The widespread loyalty scheme Avios, previously known as Air Miles, has changed the structure of its reward system so that millions of passengers flying economy will no longer get their cherished reward points.
Estimates show that passengers who fly in the cheaper seats will have the air miles they usually accumulate cut by up to 75%. Theyíll have to swallow another bitter pill because many of those flying in first and business class are to be rewarded with extra loyalty points.
A further alteration to the system will mean that those who are flying from outside London and need to get a connecting flight into Europe will use up twice the rewards they once did because such a journey will count as two flights.
For example, under the previous regulations if you booked a journey from the East Midlands to Madrid with a connecting flight from London, it would all be considered just one journey. From April 28th, when the changes are expected to be implemented, you will require double the points to complete such a journey. However, the silver lining is that this rule will only apply to short-haul flights.
This long-established reward scheme is managed by the parent company of British Airways, IAG. It is extremely popular and boasts almost 6.5 million members.
There are a number of ways to earn points under the Avios scheme. The foundation of the business model was that customers flying with either BA, Flybe or Iberia earn a point per mile- thus an 800-mile trips rewards the flyer with 800 points.
However, to add extra incentive, Avios members have been able to supplement the points they earn through flying via items they buy for their homes. By shopping with a Tesco Clubcard or buying online at Topshop and John Lewis, customers can earn a significant amount of points. Further to this, there are credit card schemes such as the Lloyds Bank Avios Credit and BAís American Express card. Estimates inform us that if a consumer were to spend £500 each month on their credit card they would receive around 6,000 Avios points per annum.
However, these proposed changes are significant. Now the amount of Avios points customers can earn is dependent on not only the class of the ticket but the type of ticket within that class. Under the previous scheme a 2000 mile economy flight gave the customer 2000 points regardless of the type of ticket. The change means that if you buy the least expensive economy seat you will get just 500 points. Furthermore, the customers with standard-priced economy tickets in this 2000 mile flight will get 1000 points and only those with the most amenable economy seats will get the full 2000 points.
The benefits are going to be for the big spenders. In the above example of a 2000 mile flight, a first-class passenger will gain 6000 Avios points whilst a business-class air-traveller will get 5000.
There is some good news for all customers in that BA has said it would offer another half a million seats available to be booked through Avios points each year. Furthermore, for those travelling in the off-peak season, which should make up eight months of the year, many flights will require less points than before. For example, an economy traveller from London to Paris will require 4000 points under the new regulations and not 4500 as before.