In July 2023, British Airways Executive Club announced changes to the way members will earn British Airways Avios on paid flights.
The changes kicked in as of October 18, 2023, and passengers now accrue Avios with a revenue-based earning model. This is a change from the previous distance- and fare-based system, and the UK-based airline has now joined the ranks of other carriers who have switched to this structure.
British Airways Implements Revenue-Based Model for Earning Avios on Flights
British Airways has changed the way passengers earn Avios on paid flights.
As a reminder, passengers historically earned Avios based on several factors, including the total distance flown, the fare bucket, and their Tier status.
As of October 18, 2023, the Avios earned is now based on each British pound (£) spent on base fares and carrier-imposed surcharges, as well as status level:
- Blue members earn 6 Avios per £1 spent
- Bronze members earn 7 Avios per £1 spent
- Silver members earn 8 Avios per £1 spent
- Gold members earn 9 Avios per £1 spent
In addition to restructured earning rates, British Airways Executive Club now allows members to earn Avios on ancillary costs, such as baggage, seat selection, and cabin upgrade fees. Previously, passengers didn’t earn Avios on these fees.
It’s important to note that this change doesn’t impact the Tier Points model, which is used to calculate your Executive Club status. Even after October 18, 2023, you’ll still earn Tier Points according to your fare class and the distance flown, which can be predicted using the airline’s calculator.
Flights with Iberia and American Airlines have also adopted the same revenue-based earning model, whereby Executive Club members will earn Avios based on the price paid instead of the distance flown. You’ll also earn Avios on ancillary charges when flying Iberia as well.
However, for flights marketed by other Oneworld airlines or independent partners, British Airways Executive Club members will continue to earn Avios based on the number of miles flown and adjusted for the fare bucket they’re in.
In other words, if you credit the points earned from flying with other Oneworld airlines to your Executive Club account, there won’t be any changes to the earning rate, even after October 18, 2023.
Who Stands to Benefit from Revenue-Based Earning?
With the switch to a revenue-based earning structure, it’s worth considering who stands to benefit and who might lose out.
The biggest winners from this change are long-haul premium cabin passengers flying on revenue tickets. More often than not, these are business travellers who don’t pay out of their own pocket for their flights, and stand to earn British Airways Avios at an accelerated pace compared to before.
Another group that could benefit are those with British Airways Executive Club status, since they’ll enjoy a higher bonus compared to those without status. However, it’s worth noting that members with Gold status will earn proportionally fewer Avios compared to base-level members than before.
On the other hand, this change could be negative for passengers without status, or those who fly on discounted rates.
However, since British Airways’s lowest fare bucket currently allots only 25% of the miles flown, it’s not as dramatic of a shift as it could have been if members had earned 100% of the miles flown, as was the case when many US carriers moved to a revenue-based model.
For example, let’s use a flight from Vancouver to London to see how the old and new systems compare.
First, let’s consider a traveller who books the lowest business class fare and has Gold status.
As it stands, they’d earn 11,810 Avios under the old system.
Once the new revenue-based earning model is adopted, they’ll earn the same 11,810 Avios as long as the ticket price is higher than £1,312 ($2,200 CAD), and more Avios as the cost increases from there.
For another example, let’s consider a passenger who books the lowest possible economy fare and doesn’t have any status.
Under the current system, the traveller would earn 1,181 Avios, since they’d earn 25% of the total distance flown (4,723 miles).
With the new model, they’d come out ahead as long as the total cost of the base fare and carrier-imposed surcharges is more than £197 ($335 CAD), since they’d earn 6 Avios per £1 spent.
For the cohort of passengers without status and who travel on discounted economy fares, as long as the total cost of the base fare and carrier-imposed surcharges is greater than or equal to 1/6 of what would be earned under the current system, you’ll wind up coming out ahead. If it’s any less, then you stand to lose out.
Furthermore, passengers will eventually be able to earn British Airways Avios on their baggage, seat selection, and cabin upgrade fees, which can be seen as a positive.
This change won’t impact travellers who fly primarily on other Oneworld airlines or independent partners, as they’ll continue to accrue Avios under the same model.
The only exception to this is Iberia, which will shift to a revenue-based model along with British Airways, and the same advantages and disadvantages can be applied there.
British Airways Executive Club has implemented a change to the way members earn Avios on flights with British Airways and Iberia. As of October 18, 2023, passengers earn Avios based on the total price of their ticket in British pounds (£) instead of distance flown.
With any revenue-based model, the people who stand to benefit the most are the ones who pay more for flights. This is especially true if you also have Executive Club status, since you will earn more Avios per pound spent that way.
However, passengers that stand to lose the most from this change are mostly those who travel on discounted fares and don’t have status. However, this isn’t always the case, since the earning rate was quite low to begin with.
Now that the change has been implemented, British Airways joins the growing chorus of airlines that are moving to a revenue-based model for accruing loyalty points.