British Airways sent the following email to most Executive Club members early yesterday:

We’re going to be making a change to the Executive Club pricing structure for shorter reward flights originating or terminating within the United States of America. From 2 February 2016, reward flights will start from 7,500 Avios, instead of 4,500 Avios, plus taxes, fees and carrier charges (“TFCs”) from $5.60 USD.

Only those reward flights that currently cost 4,500 Avios for a one way flight in Economy, 9,000 Avios for Business Class and 18,000 Avios for First Class plus TFCs will increase; to 7,500 Avios, 15,000 Avios and 30,000 Avios plus TFCs respectively. All other Avios reward flight pricing will remain the same as it is today.

As you might imagine, our little mileage world went crazy. Some went as far as claiming to say that this will kill the Avios programme! I think most people are overreacting, for a number of reasons. First of all, there is no need to panic, there is still plenty of time to redeem at the old 4500 Avios level – redeem by 2 February 2016.

British Airways was nice enough to give plenty of advance notice, so there is still time to book and plan at the old level. Another reason not to panic is the following: Many of the flights within the U.S. are valued at the 7.5k level in Economy, one-way. For example, Seattle to Los Angeles is a route I fly a ton and will redeem 7.5k Avios for the Alaska Airlines flight in Economy.. this isn’t changing!

Personally, I’ve never redeemed Avios at the 4.5k level, like ever, so this change isn’t really going to affect me a ton. I normally redeem at the 7,500 – 15,000 levels and those aren’t changing. Avios awards that cost 4.5k within the United States will rise to being priced at 7.5k Avios… which still isn’t a bad deal!

So the bottom line is, the Avios programme is still great and that won’t change that much with this change. Avios are still awesome! Go and plan your last 4.5k awards!