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If you weren’t online and randomly browsing travel blogs last night, you missed what seemed like the world exploding. Worries that Iberia’s redemption chart would leak over to its sister company British Airways
Did Iberia go revenue-based while I wasn’t watching? Short domestic flights are pricing out astronomically
— Free-quent Flyer (@FreequentFlyr) August 24, 2014
Gary from View from the Wing was the first blogger (that I saw) to report it, but it wasn’t long before there were several others posting the news. I re-tweeted VFtW’s post but decided not to make a separate post because a) It was Sunday and I try to make that be a day of rest to spend at church / with family and b) I didn’t really have anything additional to say. I can’t imagine there’s too many people out there that follow me but not View From the Wing after all…. 🙂 In any case, there was quite the firestorm of Tweets and blog posts, with people talking about and recommending booking any and all speculative flights on American or British Airways before the impending and inevitable devaluation hit.
The “alleged” perpetrator
I feel like such a news reporter, talking about the “alleged” devaluation, since it hasn’t happened and may not ever happen. I do think that it is probably prudent to book something if you had a specific trip in mind (along the same vein as booking before the TSA fees went up recently), but I don’t know that I’d recommend booking things just to book them. I guess it depends on how many Avios you had and what trips you were thinking about. Personally, I don’t have any Avios in my account anyways since I get them from Chase Ultimate Rewards and just transfer them in when I need them – like I did to go on my recent flight to #FT4RL. In any case, it still remains to be seen what may or may not happen. Mommy Points had a well-thought out rebuttal, talking about how the last time BA devalued, they announced it, and that they are (sort of) denying it on social media.
So what if it DOES happen?
We’ve talked about it before, but this is the reason that you want to “earn em and burn em“. It’s dangerous to build up huge amounts of miles or points, because those 100,000 AAdvantage miles you worked so hard to get might be worth half as much overnight….
Many of the initial reports were talking about being a 4x devaluation (from 4500 Avios currently for a one way to 19,500 under the current Iberia redemption chart
Comparisons to the other distance-based airline (ANA)
While British Airways is probably the most popular distance-based award chart out there (at least with most travel hackers), there are a few other airlines who have distance-based charts. Probably the (next) most popular is All Nippon Airways (ANA). Take a look at their redemption chart
Certainly looks similar, right? And while I can’t find any instances where you’d actually want to use Iberia rather than the ANA chart (setting aside that Iberia and ANA belong to different alliances), unless you go all the way up to an itinerary of 25,000 miles+
Milenomics had a guest post a few months ago talking about using stopovers to book multiple different trips as one “award” on ANA, so the ANA chart is quite liberal with stopovers and thus does have some uses.
Not exactly a “silver” lining
While BA moving to the Iberia award chart WOULD be awful compared to its current (awesome) chart, thinking it the same way that you view the ANA chart does at least give a “grey” lining? Like I said, it’s still not as good as even ANAs at any reasonable flight distance, but as always, the devil is in the details.
We don’t know if it will change, or what it might change to, but the sky won’t fall. You’ll adjust (or get out of the hobby). I’m reminded of some of the things that Phil from MilesAbound talked about at the #FT4RL conference this past weekend – he’s been doing this since 1999 and the opportunities and the specifics change, both on the earning and the burning sides. If you’re just following a specific strategy, that strategy may end. But if you have the basic concepts down, and are willing to adjust your game as necessary, you’ll be fine, let devaluations come as they may…