I’ve never strongly considered paying for part of a British Airways ticket using Avios. I’ve heard there are a few edge cases where it might be useful on business class purchases, often when a promo is running, but I generally prefer using points for full rewards, not partial payment or upgrades. So maybe that’s why I’ve never seen a scenario like the one I found today when pricing out a trip. The more Avios I was willing to spend, the less useful they became. Turns out that’s a common play for Avios.
Typically points grow in value the more you have. It is rare that a 10,000 point award will be worth more than a 20,000 point award, both on an absolute basis and on a per point basis (JetBlue TrueBlue is generally an exception to this trend). Avios are in something of a strange spot where the potential of the 4500 point short-haul awards (0-600 miles) can be amazing; some short hops are awfully expensive, like the £526 LHR-GVA walk-up fare I needed back in February after a Norwegian flight canceled on me. Getting that for 4500 Avios + $27.50 was a huge win. Even with the rates in North America now starting at 7,500 the options can be pretty good.
In this particular case the sliding scale for points value is also going down as the points spent goes up. I actually did a double-take looking at it, assuming I was groggy early on a Sunday morning rather than the points being valued that way. And then I started checking more itineraries to make sure I wasn’t really going crazy.
I checked multiple currencies and routes. They’re all the same.
Maybe (probably) it has always been this awful a deal but this is the first time I bothered to pay attention. Talk about disappointing.
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