If you aren’t already a member of the BA Executive Club a new account will be created for you.
The first thing to stress is that this change isn’t intended to be a stealthy devaluation of your Avios. The move has been mooted for a while and relates to efforts to bring the Avios platform under a single umbrella – allowing customers to view their points balance and spend their miles via just one loyalty account.
How will it affect you?
On the face of it, not a huge amount is actually changing.
The key change is that those who use avios.com as their main hub for collecting and spending Avios will now (have to) do so via the British Airways Executive Club.
When is this happening?
Avios.com accounts are to close on 20th May 2018.
From 21st May 2018, members Avios balances will start to be moved across to the BA Executive Club. This process should be completed by the end of July 2018.
British Airways will be in touch with instructions on how to get up and running once your account has been created. You’ll then need to go to ba.com and activate your account in order to spend your Avios.
I’m not a frequent flyer, why are these changes relevant to me?
As regular Tricks of the Trade readers will know, you don’t need to be a frequent flyer to benefit from collecting and spending Avios. In fact, I know plenty of people with six or seven-figure Avios balances who haven’t stepped foot on a BA plane for years.
If you don’t want a British Airways Executive Club account set up for your Avios, you can choose to opt out before 20th May 2018 by completing and sending back this form.
If you do opt out, you’ll have six months to spend your remaining Avios before your account is closed and the Avios lost. I’m not sure why anyone would choose to go down this route though.
What about household accounts?
In order to move your household account across, in the coming months it will be divided and the Avios balance shared equally between the accounts that make up your household.
Avios.com will be contacting individual household account members with details of how the account will be split.
If you’d like to split it differently, you need to complete and send back this form. It’s certainly possible to allocate 100% of the Avios to one member if you wished to do so…
BA Executive Club also offers a Household Account option.
Before setting one up you’ll want to read this article for info on its various features as well as important differences between the Avios.com and BA versions.
There will obviously be a fair few questions surrounding this move – here is some of the info that we know already.
What if I already have a British Airways Executive Club account as well as an Avios Travel Rewards Programme account?
If you want to, you can move your Avios across now, that way we won’t need to open another account for you. You’ll find how to do this under your account on avios.com.
It isn’t clear whether this means they intend to open a BA Executive Club account for everyone who has Avios sitting in their avios.com account on the 20th May – regardless of whether they have an existing BA Executive Club account or not.
Will you still be able to use avios.com?
You’ll still be able to go on the website but you won’t be able to log in after the move has taken place – unless you’re an AerClub or Vueling Club member. You’ll be able to login to your British Airways Executive Club account on ba.com once you’ve been notified that your new account is open.
Can you spend your Avios while your balance is being moved over?
While your Avios Travel Rewards Programme balance is being moved across to your British Airways Executive Club account there will be a short period where you won’t be able to spend your Avios.
What happens if you auto collect with Tesco?
Your Avios will simply go into your new British Airways Executive Club account.
Will you still be able to collect Avios with the Lloyds Avios credit card or TSB Avios credit card and use your upgrade vouchers?
Yes. Avios earned on these cards will be automatically added to your British Airways Executive Club.
The same will apply to the Lloyds upgrade vouchers – although it would seem that you’ll need to call to use these once the move is complete. See below.
Can you still use Lloyds upgrade vouchers?
Yes, you can you can still book online with your voucher until the programme closes.
After this, you’ll need to call +44 (0)344 49 333 49 to redeem your voucher.
Are there any downsides to these changes?
At the moment I can only see a couple of smallish negatives as a result of this change:
Problems moving Avios from Iberia Plus to British Airways Executive Club
The Combine My Avios tool is a valuable method of moving Avios freely between avios.com/BA Executive Club and Iberia Plus. The problem is that the system is:
a) Notoriously unreliable
b) You can’t move Avios to/from a BA Household account to Iberia Plus.
A helpful workaround involved going via avios.com. You could firstly pull the Avios from your Iberia Plus account from within avios.com. You would then push them across to your BA account. This will no longer be an option.
Difference in Avios earning partners
Avios.com offers a number of interesting options for earning Avios via their eStore and otherwise. For example, you can earn Avios on your Hilton bookings by clicking through the eStore. IHG, Marriott and Best Western are also available.
Currently, the BA eStore features none of those chains as earning partners. It’s safe to assume that there’s a good reason for this and we’re unlikely to see those partners automatically added to the BA eStore in the short-term.
Overall, it doesn’t seem that much will be lost from the imminent closure of avios.com accounts.
Granted, it’ll throw up some difficulty for those trying to use the Combine my Avios tool – IAG may have to look at this and improve the backend process. You also won’t be best pleased if you’ve been doing very nicely out of some of the Avios-earning partners who are unique to the avios.com platform.
Nevertheless, for the majority of those with UK avios.com accounts this is merely an evolution rather than a revolution.
What do you make of the decision to close avios.com accounts?