On the earning side that’s almost meaningless, it’s already one of the original mostly-revenue based programs with both miles earned based on fare class and elite tier points based on fare as well. This would just tie revenue and miles more directly, a change in technology.
On the redemption side though this is bad for members. They talk about every seat being available every day on points, and even that the number of points can go down (when ticket prices go down). But that spells the end of value. Points prices fall when you might as well use cash. Points prices rise when miles would have gotten you a good rate of return.
There’s no timing for all of this though. It takes IT work and British Airways IT is poor, and it’s gotten worse since they’ve cut costs and outsourced in the area. In fact we were supposed to see major changes a year ago.
What we will see first is just an expansion of ‘pay with points’ using cash and points towards redemption tickets,
One of the key instruments which I hope we will completely redevelop by the end of the year is the “Pay with Avios” concept. I got a short-haul ticket for my son the day before yesterday and I used 2,500 Avios to discount it by £20. As a consumer, I was looking at it and I wasn’t given an option to buy the whole ticket or pay half of the price. What I really wanted was a slider. I am willing to pay £30, “how many points will you take?”. So moving it up and down. That is the direction we are heading in.
I’m skeptical that the CEO of British Airways actually redeemed points for his son to travel on the airline. And if his story is somehow true, it points to the low value of British Airways points to that CEO when he redeems them at 1.1 cents apiece.
In late 2018 or early 2019 he expects to offer points redemptions for all British Airways charges (no doubt at a low fixed value, as he’s already preparing you for), “every single payment that is made in BA through every channel – baggage, seats, upgrades, tickets themselves – can be paid with Avios.”