VERY long-term readers of Head for Points may remember that, three years ago, I promoted my great idea for improving British Airways Executive Club for elite members – reforming the Gold Priority Reward.
This was such a great idea that British Airways totally ignored it and it got absolutely zero traction anywhere. I still think it is a good idea though and I want to flag it again.
What is a Gold Priority Reward?
“If there is no availability in your chosen cabin or on the flight, with the Gold Priority Reward you have the option of using double the regular Avios to secure a seat of your choice on the flight, providing you book 30 days or more in advance. All you have to do is call us to make the arrangements.”
On the face of it, this is not a bad deal. As long as there are seats left for sale for cash, you can have them – as long as you pay double Avios.
Where this falls down is that British Airways American Express 2-4-1 vouchers cannot be combined with a Gold Priority Reward.
The numbers therefore look substantially worse.
Let’s assume a family of 4 wants to head to Dubai in Club World, and they have 2 x 2-4-1 vouchers available.
A standard Avios redemption on a peak date would cost 120,000 points x 2 (as two people fly free), for a total of 240,000 Avios + roughly £2,000 tax.
Using a Gold Priority Reward would cost a total of 960,000 Avios + roughly £2,000 tax.
Using the Gold Priority Reward simply makes no sense on this basis. No sense at all. However lowly you value an Avios point, it would be hard to justify using points instead of cash.
At present, the Gold Priority Reward is pointlessly expensive for long haul use for a couple or family. It does admittedly have value on short haul at peak times – I met a number of people in Austria last month who, like us, had used it to get seats on peak ski resort flights over half term.
Here is my suggestion – allow BAEC Gold members to use Amex 2-4-1 vouchers with Gold Priority Rewards.
There are a few reasons why this is a good idea:
It is a change that will only benefit BAEC members. BA will not be giving anything to members of any other oneworld programme. The gain is accurately targeted at BA’s best customers.
It will improve customer sentiment amongst Gold members
Silver and Blue members of BAEC do not lose anything and will have an added incentive to push for Gold
It will increase the take-up of the British Airways Premium Plus American Express card, as the voucher will become far easier to use
If this change went through, a Gold member (travelling with a partner and with a 2-4-1) could guarantee themselves a Club World seat to New York or Dubai on any date for 100,000 – 120,000 Avios per person depending on date. That is quite a powerful incentive.
Imagine, for example, the incentive a flyer would have to reach Gold membership if he was planning to marry in 18 months and wanted to guarantee seats to the Maldives for the honeymoon. Anyone with children would want to push for Gold in order to guarantee seats during school holidays.
I think this idea works. It requires only a minor tweak to the BAEC programme but would have a disproportionate impact.