British Airways & American Express Partnership Extended

British Airways’ partnership with American Express has been extended in a new multi-year deal announced by its parent company IAG.

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British Airways First Class Cabin (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways First Class Cabin (Image Credit: British Airways)

British Airways’ partnership with American Express has been extended in a new multi-year deal announced by its parent company International Airlines Group.

American Express issues BA branded credit cards through which members can earn Avios points.

BA’s parent company, IAG, has announced that it has signed a new multiyear deal with American Express.

This operated through a separate division of IAG known as IAG Loyalty. As part of this, American Express will pay IAG £750m which is primarily a pre-payment for Avios points it will issue to members.

IAG CEO Willie Walsh did state during its full year results announcement that he had met with Mastercard a few times and they were “mad keen” to do business with IAG. This was no doubt a signal to American Express.

The advance sale of frequent flyer points to third parties is a device airlines use to raise funds. In 2009, American Airlines pre-sold $1 billion of AAdvantage miles to Citigroup. This comes at a time when airlines seek more ways to raise cash by using intangible assets. Yesterday, American Airlines announced it had taken out a $1.2 billion loan that was secured against its trademark and the internet domain name aa.com

IAG is due to announce its half-year results on Friday 31 July and will provide a further update on its finance raising plans then.

BA Seeks To Prevent Executive Club Class Action Suits

British Airways has changed the terms and conditions of the Executive Club to prevent members in North America joining class action suits.

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British Airways Coat Of Arms
British Airways Coat Of Arms (Image Credit: British Airways)

The US is well known for being a litigious society, which often takes the form of class action suits brought against businesses by consumers.

To give an example, I recently received an e-mail out of the blue from a law firm that had brought a class action suit against a restaurant I visited in Los Angeles years ago over the treatment of staff tips. Still waiting for the settlement of tens of dollars, after the deduction of the lawyers fees!

BA has itself faced class action suits. In 2018, BA settled a suit, in the form of Avios, brought by members of the Executive Club in respect of cash fuel surcharges which were added to reward flights. Members argued that the fuel surcharges were inflated and had no correlation to the cost of fuel.

Executive Club Class Action Waiver

BA has today, Thursday 28 May 2020, updated the terms and conditions of the Executive Club to include a class action waiver for residents of the US and Canada.

Of the 9 million active members of Avios frequent flyer programmes, there are about 1 million registered in the Americas. This includes members of other IAG frequent flyer programmes such as Iberia Plus.

Where a dispute arises between BA and a member of the Executive Club in the US and Canada, these changes effectively seek to prevent the member from joining a class action suit or taking the airline to court.

Instead, BA aims to resolve the issue on an individual basis only through binding arbitration.

There is also a time limit of two years on members based in the US bringing a claim from when they “knew or should have known” about the issue that caused the dispute. This alone could easily result in litigation. How do you prove what somebody “knew or should have known”!?

We’re not qualified to comment on how enforceable these changes are. It will no doubt be tested at some point in the future.

Full details of these new clauses are reproduced below.

Continue reading “BA Seeks To Prevent Executive Club Class Action Suits”

BA Extends Exec Club “Reward Flight Saver” To New York

British Airways is now offering long-haul economy Avios redemptions to New York JFK with a flat cash fee of £100.

London Air Travel » British Airways » British Airways Executive Club

New York Skyline
New York Skyline (Image Credit: London Air Travel)

This is one to file under “Not sure how long this has been running, but only just noticed it”.

British Airways’ “Reward Flight Savers” have long been a popular means for members of the Executive Club to redeem Avios on short-haul flights.

Prior to their introduction, redeeming Avios on short-haul flights was considered practically worthless. This was because the taxes and fees were so high, you might as well just purchase a cash ticket with the benefit of earning Avios instead of spending it.

Under a Reward Flight Saver a passenger redeeming Avios on a short-haul flights simply pays a flat cash fee from £1 upwards with any taxes, fees and surcharges borne by BA.

It instantly transformed a short-haul redemption flight from one of the worst to one of the best uses of Avios.

Long-haul economy redemptions have been considered similarly poor value because again, taxes fees and surcharges represent an increasingly high proportion of the overall ticket price.

As you can see from the screen shot below, an off-peak economy long-haul redemption from London Heathrow to Boston costs a minimum of £226.35 in taxes and surcharges and 26,000 in Avios. A cash ticket for the same flights with checked luggage would cost around £385 and earn Avios.

British Airways Economy Redemption London Heathrow – Boston

Reward Flight Savers To New York JFK

BA has now extended the Reward Flight Saver concept to long-haul economy flights.

At present, it only applies to BA operated flights to New York JFK. It is also only available to UK based members of the Executive Club.

Continue reading “BA Extends Exec Club “Reward Flight Saver” To New York”

BA Adds 100,000 Club World Reward Seats

British Airways has released 100,000 Club World reward seats for travel up to 31 July 2020.

London Air Travel » British Airways » British Airways Executive Club

British Airways Airbus A350-1000 Club Suite
British Airways Airbus A350-1000 Club Suite (Image Credit: British Airways)

In a sign that the financial impact of the Coronavirus outbreak is being felt beyond Asia, British Airways has released 100,000 reward seats in its Club World long-haul business class cabin to members of the Executive Club.

This offer is valid for travel from Monday 24 February 2020 to Friday 31 July 2020. It expires on Monday 2 March 2020

It is theoretically on offer across all long-haul routes but is subject to availability.

It is not unusual for BA to release additional Club World reward seats.  However, this is usually done over periods such as Christmas when business travel is seasonally quiet. This is a relatively aggressive promotion over five months.

This does suggest that premium travel demand is softening – some global events have been cancelled as a precautionary measure. 

Long time BA flyers may recall some extremely aggressive frequent flyer promotions in the immediate aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis.

BA’s parent company International Airlines Group is due to announce its annual results on Friday 28 February 2020, where it will give an indication of the likely impact of Coronavirus on travel demand.

Members of the Executive Club can view details of this offer on ba.com

BA Extends Gold Upgrade Vouchers To Existing Bookings

London Air Travel » British Airways » British Airways Executive Club

British Airways First Class Cabin (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways First Class Cabin (Image Credit: British Airways)

A long standing benefit of the Gold tier of the British Airways Executive Club is the grant of a “Gold Upgrade For Two” voucher to members who earn 2,500 tier points or more in their membership year.

This is often referred to as a GUF2 voucher. BA also grants two “Gold Upgrade For One” vouchers to members who earn 3,500 tier points or more – these can be used either separately or for two passengers in one booking.

These allow members of the Executive Club to upgrade a booking to the next cabin, eg from Club World to First Class. However, this is subject to availability.

BA has advised that from, today Monday 17 June 2019, the use of these vouchers has been extended to existing bookings, as well as new bookings.

To upgrade an existing booking with an upgrade voucher you will need to contact either BA or your travel agent. However, do bear in mind that as agents have only just been advised of this new benefit awareness may be limited. Upgrade vouchers can also take a few days to be processed as it requires manual intervention, so it’s recommended to allow plenty of time in advance of travel to request an upgrade.

There are restrictions on the use of upgrade vouchers and full details of the terms and conditions are at ba.com

BA Introduces Pay Excess Baggage Fees With Avios

You can now use Avios to pay for excess baggage charges on British Airways flights.

London Air Travel » British Airways » British Airways Executive Club

Avios
Avios (Image Credit: British Airways)

British Airways has introduced the ability to pay for excess baggage charges using Avios.

This follows a move last year to allow passengers to use their Avios to pay for seat selection charges.

This applies only to British Airways operated flights. Rather unhelpfully, BA has not published a set tariff of Avios charges for excess baggage and this is unlikely to be the best use of Avios.

Excess baggage charges can vary widely by route, cabin, and type of fare. These charges have become more prevalent with the rise of “basic economy” short and long-haul fares. They can range from £20 to £120 per bag, so this may be at least a good way for some to take the edge off parting with cash.

Passengers can use Avios to pay for excess baggage charges in full or in part and passengers with existing bookings can compare charges using the Manage My Booking tool on ba.com

Full details of BA’s current cash seat selection charges can also be viewed at ba.com

£100 off BA long-haul flights for 5,000 Avios

British Airways is offering UK members of the Executive Club £100 off long-haul flights for for 5,000 Avios, up to 23:59 GMT Tuesday 12 February 2019.

London Air Travel » British Airways » British Airways Executive Club

Avios Avios (Image Credit: British Airways)

BA has long offered the facility to reduce the cost of flights with a part-payment of Avios, the currency of its Executive Club frequent flyer programme.

This is rarely good value for money. However, BA has today, Friday 8 February 2019, once again launched a promotion whereby you can reduce the cost of any long-haul economy or premium economy return flight by £100 for 5,000 Avios.

The promotion only applies to BA operated flights and not codeshares. You can also reduce the cost of a one-way long-haul flight by £50 for 2,500 Avios.

The promotion applies to any long-haul economy or premium economy return flight booked from the UK up to 23:59 GMT on Tuesday 12 February 2019 for travel up to Sunday 30 June 2019.

The offer is available to all UK registered members of the Executive Club. It only applies to flights booked through ba.com or a BA call centre.

Up to 9 passengers per booking can benefit from the £100 discount for 5,000 Avios each. The discount must be selected at the time of booking.

This is a good value promotion for a number of reasons:

– There are lead-in economy return fares of around £300 to many North American destinations. This means you could secure an long-haul economy return flight for around £200.

– A family of four could benefit from a £400 discount to their holiday for 20,000 Avios.

– It’s probably one the best ways available to make use of a relatively small balance of Avios.
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The Economist Bonus Avios Subscription Offer

You can earn up to 25,200 bonus Avios if you take up a subscription to The Economist before 31 January 2019.

London Air Travel » British Airways » British Airways Executive Club

British Airways Bonus Avios Economist Subscription Offer.
British Airways Bonus Avios Economist Subscription Offer.

You can earn up to 25,200 bonus Avios for your British Airways Executive Club account if you take up a subscription to The Economist.

This applies to all combinations of print and digital subscriptions in most regions of the world.

The precise number of bonus Avios, which ranges from 10,200 to 25,200, depends on for how long you take up a subscription. The most lucrative Avios earning offer is a three year print and digital subscription.

This is a regularly recurring offer and has also been offered by other frequent flyer programmes that use Avios, such as Iberia.

The offer expires on Thursday 31 January 2019. Simply visit ba.com and click the link to The Economist website to take up a subscription.

Please note that there are specific terms and conditions regarding the cancellation of subscriptions and refunds regarding this offer.

BA Relaxes Lounge Access Rules For Christmas

British Airways has relaxed lounge access rules for selected members of the Executive Club from Friday 14 December to Sunday 6 January 2019.

London Air Travel » British Airways » British Airways Executive Club

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

British Airways has once again relaxed its lounge access rules for the Christmas and New Year period.

One of the biggest irritations for Executive Club members when travelling with their family on holiday is that cannot bring their whole family as guests into the lounges.

BA has sought to address last Christmas by allowing Gold cardholders to bring up to five guests into the Galleries Club lounges at Gatwick and Heathrow. It has now become a regular occurrence over Easter and the summer holidays.

BA has, once again, relaxed access lounge access rules for all BA lounges from Friday 14 December 2018 to Sunday 6 January 2019.

However, unlike last Christmas, the rules appear to have been relaxed for selected members on an invitation only basis. This is most likely for Gold cardholders with a very high number of annual tier points.

If you are a Gold member of the Executive Club it’s worth checking your e-mails to see whether this applies to you.

Unfortunately, if you have not received an invitation, then normal lounge guesting rules will apply.

A gentle reminder that it is not within the control of the lounge staff to flex the rules. Please do not pressure staff into doing so.

British Airways Is Giving Away One Million Avios

You can win up to 250,000 Avios when shopping online through the Avios eStore up to 21 December.

London Air Travel » British Airways » British Airways Executive Club

Selfridges Rocks Christmas 2018
Selfridges Rocks Christmas 2018 (Image Credit: Selfridges)

The Avios eStore has long been one of the most popular and easiest ways to earn Avios without actually stepping foot on board an aircraft.

There’s even more incentive to use the Avios eStore when shopping online before Christmas as BA is giving away one million Avios to members of the BA Executive Club.

All you need to do is spend more than £50 through the Avios eStore up to Friday 21 December 2018.

You could win one of three prizes of 250,000 Avios or 10 prizes of 25,000 Avios.

The offer is open to all members of the BA Executive Club resident in the UK, the Channel Islands, the Isle Of Man and the US. Remember you must make sure that you are logged in to your Executive Club account and “click through” the Avios eStore before starting your online orders.  You will be entered only once, and there will be only one winner per household.

The winners will be selected by Friday 15 February 2019.

Bonus Avios

In addition, the following online retailers are offering bonus Avios up to Sunday 23 December 2018:

One of the most generous offers is Selfridges which is offering 12 Avios per £1 spent. Note that some retailers may exclude specific product categories from Avios.

Apple – 6 Avios per £1, instead of 3.
Debenhams – 6 Avios per £1, instead of 3.
Fortnum & Mason – 10 Avios per £1, instead of 5.
Lego – 10 Avios per £1, instead of 5.
NET-A-PORTER – 12 Avios per £1, instead of 6.
Selfridges – 12 Avios per £1, instead of up to 6.

In addition, the following online retailers are offering bonus Avios up to Sunday 9 December 2018:

Etsy – 9 Avios per £1, instead of 2.
Very.co.uk – 3 Avios per £1, instead of 1.