BA reinstates seat selection for cardholders on “basic” short-haul fares

Bronze, Silver and Gold members of the Executive Club can now select a seat for free when buying its “basic” short-haul fares.

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British Airways Short Haul Economy Cabin (Credit: British Airways)

A little over two years ago BA removed the right of its Bronze, Silver and Gold Executive Club cardholders to select a seat for free when booking its “basic” (formerly known as “Hand Baggage Only”) short-haul economy fares.

“Basic” is one of two types of short-haul economy fares on BA. The other is known as “Plus” which includes the option to check-in a bag for free.

The only option to select a seat at the time of booking was to pay for a seat assignment, as all other passengers are required to do, thus removing a valuable benefit of the Executive Club.

No doubt this was also to encourage Executive Club members to buy more expensive “Plus” short-haul economy fares. However, there was considerable criticism that many travellers are bound by their corporate travel policy to book the cheapest available fare. Therefore they had no option to buy “basic” fares and were not able to utilise all of the benefits of their Executive Club membership.

This benefit will be reinstated for all basic fares on short-haul flights from Wednesday 14 June 2017.

Clearly, this is good news. It at least, in part, reverses the trend of cuts by BA to its short-haul economy product. It also suggests that BA will not be following the trend of US airlines of stripping more benefits from its cheapest short-haul economy fares, such as lounge access or the ability to earn miles.

There’s more detail on the changes on ba.com

BA “status hold” for Executive Club members taking parental leave

BA has introduced a new policy allowing Executive Club members taking parental leave to “freeze” their current status.

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British Airways Lounge - London Gatwick South Terminal
British Airways Lounge – London Gatwick South Terminal (Credit: British Airways)

British Airways announced two major changes to its Executive Club frequent flyer programme today.

The first is the introduction of the option for members to put their account “on hold” for up to a year if they take maternity, paternity or adoption leave.

What this means is that if a member has Bronze, Silver or Gold status they do not need to earn the requisite number of tier points (eg 300, 600, or 1,500 tier points) in their membership year in order to renew their status for another year. However, tier points and Avios will still be earned if flights are taken whilst the account is on hold.
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Do you have a bmi Diamond Club account? Your miles expire on 30 November 2016!

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bmi British Midland Aircraft
bmi British Midland Aircraft

It’s nearly five years since the parent company of British Airways, International Airlines Group, acquired bmi British Midland from Lufthansa.

The bmi name was long disappeared from London Heathrow. Its regional arm bmi regional is still flying having been acquired by independent investors.

However, bmi’s frequent flyer programme Diamond Club has remained in operation.

Whilst it hasn’t been possible earn Diamond Club miles from flights, it was possible to earn miles through Diamond Club credit cards issued by MBNA Ltd until 30 September of this year.

Any remaining miles in all Diamond Club accounts will expire in perpetuity on Wednesday 30 November 2016.

However, it is possible to transfer any remaining miles in your account on a 1:1 basis to Avios in a British Airways Executive Club frequent flyer account. This must be done before 30 November 2016.

In order to do this you will need to be able to access your Diamond Club account online (to retrieve your membership number and miles balance) and have an active British Airways Executive Club account.

BA has a dedicated tool on its website called Combine My Avios. You can use this to transfer however many Diamond Club miles you have to your Executive Club account.

A transfer of miles should only take a few minutes to do and should then appear in your Executive Club account shortly afterwards.

On a related note, here’s our analysis, albeit superseded by recent events, of what happened shortly after the merger of bmi into BA.

Update

The Diamond Club website has now closed and it is no longer possible to access Diamond Club accounts. Any mileage balances that have not been transferred or used are now forfeited.

BA removes seat selection for Executive Club members on “Hand Baggage Only” Fares

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British Airways Short Haul Economy Cabin (Credit: British Airways)

Two years ago, British Airways introduced “Hand Baggage Only” fares on its short-haul route network. As their name suggests, passengers purchasing these fares have to pay a separate fee if they wish to check in a bag into the hold of the aircraft.

BA has long claimed that these fares have been a success. They enable the airline to keep headline fares low when competing against low cost carriers (who have the advantage of generating considerable ancillary revenues from pasengers).

In a somewhat surprising move, BA has today announced that Silver and Gold Executive club cardholders will no longer be able to choose a seat free of charge at the time of booking when booking a hand baggage only fare from Thursday 26 March 2015.

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BA Executive Club announces changes to earning and redeeming Avios

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British Airways Executive Club Cards
British Airways Executive Club Cards

British Airways has today, 28 January 2015, announced major changes to the way members of the British Airways Executive Club can earn and redeem Avios on BA and partner airline flights.

BA’s International Airlines Group sibling Iberia has also announced changes to its Iberia Plus programme that take effect from 1 March 2015.

The changes are quite significant and will impact on members depending what level they are in the Executive Club, what cabins they fly on BA and, for the first time, what type of ticket is purchased.

There are some definite negatives and some positives may emerge in time. It is also important to emphasise that they only apply to bookings made after 28 April 2015, so there is a three month window to make bookings in advance of the changes.

Here’s a summary of the key changes and our take on them:
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Will BA move its Executive Club from a mileage to a revenue based model?

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British Airways Executive Club Cards
British Airways Executive Club Cards

We’ve seen speculation online recently, much of it completely unfounded it has to be said, regarding whether British Airways will follow other airlines (such as Delta) in changing its frequent flyer programme whereby points/miles are awarded solely by reference to the absolute amount of money spent with the airline, rather than the distance flown on eligible flights.

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BA offers free Silver cards to Blue & Bronze Exec Club members

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British Airways Executive Club Cards
British Airways Executive Club Cards

We’re not quite sure what has prompted this, but British Airways has today, 13 April 2014, e-mailed large numbers of members of its Executive Club who hold blue or bronze cards offering a complimentary Silver card (which affords privileges such as access to business class check-in desks and lounges) if they book a business class return from London to New York, subject to certain booking restrictions, in the next 90 days.

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BA introduces Lifetime Gold for Executive Club members

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British Airways Executive Club Cards
British Airways Executive Club Cards

If you are a member of the British Airways Executive Club, you may notice a small, but significant, change when you next log on to your account at ba.com

BA has, in addition to annual tier points which determine the level of status (Bronze, Silver, Gold) a member is entitled to for their membership year, introduced “lifetime tier points”.

Put simply, these are all the tier points a member has earned since joining the Executive Club.

At the moment, if a member has earned 35,000 lifetime tier points or more they are now entitled to gold membership for life.

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