denied any changes are forthcoming on Twitter. But I think the information on these flights are useful so I’m posting this anyway. These are still good flights to book, and potential devaluations are always a nice reminder to earn and burn.
So, I was about to go to bed around midnight last night when I caught wind of a possible British Airways devaluation that can happen any minute. It’s not official, but it makes sense that it’s going to happen. The first people I saw write about were Free-quent Flyer, View from the Wing, Milenomics, and PFD (plus KennyBSAT on Twitter) – so you can read more about the details there.
Anyway, at times like these, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy has the proper advice: Don’t Panic. Instead, book these great values just in case. I’ve included itinerary ideas, how to search, how to book, and how much it’ll cost you to cancel.
1. Short Haul AA/US flights in Economy (9000-25,000 Avios Round Trip)
As always, British Airways Avios short haul flights present the best value. If you know you have to take a trip – see if you can find space on AA or US and book the flights as an award. For example, a flight from Boston to JFK can put you back $300 in cash, or you can book it for 9000 Avios and $5.60. Here’s the award chart:
Anything under 650 miles (each way) for domestic AA or US flights is a great deal. Zone 2 is usually a pretty good to great deal, and you still should get a lot of value out of Zone 3 on AA/US domestic flights.
How to search: You should search for both AA and US short haul flights online at aa.com. This post explains how to do it if you’re unsure. One thing to note – you must look for direct sAAver flights only – two segment flights are going to increase your price because Avios are distance-based. Non sAAver flights won’t be available to book on British Airways
How to book: Once you’ve found the flights, you can just book them on britishairways.com. Navigate to “Book Flights with Avios” and just search on your date, you should see the same flights you found on aa.com
Cost to cancel: I’ve never had personal experience with this, but the general consensus is British Airways charges $55 OR all the taxes and fees you were charged, whichever is lower. So your cancellation charge if necessary should be $5.60 – worth the speculative booking.
2. West Coast to Hawaii in Economy (25,000 Avios Round Trip)
This is actually a specific short haul flight from #1, but merits its own mention because it’s the best value going to Hawaii. Any direct flight from the West Coast to Hawaii falls into Zone 3 and would only cost you 12,500 Avios and $5.60 each way.
How to search: Same as above, aa.com.
How to book: Same as above, britishairways.com
Cost to cancel: Same as above, $5.60 per segment
3. Boston to Dublin in Economy or Business on Aer Lingus (25,000 or 50,000 Avios Round Trip)
Using Avios, you can fly from Boston to Dublin for the same price as a domestic round trip. Or you can fly two people in Business class for 50,000 Avios each (100,000 total aka cheaper than almost everyone else’s transatlantic cost). Aer Lingus (a BA partner) has a direct flight (also one to Shannon) and it falls into Zone 3 – hence the awesome price.
A friend said to me last month ago – “Shouldn’t I just be pounding the Boston to Dublin flight over and over to get to Europe?” Answer – yes. Being Boston based, this is my biggest worry about a British Airways devaluation. There is more risk for this flight (cancellation fees) but a potentially higher reward (you’ll be in Europe!).
How to book: Ugh, the worst. You have to call British Airways, wait on hold forever, then feed them your flights. It’s annoying but worth it. 1-800-452-1201 is the number to call.
Cancellation fee: This should cost you $55 to cancel and an extra $25 service fee – so you might want to be a little more sure when you book this one.
I really hope this doesn’t happen or British Airways at least gives some warning, but Iberia didn’t and I’m not holding my breath. I’m sure there will be some sweet spots in the new chart, but this is going to be a real loss. I would say – I’m fresh out of Avios and I’m not transferring from Chase or Membership Rewards to speculatively book – I wouldn’t do that unless you know you’re going somewhere. But that’s just me. Hope this was helpful!
Update: As I said above, British Airways says the devaluation isn’t happening but who knows. These are still great trips to book regardless!