Hear Head for Points on Radio 4’s ‘You and Yours’ today, hopefully …

I am in Stockholm all day today, visiting SAS.  This may have saved me from making a major embarrassment of myself live on national radio!

In theory – although these things are always subject to change – BBC Radio 4’s ‘You and Yours’ programme (12.15) will be covering the Avios changes today.

The reason I know this is that I am appearing on the programme.  The BBC wanted me to appear live but, because of my Stockholm trip, I was able to pre-record a contribution on Friday.  This means that a) I can’t embarrass myself on live radio by making a mistake or using naughty words and b) my contribution can be edited so that it sounds sensible.

Radio 4

As I don’t know which parts of the discussion they will use, it is difficult to preview it.  With only a few minutes to talk, I was forced to simplify what is a very complex set of changes.

Avios Group chose not to appear on the programme although they were due to submit a statement.  In the interests of balance, I tried to explain why I think they did what they did – although, again, this may not make the final cut.

Please give me a pass for any errors in what I said!  I wasn’t given the questions in advance so I was trying to think on the spot as well as worry about how to present the answers in a way that a mass audience could understand.

If someone could post a link to the online version in the afternoon I’d be grateful.  Although, as I said earlier, the story (or just my bit!) may get cut or pushed back – although the published running order does say that it will be on.

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Comments

  1. They should have someone on from Virgin Trains East Coast explaining why they scrapped a great loyalty scheme that could have poached a lot of domestic passengers from BA after the devaluation, but instead they went with Nectar which meant that Avios was still the better scheme for points earning.

    If he doesn’t already, I think Raffles needs to offer consultancy services on creating an attractive loyalty scheme. I’m sure he could have come up with something for Virgin Trains East Coast that was still attractive to the customer but addressed any issues they had with the previous scheme.

    • TomTom says:

      Please let this drop.

    • *yawn* Please stop, the battle is lost.

      • Why be so determined for me to give up? I do post on here occasionally but what harm is it doing?

        The fact is we lost the most generous loyalty scheme in the UK and this was originally spun by Virgin as a good thing.

        Virgin are a company that prides itself in listening to customers. Well that’s what they say, but reality is different.

        We still believe we can get something better than Nectar, but we have to be persistent. They will have expected some sort of negative reaction but probably expected it to fizzle out within weeks so they were then free to crank up the marketing about how they listen to customers (have a look at the ‘Red Report’ on the VTEC website which shows how they claim to listen).

        Feel free to report this as spam. I’ll respect Rob’s decision (he has my contact details) but in my mind I raised an appropriate comment. If VTEC had kept rewards they would have been in a position to win over disillusioned BA passengers on domestic flights. Instead passengers are going the other way.

        • Trickster says:

          It’s taken me a couple of reads to realise you are not taking about VTEC, the manufacturer of kids electronic toys!! :-)

      • Jonny Kyle says:

        The battle isn’t lost. It’s just beginning. DB are debating a similar system due to demand and possible benefits to them.
        We’re not just gonna give up.

      • Michael says:

        Whats wrong with you people!? Do you all just give up because you think its not worth fighting for?!

        As Jonny and Save EC Rewards say, this is just the beginning. Virgin pride themselves on being a “friendly brand” that listen to customer feedback, act on it and act in the best interests of their customers.

        So far (probably due to the Stagecoach majority shareholding) They have ignored their most loyal customers and have fobbed them all off with Nectar which anyone with any common sense will know you have to literally spend thousands to get any kind of return.

        The Save EC Rewards campaign has been well documented on social media, radio and news websites and their is much support for it.

        If you dont like the comments then get off the forum – no one is forcing you to be here!

        Companies like Virgin get very complacent the larger they get and they need reminding that they should listen to customers and not fob them off with rubbish!

        • I don’t think it’s Stagecoach that’s the reason they don’t listen. Virgin are no different to any other company they just like to pretend to be.

          East Coast is still the best railway service in the country (overall, there’s certain individual services such as the FGW Pullman trains that beat it but on average VTEC beats FGW when you compare all services).

          We need to show passenger power. If VTEC choose to cut something we like then they need to know we’re not going to take it lightly.

          The fact that so many are willing to complain about the scrapping of rewards sends out a message that we’re expecting the highest standards.

          The ECML line is relatively unique in that it has some sort of competition which means they can’t completely ignore us (although some of it is provided by other Stagecoach companies, but we won’t include those). Hull Trains provides most of the ECML services to Hull but serves intermediate stations on the ECML too. Grand Central is an alternative to the north east and Yorkshire. CrossCountry operates over the ECML between Doncaster and Scotland. Great Northern competes for commuter traffic between Peterborough and London. Longer distance flights compete for London-Scotland, Newcastle and even Leeds.

          • Mr(s) Entitled says:

            You had “the most generous loyalty scheme in the UK”. Now a commercial company has removed it. Tough doo-doo.

            Recalibrate your spending. Decide on it’s worth to you. Move forward.

          • There’s always been a rewards scheme on the ECML ever since privatisation. The GNER scheme was particularly generous for high spenders, NXEC looked dreadful by comparison but is miles better than what we have now.

            Virgin claim to be better, they claim to be different. In reality they’ve treated their loyal customers worse than anyone before them.

            More info on the GNER and NXEC schemes here: http://saveecrewards.co.uk/review/forgetting-your-best-customers

            They did try and spin Nectar as something better for their customers, we will continue to pull them up on it any time they try and claim that.

          • Mikeact says:

            Sounds reasonable to me…these guys need to think themselves lucky that they don’t have to travel each day on Southern. ..if they ever have a loyalty scheme, it should be points for an on time arrival, and then they could essily get the Freddie Award for the worlds worst loyalty scheme.

          • Mikeact: I have to use Greater Anglia a couple of times a month! That is a painful experience and it has to be worse for the daily commuters than anything Southern can throw at you.

            Still it does seem to be a battle of the TOCs around London to see if they can be the worst! Govia (Southern, SouthEastern, Thameslink) v Abellio (Greater Anglia). The only one I’d rate at all is Stagecoach’s South West Trains.

            Fortunately most of my commuting is via London Overground. I positioned myself to specifically avoid the nightmare TOCs whenever possible.

            But Southern and its woes have nothing to do with East Coast Rewards, in fact at least one of our supporters lives in the Southern area and earned many free East Coast tickets buy buying all Southern tickets on the East Coast website.

          • callum says:

            You’re being utterly ridiculous. It constantly astounds me that you STILL believe it could be news to Virgin that people prefer a more generous reward system to a less generous reward system. They know full well and your continual ranting on the matter isn’t doing anything whatsoever. The fact that “so many are willing to complain” means precisely nothing – people complain all the time, it doesn’t mean they’re going to do anything about it.

            You’re a minuscule minority that can be easily ignored by Virgin, and are just wasting your time. But if you want to continue on some warped “principle” then go ahead.

          • So what you’re saying is Virgin are liars? They claim to be different and they claim to listen!

            See pages 11-13: https://www.virgintrainseastcoast.com/globalassets/downloads/pdf/corp-policy-docs/virgin-trains–east-coast-red-report-march-2015.pdf

            Why shouldn’t we hold them to account? They ask us to!

          • Michael says:

            Callum – have you read any of the Save EC Rewards website?

            I dont think anyone thinks its news to Virgin that people feel cheated by a less generous rewards programme – what people are (rightly) angry about is that Virgin keep banging on about how this is what people wanted.

            They surved about 1800 random customers, and say they all prefer Nectar, but when pressed on it they refuse to release any of the research to back this up which suggests that it was a heavily biased bit of research designed to help them implement Nectar.

            While you might not be bothered about the rewards scheme or think its a waste of time, imagine when they start putting up fares, scrapping advanced purchased cheaper tickets or reducing services, claiming that “thats what customers wanted”

            I don’t think Save EC Rewards are saying they should just bring back the scheme as if nothing has happened – they are probably in contract with Nectar anyway, but what they ARE saying is that you cant just fob people off with marketing rubbish and then expect them to just swallow it up without questionning it and STILL market yourselves as a brand that listens to customers.

            If it was Ryanair it would be a different story – Michael O’Leary is quite happy to say that he doesnt care what customers think and if you dont like it go elsewhere, but Branson has built his buisness around the customer, so do you not think they should be called to account when they start fobbing people off with rubbish?

          • What those asking us to shut up have not answered is why did Virgin do this in the first place? There were no other changes from day one and the scheme was profitable (we have evidence from a Freedom of Information request to show that).

            It seems like a Virgin knows best attitude, as if they assumed the majority would be willing to accept Nectar as it’s a big name scheme. There was no reason that they couldn’t have kept rewards on day 1, then launched a proper consultation.

            BA devalued (and I’ve not told any of you to get over it!) but in the end they still kept a scheme that rewards you for flying and has an emphasis on rewarding their best customers.

            VTEC on the other hand switched from a scheme that encouraged you to get the train, to one that meant if you wanted to benefit at all you needed to change your supermarket, petrol station and get a Nectar credit card, even so it’d still not come close.

            It’s a really nonsensical decision. Nectar is the scheme used by First Group. Book on a First website (e.g. FGW, Hull Trains, etc) and get Nectar on all travel. Book on VTEC and get Nectar only on VTEC (you won’t get Nectar on VTEC if you accidentally book on virgintrains.co.uk that’s points on West Coast only). East Coast made a few million extra on commission for selling tickets of other operators, this commission alone was more than enough to cover this scheme, but now as you don’t even get Nectar on 3rd party bookings it makes sense for those tickets to be booked on First Group.

          • callum says:

            SECR: No. As I recall saying many times before, there is a distinct difference between listening to and enacting customer feedback.

            Michael: I have indeed. So the sole focus of this campaign is just to get Virgin to announce that customers don’t prefer Nectar to EC Rewards? That seems like a colossally pointless waste of time. Not least because the alleged times they say stuff like this is generally in woolly language that can be interpreted any way you want.

            SECR: I couldn’t care less whether Virgin know better or not (though I suspect they do). Their company, their decision. If you think all the “listen to customers” stuff genuinely means let customers make commercial decisions on our behalf then you’re going to be bitterly disappointed. Though it’s your time you’re throwing away on this pointless crusade so it’s purely up to you – but don’t moan when you make posts in places like this that people point out the pointlessness of it all.

          • callum: last thing I’m going to say on this matter (probably) what’s the difference between people complaining about Avios devaluations (from good – mediocre) and the same complaining about a train scheme (from brilliant – almost useless)?

            We can link to a lot of Virgin drivel where they claim to be different, why can’t we call them on it? http://www.virgin.com/entrepreneur/richard-branson-why-you-should-listen-to-your-customers

          • Michael says:

            Callum – i am not saying that is the sole point of their campaign – thats just a reason for everyone to support it if you are bothered about rewards or not. Do you not think companies should be accountable for their actions?

            Do you not agree that Virgin like to be seen as this ‘honest friendly brand’ that you can trust?

            Just because Virgin is a commercially operating company it doesn’t mean they are making the best decisions for either themselves or their customers and its no bad thing to give a company some bad feedback if you don’t think they are doing the right thing!

            If you complained to a company about their service and didn’t like their response would you just take what they said because its their decision to make? I suspect not?!

          • Jonny Kyle says:

            Ok Callum. Here’s my opinion and dissection of your post.

            “SECR: No. As I recall saying many times before, there is a distinct difference between listening to and enacting customer feedback.”

            So basically their best customers are getting their voices heard but Virgin aren’t budging. Surely the company that “prides on listening to their customers and strives to improve” should be listening and implementing improvements?

            “Michael: I have indeed. So the sole focus of this campaign is just to get Virgin to announce that customers don’t prefer Nectar to EC Rewards? That seems like a colossally pointless waste of time. Not least because the alleged times they say stuff like this is generally in woolly language that can be interpreted any way you want.”

            Doesn’t that show up Virgin for who they really are? All spin no goods in the back? What makes Virgin so different to any other TOC? Nothing. So wasn’t it better to keep EC as EC instead of privatising it and giving taxpayers the best value for money?

            “SECR: I couldn’t care less whether Virgin know better or not (though I suspect they do). Their company, their decision. If you think all the “listen to customers” stuff genuinely means let customers make commercial decisions on our behalf then you’re going to be bitterly disappointed. Though it’s your time you’re throwing away on this pointless crusade so it’s purely up to you – but don’t moan when you make posts in places like this that people point out the pointlessness of it all.”

            ‘Their company, their decision. Their company, their decision. Their company, their decision’
            OUR RAILWAY, OUR DECISION’.
            The railways themselves are public owned and maintained by the government. NOT privately. The railway companies are private, they are effectively outsourced and employed by the government and therefore us to run a service on our behalf, with a share of the profits going to them as a reward. So technically we are the boss, we employ them. So with enough dissatisfied customers we can change what’s happening.

            “You’re a minuscule minority that can be easily ignored by Virgin, and are just wasting your time. But if you want to continue on some warped “principle” then go ahead.”

            Before SECR were on here were you aware of EC rewards at all? I mean, we’re raising awareness, showing up how bad a deal Virgin have created for regular travellers and how the spin can be easily unpicked and opened.

            The campaign will continue. You’re welcome to join if you wish. But it won’t shut down just because you tell us to or because you think it’s ‘pointless’, because it’s not.

            You’ll give up before we will.

          • callum says:

            SECR: There is no difference between them.

            Michael: Actually, yes I would. As would virtually everyone. It’s their company, if they don’t want to alter their policies to suit me then that’s purely their decision. If that’s a deal breaker for me then I simply won’t use them again. That’s what living in a free country is all about.

            Jonny: I couldn’t care less what they “pride themselves” on. The customer is not always right. Their “best” customers are not always right.

            Virgin aren’t any different to any other TOC. Yes, I suspect it would have been better for the public to keep it as EC.

            No, “technically” we are not their boss. Nor does the government owning the railway tracks mean the public have any say in the quality of frequent user scheme used by a private TOC. Can we also dictate that National Express must give out Tesco points because their coaches run on public roads?

            Yes, I was fully aware what East Coast Rewards was before SECR was on here. As, I’d imagine, were the majority of people here, what with there being numerous articles on it. If you think you’re raising awareness then frankly, you’re deluded. Not that raising awareness is a rational thing to do anyway – unless you think you can convince prospective VTEC travellers to refuse to travel (though that in itself is rather deluded).

            I’m not sure I’ve ever told you to shut down your campaign… (My apologies if I did – it’s a free country) Criticise it’s pointlessness sure, but if you want to waste your time then go ahead. I’d love it to succeed – I just know it won’t.

          • Hi callum, glad you replied – but as this thread is getting old I don’t know if you’ll see mine.

            I’m glad you want us to succeed and I’m sure you’re not the only one that would like that, but also believes it’s a waste of time. However, those that support the campaign obviously have their reasons to do so, and not everyone is anti-privatisation (I’m happy with privatisation when it gets us something better, think GNER, but most often that’s not the case).

            Even if you think Rewards are not worth fighting for, would you want the rest of the service to decline? We’ve shown Virgin we’re not like west coast who are willing to accept mediocre and think they have the best in the land.

            If you go back to 2012, First won the west coast franchise. Branson complained, got hundreds of thousands to sign his petition and got the franchise back. He did post a lot of drivel at the time including “we [the public] own the railways” and “the customer is at the heart of everything we do”.

            Yes Branson talks a lot of drivel, but it’s good to call him out on it. People fall all the time for Virgin being different, at least if we don’t achieve anything else we can try and keep the East Coast a spin free zone (which is working so far as they don’t put out much general Virgin PR these days).

            Have a read of this: http://www.virgin.com/travel/50-reasons-sign-virgin-trains-e-petition

          • Jonny Kyle says:

            “Jonny: I couldn’t care less what they “pride themselves” on. The customer is not always right. Their “best” customers are not always right.”

            Well you should. Read their ‘Red Report’. We’re complaining and they’re not acting upon that, something that was promised to us. This is why we’re angry.

            “Virgin aren’t any different to any other TOC. Yes, I suspect it would have been better for the public to keep it as EC.”

            I’m glad we agree somewhere. :)

            “No, “technically” we are not their boss. Nor does the government owning the railway tracks mean the public have any say in the quality of frequent user scheme used by a private TOC. Can we also dictate that National Express must give out Tesco points because their coaches run on public roads?”

            We own the rails they run on, the electric cables, the bridges, and tunnels they run through. We pay them through fares, subsidies derived from taxpayer’s money. If the country so desired, we could renationalise it and take them out completely. And I believe that trend is growing.

            By the way, I’m currently a CSA for National Express. After demand, there are rumours of a link up with a rewards scheme or the creation of an independent one. I’m observing with curiosity.

            “Yes, I was fully aware what East Coast Rewards was before SECR was on here. As, I’d imagine, were the majority of people here, what with there being numerous articles on it. If you think you’re raising awareness then frankly, you’re deluded. Not that raising awareness is a rational thing to do anyway – unless you think you can convince prospective VTEC travellers to refuse to travel (though that in itself is rather deluded).”

            My rationale is that quite a few regular travellers didn’t even know about EC Rewards and that’s proven by the sudden increase in membership and collection of points in the last few months of EC and the beginning of our campaign. By showing what VTEC are, we can show the public that the ‘sweet deal’ we got for the ECML is actually not sweet at all, therefore engaging the public.

            “I’m not sure I’ve ever told you to shut down your campaign… (My apologies if I did – it’s a free country) Criticise it’s pointlessness sure, but if you want to waste your time then go ahead. I’d love it to succeed – I just know it won’t.”

            ‘Waste your time’, you see this is where I get frustrated. Like there’s no point (ironically, we don’t any more with Nectar). But there is a point. I’m sorry if you continue missing the point of it. But I’m sure people opposing Mandela or women’s rights did the same. Basically, every cause that is fought is fought for a reason.

  2. me too at SMD6 😉

  3. It will be interesting to hear whether you recognise what you said after it has been edited by the BBC.

  4. Rob, at the risk of this sounding like a criticism – and it most certainly is not – how much do you feel that reward-scheme information going mainstream has contributed to (what I perceive as) their long-term devaluation?

    I have a suspicion that things were better in the old days but I’m going back to the time of Concorde when few people knew how to book such a treat with points. Notwithstanding the years 2009-2011 when BA was in a bit of a funk and threw points and status at us to keep us flying, my impression is one of benefits in inverse proportion to their mainstream awareness.

    Or is it just that I feel things are well-known simply because I know about them … therefore it’s mainstream?! 😀

    • Sebastian says:

      I think a lot of it has to do with the American market and how they get ludicrous amounts of points for there credit cards. For instances the Club Carlson credit gave Gold status, 90,000 points and the offer of book two nights get one free (although the this is now gone). As a result of such offers and due to the size of the marketplace I think the hotel schemes had little option, while I am guessing the same is true of the airline schemes.

    • sandgrounder says:

      If you hit the mother lode, keep on mining and keep your mouth shut. Once the word gets out, half the world screams ‘GOLD RUSH!’ and before you know it there are more people than you can count fighting over what you once happliy exploited.

      In such a situation, the people who can be counted on to succeed are no longer the miners, but the suppliers of the picks and shovels. That’s why starting this blog was a stroke of genius!

      I would however dispute ‘mainstream’. That’s a bit strong. Basically everyone I discuss this hobby with in the ‘real’ world loses interest in about 5 seconds! :-)

      • Hingeless says:

        I have seen a lot of complaints on the Etihad Facebook posts that getting a first apartment is something they could never afford. If only they new how easy it was to get a Amex card, convert the points ,get a refund, Fly first

        It’s not that mainstream

      • Agreed, one has to put quite a bit of effort in to track everything and research time and again and it is a time consuming hobby if done correctly and so most people cannot be bothered. Despite my daughter knowing all about it, she and her partner are now added to my BA Family account and I will pick up the Avios from their BA trip to Bali as they don’t have the inclination to save and then build upon these points, 7771 miles x 4, so just over 31,000 Avios, thank you very much.

      • One of my favourite comments I’ve read on HFP. I’ll never forget raffles saying “when you find a deal/loophole- hit it as hard as u can because it’s will eventually close/end ”

        I think the focus on this blog will eventually change. It’s alright to advise on avios rules and changes etc. but I think a lot of the “trick/loophole/use your dogs name to sign up..” Will heft to end is this blog becomes more and more popular

        • There is an element of that. There are things I cannot write about because the volume of traffic would kill it … but even when HFP was a quarter of its current size I would not have done it either. Public is public, whatever the readership. Some of the key secret tips have never, ever been revealed online.

          • You can tell me Rob, I won’t tell anyone 😉

          • There were some serious loopholes in a certain latin American airline frequent flyer program. Some airports were miscoded as being in the wrong continent which allowed people to fly in Business and First across continents and further for the price of domestic redemptions.

            These loopholes lasted 3+ years before being recently fixed. They were also a closely guarded secret on flyertalk, you had to work hard to figure them out.

            There are still some amazing things you can do that are in no way “mainstream” and are only found out by those willing to put the work in.

  5. mikeact says:

    Morning Rob, watch out for the autograph hunters….you’ll probably have to run the gauntlet of your groupies as well.

  6. Froggitt says:

    In “the olden days” I was interviewed on Working Lunch BBC2. Boy am I pleased it wasn’t live and they edited it!!!

  7. gnarlyoldgoatdude says:

    So happy that you are following the “power from poo” story.

  8. Just starting now!

  9. Just listened to it. It all sounded sensible and objective :-) Well done Raffles!

  10. A very even-handed contribution from Rob, if I may say so. :) I didn’t learn anything, thanks of course to HfP.

    Pity that BA chickened out and only provided a statement, blaming the devaluation on customer feedback and the need to be competitive. :(

    • Yes you came off rather well Rob, bravo!

      I did enjoy the avios statement saying that the changes were (in part) due to customer feedback. I presume this is referring to availability rather than the other trifling bits 😉

    • Sounds very much like a certain train company people seem to not like me talking about! 😉

      The customer feedback angle is one companies can use for any change. I disagree with BA’s approach to being competitive. Cramming in more seats, reducing benefits, means they’re pretty much going to take on easyJet on price and initially perceived prestige (but that may run out sooner rather than later).

      In the end we both want the same things here for transport companies to realise that there’s people out there that value loyalty schemes.

      • “Sounds very much like a certain train company people seem to not like me talking about! ”

        I don’t think its that people do not like you talking about ECR. More the fact that you seem to hijack more and more topics to beat your drum. Under the right Topic heading your views would be better placed and maybe welcomed.

      • callum says:

        Both BA and Virgin are WELL aware that there are people out there who value loyalty schemes. Are you going to also start a campaign now to inform BA that people prefer getting more Avios for flying and getting cheaper redemption prices?

        • What we really preferred was the old Airmiles scheme. All the campaigning and petitions did nothing to stop the change from Airmiles to avios.

  11. Tim Millea says:
    • Tim Millea says:

      I have just finished listening to the pogramme. The Avios section is in the last few minutes. BA’s statement claimed the changes were partly in response to customer feedback. Has any HFP reader been canvassed by BA over Avios?

      • ‘Has any HFP reader been canvassed by BA over Avios?’

        Not sure if it counts as canvassed, but I completed a BA survey about loyalty schemes a while ago. They clearly didn’t regard my answers as ‘customer feedback’ …

    • Thanks Tim. Will have a listen myself now!

      (EDIT: no I won’t, as iPads are not supported!)

      • Tim Millea says:

        My iPad supported it, currently in Greece with only iPad. Puzzlement emoji (is there one?).

    • Thanks for the link Tim, the Avios segment starts after about 31 minutes if anyone wants to skip straight to it.

      Rob, you should be able to use the iPlayer Radio app to listen to it.

  12. Nicely done, Rob – did a good job getting the key points out to the masses :)

  13. Watch out for all the women throwing their underwear at you. Part of the job, I suppose.

  14. Great contribution Rob. Ditto EDI Flyer if that was indeed you. Balanced, objective and fair.

    Shame that Radio 4 dummed the programme down to the level of Jeremy Vine by letting Avios / BA get away with just making a canned statement. In allowing them to talk in “Enhancement” language, they have permitted the ideology that anyone who does not like the changes is not in tune with what “real” customers want.

    Where was John Humphreys to cross examine their spin? And if they do not want to appear on the show, leave the cross examination questions hanging for the listener to decide whether they are just talking Premium language.

    Rather lame reporting by Radio 4 in my opinion.

    • Haha no, it wasn’t me – I’ve been on the Beeb a few times but not on travel-related topics 😀

  15. Kevin H says:

    One point which BA has done its best to hide (and didn’t get covered in the interview) is the massive increase in Avios required for an upgrade booking e.g. a zone 7 one-way from PE to Club in off-peak has increased from 15,000 to 36,000 Avios (+140%) – although, oddly, only 30,000 Avios (+100%) required for an upgrade in the new peak periods!
    As a Gold-for-life member, I wrote to them (twice!) on this – and they ignored the question both times.
    As for these changes being based on customer feedback – utter nonsense.

    • I think they customer feedback they refer to goes along the lines of ‘there is never any avios reward seats available’, BA then resolves this by making it much harder to earn enough points to spend on a redemption seat.

      Apparently there are changes coming to Cathay Pacific who may start to limit reward seat availability for oneworld members, with preference to their own scheme. Malaysian already do this, with really good availability for Enrich members. Perhaps BA should do likewise.

    • We talked about this in the initial chat but I didn’t mention it in the final interview. Ironic that the Scottish guy said that he was now using his points for this instead.

      • Kevin H says:

        Yes, it was a bit odd given the massive increases now required.
        It would be nice to think that BA might realise it’s alienated its frequent fliers with this devaluation and reverse some of the changes – but I won’t hold my breath!

  16. I’m afraid I’ve given up with avios.

    Earning is reduced significantly for me as I mostly fly Y paid. Other sources of avios (amex MR, tesco) are more profitably spent on something else.
    Spending has now got more expensive, and has progressively over the years been eroded by the ever increasing YQ.
    Upgrading using avios is most of the the time not worth it as WTP fares are equal to business fares on competitor airlines on the routes I fly.

    My solution (which is currently working for me, but admittedly poor £/point): transfer to avios.com and spend it on wine and whisky!

  17. Excellent interview rob.

  18. Claire says:

    I thought this was a really good interview. I am in a bit of fog about Avios and airmiles since the devaluation. We fly from Manchester so cash in our BAPP 2-4-1s going via MAN-LHR whether it be long haul in F or Europe in CE but I don’t think the latter will be remotely worth it anymore. So I may have to go away and do some homework on it which is a shame as I enjoy flying with BA. I don’t know if any of you other regional based flyers are in the same quandry or if it’s me being a bit meh.