British Airways Avios Devaluation

The biggest news going around the travel blogosphere lately is one we’re sadly all too familiar with… devaluation. British Airways announced some pricey changes to their loyalty program that will take effect April 28, 2015. The last time they changed their loyalty program was over 3 years ago so I suppose they’re due.

Earning Avios

There are changes to earning rates that, honestly, don’t concern me because I don’t ever fly or credit my miles to British Airways. You can read about them here.

Redeeming Avios

The changes that I care about most are the ones for redeeming Avios. Luckily, economy awards aren’t changing, but Avios amounts for premium cabin awards are definitely changing. Below is the new award chart for British Airways & Iberia metal.

New British Airways Award Chart

New British Airways Award Chart

Below is the peak calendar for 2015. Not bad if you fly BA/Iberia because most of the year is off-peak.

Peak & Off-Peak 2015

Peak & Off-Peak 2015

 

What if I use Avios to fly on partners instead of BA or Iberia?

Again, economy award rates won’t change. Premium Economy, Business and First class rates will definitely change.

Business Class redemptions will increase 50% on any route Zone 4 and beyond. This is unfortunate because there were some great sweet spot routes that fell in Zone 4. BOS-DUB & JFK-YVR are very popular.

Examples:

Boston to Dublin (Zone 4) is 25k one-way in Business Class on Aer Lingus, probably one of the best deals with Avios. On & after April 28th, BOS-DUB will be 37.5k in Business.

New York to Vancouver Zone 4) is 25k one-way in Business Class on Cathay Pacific’s Fifth Freedom flight, another top redemption with Avios. This will be 37.5k in Business going forward as well.

New York to Hong Kong (Zone 8) is 70k one-way in Business Class on Cathay Pacific. On April 28th, JFK-HKG will be 105k in Business.

What do I do now?

If you have a huge stockpile of Avios, it’s time to start thinking of redeeming the premium award you were saving for. Come April 28th, that award is only going to get more expensive. Devaluations are always good lessons for us; don’t hoard your miles & points!

As for me, I have less than 70k Avios in our household account so I won’t be employing any drastic measures. I also like to use Avios for their short-haul leverage; I flew to Montreal twice in 2014 for a mere 4,500 Avios each way. Since that award isn’t changing, I think I’ll keep some Avios handy for it.

Overall, this upcoming devaluation is bad news for those of us who like to redeem for premium travel. British Airways’ last devaluation made long-haul premium travel more expensive; this time around they might as well be unattainable.

A Machu Picchu Anniversary: Avianca Business Class Lima – Cusco

TRIP INDEX

After the great breakfast in the Club Lounge, we checked out and had the front desk arrange a taxi to the airport for us. Shortly, we were back at LIM.

It’s so busy there that they have security at the doors and will only let passengers in. We had to dig out our passports to gain entry to the check-in area. The check-in was quick because no one was using the Ejecutiva (Business) Class queue.

We then went upstairs to where security is located. It is a mad house because everyone is basically saying their goodbyes right in front of the entrance to security. We had to dodge so many people. Security was quick and easy and, eventually, we were at our gate ready to board.

TACA 805
Lima (LIM) – Cusco (CUZ)
16 February 2014
Depart: 10:25 am
Arrive: 11:45 am
Duration: 1hr 20min
Aircraft: Embraer E-190
Seats: 1D, 1K (Business Class)

Joann and I were the very first passengers to board the regional jet that fit only 96 passengers. There were only 2 other people in Business and Economy wasn’t full either.

The seats were fine, just like most domestic First Class recliner seats. Business Class has a 1-2 layout. We sat on the right side so we could sit next to each other.

Avianca E-190 Business Class to Cusco

Avianca E-190 Business Class to Cusco – Single Side

For an 80 minute flight, the food was great – simple and fresh. It was a cold plate featuring chicken and some type of salsa. It was better than some meals I’ve had in domestic First in the States.

Avianca E-190 Business Class to Cusco

Avianca E-190 Business Class to Cusco

All throughout the flight, we were treated with breathtaking views of the Andes Mountains. Upon approach, there were amazing views of the city of Cusco.

Avianca E-190 Business Class to Cusco

Avianca E-190 Business Class to Cusco

Avianca E-190 Business Class to Cusco
As soon as we landed and inhaled that thin air 11,000+ feet above sea level, the first thing on my mind was where to get coca tea or oxygen or anything that would prevent altitude sickness!

Once we collected our checked bag, we went outside to look for the driver that we had arranged with our hotel. There weren’t as many taxi drivers as Lima airport so he was easy to spot and we were on our short journey to Palacio del Inka.

Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport

Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport

A Machu Picchu Anniversary: Avianca Business Class New York (JFK) – Bogota – Lima

TRIP INDEX

Our trip once again started off at JFK Airport as we were graciously dropped off by my parents very early in the morning. I was glad to be flying Business Class because the check-in queue for Economy was dreadfully long.

The Avianca check-in agent could only check our bag to Lima, instead of all the way to Cusco, so we’d have to retrieve it for our short overnight in Lima.

The security line was quite long so we decided to bypass the Star Alliance lounge in Terminal 4. Had we had enough time, we would have been granted access to the Swiss Air Lounge. If you find yourself flying Star Alliance and wondering what lounges you have access to, just use the Star Alliance Lounge Finder.

Regardless, we were ecstatic to be leaving this:

Snowy & Icy NYC

Snowy & Icy NYC

Avianca 21
New York (JFK) – Bogota (BOG)
15 February 2014
Depart: 6:40 am
Arrive: 12:39 pm
Duration: 5hr 59min
Aircraft: Airbus A330-200
Seats: 5J, 5K (Business Class)

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RTW to Bali: Cathay Pacific Business Class, Hong Kong – Denpasar, Bali

TRIP INDEX

Joann and I made our way through Hong Kong International, taking in the sights, people watching, and admiring the clean, bright conditions that HKG seemed to be in. It was a far cry from our home airport, EWR, that’s for sure.

HKG (Hong Kong) – DPS (Denpasar)
CX785
26 AUG 2012
Boeing 747-400
Business Class, Upper Deck

Seats 81A, 81K

Boarding & Settling In

When we got to the gate, Business Class was invited to board and we were the first ones on the this 747, the Queen of the Skies. I definitely wanted to make sure we got a shot of the stairs going up to the upper deck!

cathay pacific hong kong denpasar business class bali  hkg dps 747

Stairway to heaven?

The stairs lead to the aft of the upper deck cabin. A very friendly flight attendant greeted us and showed us to our seats at the very front, right behind the flight deck. It was really cool to be right behind the pilots on the upper deck.

We were offered pre-departure drinks and started back up on the champagne. I could get used to starting a flight with some bubbly!

Upper Deck Business Class

Upper Deck Business Class

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