This announcement has just come through:
On 28 April, we’ll be making some changes to the Executive Club that will mean you’ll notice a difference to the way you earn and spend Avios with us. We’re making these changes to provide more opportunities for you to spend Avios on reward flights as well as to ensure that the Executive Club continues to deliver a competitive and rewarding loyalty programme for the future.
9 million reward seats will be available this year.
From 28 April we guarantee that more than 9 million reward seats will be available on our flights, with a minimum of two Club World/Club Europe and four World Traveller/Euro Traveller reward seats on all British Airways operated flights that are offered for sale on ba.com. This change will create over half a million extra reward seats including many to our popular destinations, which are available to book from today.
To do this we have needed to restructure the programme and you will find a summary of all the changes below. If you’d like more details on all the changes, you can find further information here. All bookings made before 28 April will not be affected by these changes.
Changes to how you earn your Avios.
We’ll make earning Avios on flights more aligned to the cabin you fly in and the different types of fares within that cabin. In practice this means that if you pay for a flexible ticket you will earn more Avios than the lowest priced ticket in the same cabin.
Our lowest priced tickets in Euro Traveller and World Traveller will award a minimum Avios of 25% per mile flown instead of 100%. In Club World/Club Europe and our First cabins the Avios you earn will either remain the same as it is now or increase up to 300% per mile flown depending on the cabin and type of ticket.
Changes to Silver Tier Bonus.
Silver Members’ Tier Bonus will change from 100% to 50%. Gold Members’ Tier Bonus will stay at 100%. Bronze Members’ bonus will stay at 25%.
Changes to the number of Tier Points.
The lowest priced World Traveller and Euro Traveller seats will now collect 25% of Tier Points rather than 50%.
Changes to the price of reward flights depending on the time of year.
From 28 April we will introduce different Avios pricing for reward seats depending on the time of the year, the cabin and zone. At busy times of the year we will have a standard Avios price and for less busy times less Avios will be needed.
So for two thirds of the year you will require less Avios than now to fly on reward seats in Euro Traveller and World Traveller. In Club World and First the Avios price will increase, the amount will vary depending on the time of the year. To see our Avios prices in more detail click here.
Reward flights with our airline partners will be one price all year round, with the exception of Iberia who will also offer seasonal pricing.
Changes to UK domestic connecting reward flights.
To bring the UK in line with the rest of the world, you will now be required to pay for any UK domestic connecting reward flights to and from your final European destination. This does not apply to connecting reward flights on long haul, which will remain included.
Changes to how we handle your Avios.
As part of an IAG group reorganisation involving British Airways Plc and Avios Group (AGL) Limited, British Airways has agreed that AGL will be responsible for issuing your Avios points. As a result, AGL will receive, store and process your data in connection with administering aspects of the Executive Club. This will be done with, but legally independently of, British Airways. Each will have their own responsibilities for separate aspects of the data processing involved in administering the Executive Club. We will continue to be in control of the operation and management of the Club and these particular changes will have no direct impact to you as a Member and your relationship with the Club as it is today.
More opportunities to upgrade.
By the end of the year, you will be able to upgrade using Avios from World Traveller and Euro Traveller commercial bookings, except the very lowest priced seats. That means there will be more opportunities to upgrade than ever before.
Combined together, all of these changes will allow us to continue offering a competitive rewards programme to our Members, improving the availability of reward seats across our entire network many of which will require less Avios than today.
Apart from picking up on BA’s appalling use of ‘less’ rather than ‘fewer’ throughout the announcement, I have to say that I’m incredibly disappointed by the changes. At first glance they seem to heavily go against the average traveller (those paying for their own tickets, or travelling for a small business) in favour of those travelling on corporate agreements and fully-flexible tickets. I do realise that these are BA’s most profitable customers, but these changes seem to fall way too heavily on that side of the scale.
In particular, I’m really frustrated by the idea that flights at busy times of the year (read: school holidays) will cost more for redemptions that are other times. Once again, this favours the older generation rather than those funding their own travel.
What this does do is to mean that for most travellers, they will be earning far more Avios via the credit card spend than through paid British Airways travel. I can see many moving to travelling with other airlines as a result.