British Airways Devalues American and Alaska Awards
One of the best uses of British Airways Avios traditionally has been for flights on American Airlines and Alaska Airlines. This was particularly true for short-haul flights under 1,150 miles. However, it appears that British Airways has increased the cost of awards on both American and Alaska. Let's look at the new landscape as British Airways devalues American and Alaska awards.
Short-Haul Redemptions via British Airways
British Airways has been our go-to airline for short-haul redemptions on Oneworld partner airlines. Whether we're talking about domestic flights on American Airlines or Alaska Airlines, or short-haul flights throughout Asia on Cathay Pacific or Japan Airlines, British has regularly offered the best rates.
Yet in September 2023, British devalued awards on Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines without any notice. Has anyone noticed a pattern here?
Until this week, flights under 650 miles with American or Alaska would cost just 7,500 miles via British Airways in economy or 12,500 in business class. And flights between 651 miles and 1,150 miles would cost just 9,000 miles in economy and 16,500 in business. Flights within this distance band include flights between Miami and New York or between Dallas and Chicago.
Now, the cost of redemptions on American and Alaska has increased. Here is our table comparing the new prices:
|Economy – old
|Economy – new
|Business – old
|Business – new
|1 – 650 miles
|651 – 1150 miles
|1,151 – 2000 miles
|2001 – 3000 miles
The biggest increases are clearly for business class flights, but the cost increase for economy flights is also not insignificant. Despite this devaluation, British remains one of the easiest options for domestic redemptions on American and Alaska given how easy it is to earn British Airways Avios.
British Airways Devalues Cathay and Japan Airlines: ToP Thoughts
This devaluation is a big bummer given how useful British Airways can be for booking flights with American and Alaska. Devaluations are never fun, but this definitely could have been much worse. The new rates are still affordable (especially for flights in economy). Although business class redemptions have increased by a lot, the ease with which we can earn Avios and the regular transfer bonuses from different banks can still make business class redemptions viable. The lack of any notice is just unnecessary and adds salt to the wound.