Today is the very last day to redeem your British Airways Executive Club miles before they officially become Avios points on November 16, 2011. For those of us living in North America, that means a massive devaluation to the program is imminent. As I mentioned in my previous post, BA has been extremely secretive about any changes to the program when originating outside of the U.K., and it's fairly obvious the reason for the lack of transparency is that the points requirements will be increasing by quite a bit. Gone will be the great deals like using only 50,000 BA miles for a roundtrip flight from North America to anywhere in East and Southeast Asia, or 40,000 miles for a roundtrip flight from North America to anywhere in South America, including Easter Island.
Unfortunately, I'm expecting roundtrip award flights to Asia to start at a minimum of 70,000 Avios points tomorrow, and South America at a minimum of 60,000 points. And these are just my wild guesses, the real award chart could be far worse - we'll just have to find out tomorrow morning.
So if you've been thinking about burning your BA miles for a trip sometime next year, I would strongly recommend booking your award flights today! The U.S. British Airways office (1-800-452-1201) has limited hours from 7:30 AM - 8:00 PM EST, and I fully expect them to be swamped with calls today. The better option is to book online, even though their award reservation system has a ton of bugs. I just finished booking an Easter Island trip for October 2012, but I had to call in since the online system wouldn't allow me to find the routing and stopover that I needed. I still had to pay the $20 phone booking fee in addition to the airfare taxes despite their website issues.
Also, remember that you can still change the departure date/time of your reservation all the way to November 14, 2012 since your award ticket is valid for one full year from the date of booking (today). Making changes to your itinerary date/time is free online, while doing it over the phone will cost you $70. Only reservations made online can be changed online. Those made over the phone must be changed over the phone, unfortunately.