BA relaxes lounge access rules for summer holidays

Members of the Gold Guest List can take up to five guests into BA lounges from Saturday 14 July to Sunday 3 September 2018.

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)

For as long as we can remember one of the biggest complaints about the BA Executive Club is the rule that allows Silver and Gold Executive Club members to bring only one guest into the lounges.

The biggest irritation is when an Executive Club member is travelling on their family holiday and cannot bring their whole family into the lounge.

BA has sought to address this in the past 12 months by allowing Gold cardholders to bring up to five guests into the Galleries Club lounges at Gatwick and Heathrow over Christmas and Easter.

BA has, once again, relaxed access lounge access rules from today, Saturday 14 July, to Sunday 2 September 2018.

However, there is good news and bad news.

The good news is that the rules appear to have been relaxed for all BA lounges.

The bad news is that rules have been relaxed only for members of the “Gold Guest List”.

The Gold Guest List is an Executive Club tier above Gold introduced a little over ten years ago. It is not that widely publicised. You have to earn 5,000 tier points in one year to become a member and 3,000 tier points in consecutive years to retain membership. Its benefits include access to a dedicated customer service telephone line, additional Avios redemption benefits, additional lounge guests, and a Hilton Honors Diamond membership.

Given the change of policy for the summer it’s not certain how this will be applied over Christmas.

This is one of a number of measures BA has introduced for families including “status hold” for new parents. If you’ve travelled through Terminal 5 recently you may have noticed a new family check-in area at the North side of the terminal. Certainly from anecdotal experience, even for the most frequent flyers, it is the experience when travelling with their own family that has the greatest influence on their perception of the airline.

You can now use Avios to pay for seat selection on BA

BA Executive Club members can now use Avios to pay for seat selection on BA operated flights.

London Air Travel » British Airways » British Airways Executive Club

BA World Traveller Cabin, Boeing 777-300 aircraft (Image Credit: British Airways)

For airlines, charging for seating selection is the ultimate revenue raising exercise.

For passengers, the certainty of knowing where on the aircraft you will be seated can be of huge value. Whilst some can live the uncertainty. Others can’t bear it.

Not only that, beyond the initial IT expense, it costs airlines nothing to offer this service. All the extra revenue from seat selection charges goes straight to the bottom line.

BA has for nearly ten years charged for seat selection, except primarily for those travelling in First or Bronze, Silver and Gold Executive Club cardholders.

It was one of a number of measures introduced when the airline was scrambling to survive the post-Lehman Brothers financial crisis. Although many balked at the idea at the time, not least charging to reserve a seat in Club World, it has survived.

From today, Tuesday 8 May 2018, you can now use Avios to pay for seat selection in whole or in part, instead of cash.
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BA Executive Club Double Avios Promotion

Members of the British Airways Executive Club can earn double Avios on certain BA flights up to 31 December 2017.

London Air Travel » British Airways » British Airways Executive Club

Members of the British Airways Executive Club can earn double Avios on up to eight flights booked and flown between now and Sunday 31 December 2017.

In order to qualify you must pre-register at ba.com before booking any flights.

The offer applies to all British Airways operated flights from the U.K. as well as flights booked under a BA code and operated by American Airlines, Finnair, and Iberia between Europe, Norway, Switzerland and North America, Mexico and Puerto Rico.  It also applies to services operated by BA subsidiary OpenSkies from Paris Orly and Newark and flights operated by BA franchise partner SUNAIR of Scandinavia.

It does not apply to flights operated by other BA franchises such as Comair in South Africa, nor flights operated by other IAG airlines, Oneworld alliance partners or other BA codeshare partners.

The offer is not open to members of the Executive Club in the USA, Canada, Mexico and South Africa.

If you are not a member of the Executive Club you can sign up at ba.com

BA releases 10,000 Club World reward seats for Christmas

BA has released an additional 10,000 Club World reward seats for members of its Executive Club this Christmas.

London Air Travel » British Airways » British Airways Executive Club

British Airways Club World Boeing 747 (Picture by: Stuart Bailey / British Airways)

BA has made another move to curry favour from members of its Executive Club programme.

Hot on the heels of news that some members have been granted free renewal of their Executive Club cards, BA has announced that it has released an additional 10,000 reward seats in its Club World long-haul business class for Christmas 2017.

The additional 10,000 seats are available for travel over a 19 day period from Monday 18 December 2017 to Friday 5 January 2018. They are available to members of the British Airways Executive Club and the Avios programme.
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BA offers two years’ free Executive Club card renewal following IT outage

British Airways is offering frequent flyers caught in last week’s IT meltdown a free renewal of their Executive Club status for the next two years.

London Air Travel » British Airways » British Airways Executive Club

British Airways Executive Club Cards
British Airways Executive Club Cards

After British Airways’ worst week in nearly ten years, the airline has begun to take steps to repair the damage to its brand and restore relationships with its frequent flyers.

The airline has e-mailed members of its Executive Club frequent flyer programme who were caught up in last week’s disruption to advise that their current Executive Club card status (e.g. Bronze, Silver or Gold) will be renewed automatically for the next two years.

This means that these members of the Executuve Club do not need to earn the requisite number of tier points to renew their current status level.  

This is not the first time BA has done this.  It has previously either offered or entertained requests for automatic renewal when there has been severe disruption at London Heathrow or when there has been a downturn in the economy.

However, it is the first time BA has renewed some members’ cards automatically for two years. Continue reading “BA offers two years’ free Executive Club card renewal following IT outage”

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.

London Air Travel » British Airways » British Airways Executive Club

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.

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 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!

London Air Travel » British Airways » British Airways Executive Club

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

London Air Travel » British Airways » British Airways Executive Club

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

London Air Travel » British Airways » British Airways Executive Club

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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