I have a lot of air miles because I've been flying a lot for business. Air miles are supposed to be a compensation for your family, and reward to you, for being away from home so much. So I was excited when my family expressed an interest in a trip to visit relatives in the US, more so because I've been using my BA Amex card enough to earn a free companion flight, hurrah!
However… A round trip to the US city we wanted to go to on BA in economy class was £584. The "free" flight with BA Miles costs 50,000 miles plus £375. In other words, since Gordon Brown started jacking up the Air Passenger Duty (APD), this plus other overhead costs means that it will cost well over a grand to go an visit some relatives with our "free" flights. Hence we're not going.
Who does this benefit? The revenue raised from Gordon Brown's jacked up APD was, in this instance, £0. So the government wasn't better off. Nor was BA, because it makes their "Avios" even less attractive than they were before (I've just booked a flight on Air Austria, which illustrates that point - if Avios were more attractive then I'd have taken a slightly less convenient BA flight). Nor was Heathrow, since I won't be going there and spending any money.
I can understand why it might have been New Labour policy to reserve air travel for celebrities and oligarchs, but why are the coalition propagating this anti-striver levy? You can complain to your MP online here (I just did).