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Selecting redemption destinations on the edges of the pricing bands

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Old Dec 3, 13, 11:26 am
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Selecting redemption destinations on the edges of the pricing bands

Inspired by Raffles’ recent article that identified interesting anomalies in Executive Club redemption pricing, whereby you can benefit from selecting your destination (or connections) that bring you very close to the edge of a distance band. So, I went forth and created a series of pricing band charts which illustrate the distance bands from a selection of origins, highlighting destinations located in the margins of each band. Indicated in green are the destinations that fall inside the distance band; those in red fall outside of the band. The coverage doesn’t reflect the full network, only those on the band margins.

For those in need of a recap, here is the current pricing table for standard (distance based) redemptions


Current rates for redemption flights






You will note that variable pricing applies to redemptions on British Airways, OpenSkies, and Iberia, dividing the calendar into peak and off-peak dates. For BA flights, peak rates generally apply to UK school holidays and the BAEC does appear to be reserving Tuesdays and Wednesdays throughout the year at the off-peak rate. There is now a separate tariff and calendar of peak/off peak dates for IB flights although BA and IB flights between LHR and MAD are charged per the BA flight table and calendar.

A 12 month forward view of BA and IB peak and off peak dates is published on BA.com. See here and navigate to “Working out the cost”

Redemptions on oneworld and partner airlines, including Flybe mainline (but excluding BE routes operated from London City) are priced at a single year round rates equivalent to BA's higher peak rates.
Important:
Redemption rates for travel on American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, and TAM will start at 7,500 Avios rather than 4,500 Avios, effectively pricing Distance Band 1 flights as Band 2.

Redemption rates for travel on American Airlines within the United States in First Class are calculated at Business Class providing the flight operates as a two class service
Certain routes such as LHR-LCA, LHR-JNB, LHR-CPT, LHR-MEX, LAX-HKG, and JFK-HKG have been adjusted at slightly lower rates than their true distance suggests. However, DUB-BOS on Aer Lingus is now priced as a Zone 5 redemption which is marginally greater than the true flight distance. BA's Avios Calculator is the higher authority so we recommend you use it to check each flight.


Short haul redemption bands - origin London
The number of Avios displayed and applicable to each band are based on Peak rates


Long haul redemption bands - origin London
The number of Avios displayed and applicable to each band are based on Peak rates




Short haul redemption bands - origin Madrid
The number of Avios displayed and applicable to each band are based on Peak rates. Note, the redemption rates for Iberia flights differ slightly from the normal rates.


Long haul redemption bands - origin Madrid
The number of Avios displayed and applicable to each band are based on Peak rates


Long haul redemption bands - origin Dublin


Redemption bands - origin Doha


Redemption bands - origin Hong Kong


Redemption bands - origin Kuala Lumpur


Redemption bands - origin Tokyo




Redemption bands - origin Santiago


Redemption bands - origins DFW, MIA, NYC, and ORD
Finally, as many of us are using Avios to redeem on North American domestic flights, and since many of these trips involve connecting flights, the final series of diagrams illustrate the benefits some American Airlines hub have over others when planning your trip.








Last edited by Prospero; Oct 7, 17 at 6:16 pm Reason: General update
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Old Dec 3, 13, 11:26 am
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Radiating distance bands from focus cities

Redemption bands - origin Singapore

Last edited by Prospero; Oct 7, 17 at 10:23 am Reason: General update
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Old Dec 3, 13, 11:29 am
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Wow - this is brilliant - thanks!
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Old Dec 3, 13, 11:29 am
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Using connections to your advantage

If the route you wish to fly is near a band line but marginally in excess of it, since redemption rates are calculated as a sum of the individual flights contained in your itinerary, it is worth exploring connection options. Providing your connection is optimised in distance, in other words does not deviate too far off the line of the direct route, it is possible to reduce overall Avios charge but you’ll need to measure this against any differences in taxes/fees/charges etc.

The following list outlines theoretical combinations and potential savings. Rates shown are one-way in economy class. For business class multiply by 3; for first class multiple by 3. It is worth reiterating, these combinations are theoretical. In practice, adding connections more often than not adds several hundred miles to the overall routing, if not more.

Band 2
Non-stop = 7,500 Avios
Band 1 + Band 1 = 9,000 Avios

Band 3
Non-stop = 10,000 Avios
Band 1 + Band 2 = 12,000 Avios

Band 4
Non-stop = 12,500 Avios
Band 1 + Band 3 = 14,500 Avios
Band 2 + Band 2 = 15,000 Avios

Band 5
Non-stop = 20,000 Avios
Band 1 + Band 4 = 17,000 Avios
Band 2 + Band 3 = 17,500 Avios
= Band 3 + Band 3 = 20,000 Avios

Band 6
Non-stop = 25,000 Avios
Band 1 + Band 5 = 24,500 Avios
Band 2 + Band 4 = 20,000 Avios
Band 2 + Band 5 = 27,500 Avios
Band 3 + Band 3 = 20,000 Avios
Band 3 + Band 4 = 22,500 Avios

Band 7
Non-stop = 30,000 Avios
Band 1 + Band 6 = 29,500 Avios
Band 2 + Band 5 = 27,500 Avios
Band 2 + Band 6 = 32,500 Avios
Band 3 + Band 4 = 22,500 Avios
= Band 3 + Band 5 = 30,000 Avios
Band 3 + Band 6 = 35,000 Avios
Band 4 + Band 4 = 25,000 Avios
Band 4 + Band 5 = 32,500 Avios

Band 8
Non-stop = 35,000 Avios
Band 1 + Band 7 = 34,500 Avios
Band 2 + Band 6 = 32,500 Avios
Band 2 + Band 7 = 37,500 Avios
Band 3 + Band 5 = 30,000 Avios
= Band 3 + Band 6 = 35,000 Avios
Band 4 + Band 4 = 25,000 Avios
Band 4 + Band 5 = 32,500 Avios
Band 4 + Band 6 = 37,500 Avios

Band 9
Non-stop = 50,000 Avios
Band 1 + Band 8 = 39,500 Avios
Band 2 + Band 7 = 37,500 Avios
Band 2 + Band 8 = 42,500 Avios
Band 3 + Band 6 = 35,000 Avios
Band 3 + Band 7 = 40,000 Avios
Band 3 + Band 8 = 45,000 Avios
Band 4 + Band 5 = 32,500 Avios
Band 4 + Band 6 = 37,500 Avios
Band 4 + Band 7 = 42,500 Avios
Band 4 + Band 8 = 47,500 Avios
Band 5 + Band 5 = 40,000 Avios
Band 5 + Band 6 = 45,000 Avios
= Band 5 + Band 7 = 50,000 Avios
Band 5 + Band 8 = 55,000 Avios
= Band 6 + Band 6 = 50,000 Avios
Band 6 + Band 7 = 55,000 Avios


Example 1: LHR-KUL


Non Stop (band 8 on MA) = 35,000 Avios
Via FRA/DOH (Band 1 + Band 4 + Band 5 on BA/QR) = 37,000 Avios
LHR-FRA (Band 1 on BA) = 4,500 Avios
FRA-DOH (Band 4 on QR) = 12,500 Avios
DOH-SIN (Band 5 on QR) = 20,000 Avios
Result: Advantage non-stop. While the connecting itinerary costs 2,000 Avios more than flying direct, you could save up to £130 in the cash component by breaking your redemption into two bookings
LHR-KUL Direct: £240 economy | £350 business
LHR-FRA-DOH-KUL: £220 economy | £335 business
LHR-FRA (RFS): £17.50 economy | £25 business
FRA-DOH-KUL: £170 economy | £195 business

Example 2: ORD-HNL


Non Stop (Band 6 on AA) = 25,000 Avios
Via LAX (Band 3 + Band 4 on AA) = 22,500 Avios
ORD-LAX (Band 3 on AA) = 10,000 Avios
LAX-HNL (Band 4 on AA) = 12,500 Avios
Result: Advantage connection via LAX


Example 3: JFK-GYE


Non stop (Band 5 on AA) = 20,000 Avios
Via MIA (Band 2 + Band 3 on AA) = 17,500 Avios
JFK-MIA (Band 2 on AA) = 7,500 Avios
MIA-GYE (Band 3 on AA) = 10,000 Avios
Result: Advantage connection via MIA


Example 4: JFK-LIM


Non stop (Band 5 on AA) = 20,000 Avios
Via MIA (Band 2 + Band 4 on AA) = 20,000 Avios
JFK-MIA (Band 2 on AA) = 7,500 Avios
MIA-LIM (Band 4 on AA) = 12,500 Avios
Result: Even


Example 5: HKG-ORD


Non stop (Band 9 on CX) = 50,000 Avios
Via LHR (Band 7 + Band 5 on AA/BA/CX) = 50,000 Avios
HKG-LHR (Band 7 on BA/CX) = 30,000 Avios
LHR-ORD (Band 5 on AA/BA) = 20,000 Avios
Result: Advantage non stop. Avios rate is equal but as a redemption the non stop option has a much lower cash component.


Example 6: LHR-ATL


Non stop (Band 6 on BA) = 25,000 Avios
Via ORD (Band 5 + Band 2 on AA/BA) = 27,500 Avios
LHR-ORD (Band 5 on AA/BA) = 20,000 Avios
ORD-ATL (Band 1 on AA) = 7,500 Avios
Result: Advantage non-stop. The connection via ORD used to cost fewer Avios before Band 1 flights on AA were repriced as Band 2.


Comparing the different rates for Iberia flights
The next set of examples explore the different tariffs for Iberia flights. This time, the redemptions are for business class and priced at off-peak rates:

Example 7: LHR-LAX


Non stop (Band 6 on BA) = 62,500 Avios off-peak
Via MAD (Band 2 + Band 7 on IB) = 63,750 Avios off-peak
LHR-MAD (Band 2 on IB/BA) = 12,750 Avios off-peak
MAD-LAX (Band 7 on IB) = 51,000 Avios off-peak
Result: Advantage non-stop. However, it is also worth comparing the cash component of both options


Example 8: LHR-JFK


Non stop (Band 5 on BA) = 50,000 Avios off-peak
Via MAD (Band 2 + Band 5 on IB) = 46,750 Avios off-peak
LHR-MAD (Band 2 on IB/BA) = 12,750 Avios off-peak
MAD-JFK (Band 5 on IB) = 34,000 Avios off-peak
Result: Advantage connection via MAD by virtue of the lower rate for IB band 5 flights

Last edited by Prospero; Oct 8, 17 at 7:31 am Reason: General update
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Old Dec 3, 13, 11:31 am
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NYC

This is great! Would love if you could make a chart originating in NYC!
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Old Dec 3, 13, 11:48 am
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Very cool! Can you cut and paste the distance vs Avios chart from my post for completeness?
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Old Dec 3, 13, 11:54 am
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This is amazing! Thank you Prospero for your great post.
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Old Dec 3, 13, 11:59 am
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Originally Posted by Prospero View Post
>>>those in red fall outside and will be priced per the next band


Short haul redemption bands - origin London

Those in red do not fall outside of the band? However they are one of the worse places to redeem, i.e GOT is still in band 2 (not in the next band) and CPH is nearby and in band 1 therefore better use of avios? Either that or i am confused.

Thanks for spending the time to create and post this


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Old Dec 3, 13, 12:05 pm
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Originally Posted by robsterny View Post
This is great! Would love if you could make a chart originating in NYC!
I'm working on it

Originally Posted by Raffles View Post
Very cool! Can you cut and paste the distance vs Avios chart from my post for completeness?
Thanks. Duly added

Originally Posted by Jenzo View Post
Those in red do not fall outside of the band? However they are one of the worse places to redeem, i.e GOT is still in band 2 (not in the next band) and CPH is nearby and in band 1 therefore better use of avios? Either that or i am confused.

Thanks for spending the time to create and post this


J
Sorry, sloppy wording on my part. Hopefully my revision makes the distinction a little clearer.
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Old Dec 3, 13, 12:06 pm
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Thank you for burning midnight oil !
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Old Dec 3, 13, 12:10 pm
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Many thanks for this, Prospero!

Originally Posted by Jenzo View Post
Those in red do not fall outside of the band? However they are one of the worse places to redeem, i.e GOT is still in band 2 (not in the next band) and CPH is nearby and in band 1 therefore better use of avios
The destinations in red are just outside a band -- if they were a few miles nearer to the origin they'd cost far fewer Avios to reach. That doesn't always mean they're a poor use of Avios: to decide that you'd need to compare cash fares. It does mean that sometimes there are Avios to be saved by routing carefully. Connecting LHR-DFW-XXX may require fewer Avios than LHR-ORD-XXX, for example. See Raffles's article, referenced in the OP, for much much more.
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Old Dec 3, 13, 12:24 pm
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I can't tell you how much this appeals to the Chinese in me. My mother would be proud of you!

If you have time to drill down to the Comair level, it seems to me that these routes might be regarded as green and red dots:-

Green from JNB
JNB-PLZ (564 miles)
JNB-VFA (574 miles)
JNB-LVI (593 miles)
JNB-MRU (1908 miles)

Red from JNB
JNB-WDH (724 miles)
JNB-CPT (790 miles)

Red from CPT
CPT-DUR (795 miles)

I think that these price according to the bands in the table, although I haven't checked all of them now.
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Old Dec 3, 13, 12:33 pm
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Great work Prospero! I really useful tool!!!!
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Old Dec 3, 13, 12:35 pm
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NYC has been added. The results surprised me in that there are so few routes served out of EWR/JFK/LGA that land on the cusp.

Here’s my toolbox:
http://www.freemaptools.com/radius-around-point.htm
http://www.gcmap.com/
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Old Dec 3, 13, 12:39 pm
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Originally Posted by Prospero View Post
Indicated in green are the destinations that fall inside the distance band; those in red fall outside of the band. The coverage doesn’t reflect the full network, only those on the band margins.
In addition, I think you've put a "6" next to JNB because this destination is priced as a zone 6 even though it's physically located in zone 7.

The same also applies to CPT - indeed, as it's even further away from London it arguably merits a flashing green dot, not that it needs it at any time of the year when people normally think about redeeming to CPT.
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