British Airways scraps shareholder discount – but other companies have not

If you held 200 shares in British Airways before it merged with Iberia to form IAG, you will have received a letter or email from BA advising you that the 10% shareholder discount is being stopped from January 31st.

This is not altogether surprising.  The benefit was never rolled over to IAG shareholders so the beneficiaries were an increasingly small number of people who were on the old British Airways share register in January 2011.

It was a particularly lucrative scheme whilst it lasted.  BA shares traded around £1.40 for much of time before the merger with Iberia which meant that you could buy into the shareholder discount for around £280.   Ignoring the share price performance – which has been excellent – it was very easy for anyone buying premium tickets from their own pocket to get back the £280 very quickly.

(It was never a great perk for economy ticket holders because the discount was based on the pre-taxes and charges price.)

British Airways

British Airways was not the only company to offer a decent shareholder discountThis page on the Hargreaves Lansdown website gives a summary of companies who offered discounts as at September 2013.  The list includes Carnival, pub groups Fullers, Marstons and Greene King, Marks & Spencer, Irish Continental ferries, Mulberry, Next, Whitbread (Premier Inn) and Safestore.

There is one other group of people who receive a 10% discount on British Airways tickets – holders of the old bmi credit cards.  If you log on to the Diamond Club website you will see a special link which allows you to book flights whilst triggering the discount.  Luckily, for those of us who still have these cards, there is no sign of this deal going away.

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  1. Nick Burch says:

    Sadly the BMI discount doesn’t apply to HBO fares. Certain other fares don’t seem to get discounted either, and the price shown on the grid view isn’t always the same as when you click through for the total price!

  2. In fairness it was pretty worthless given that fees were excluded. So on a domestic flight it probably was not worth the effort.

  3. The BMI discount is great and often more than 10%, in fact the % seems a little random. I have had great single discounted fares from GVA to LCY.

    • I think the best BMI discount I’ve seen was around 28%! That was MAN/LHR/FRA and back sometime last year. Actually had me flying on BA rather than the normally cheaper and always more convenient Lufthansa!

  4. Isn’t the BMI discount only available if you have the pay for premium card rather than the free one? Thanks

    • Nick Burch says:

      In theory, yes. In practice, owing to the wonders of BA’s IT department and the fact that the replacement Diamond Club website looks to have been created by the metaphorical 12 year old, a working link seems to show up for everyone no matter what kind of Diamond Club credit card they have!

  5. Andy Brown says:

    The BA Shareholder discount ends at midnight on 31 January 2015, not 1 Jan.

  6. The BMI discount, is that just on BA metal?

  7. Diamond Club website says only those with Diamond PLUS accounts get the 10% discount. I presume all PLUS acccounts are charged for?

  8. Think Square says:

    Gah! I keep forgetting the BMI discount. Any tips for remembering to use it?

    ps. What’s an HBO fare?

  9. For some funny reason, the 10% discount does not reflect when I click through the bmi card site, it gives me the same price??

    • Think Square says:

      It shows the usual price on the front screen, but applies the discount after you’ve selected specific flights.

  10. Is there a special link for the 10% discount that I am missing? I don’t have a Plus card and when I login and go to the News and Offers section there are four boxes, one which says ‘Great deals on BA flights’ – is this the discount link?

    • Think Square says:

      After you log in, there is a big banner with a picture of a hut in a tropical ocean (well there is for me, anyway).. Click it.

      • When I log-in it just takes me to the ‘My Account’ page. I guess there is a difference between the fee-free Amex and the Plus Amex – at least for some of us. Does anyone know if it is possible to upgrade the free Amex to Plus – I know you can’t get a new one, but perhaps they do like taking fees.

        • Nick Burch says:

          On the My Account page, below the menu but above your statement there should be a banner. As Think Square says, you should hopefully have a picture of a tropical sea with a hut on it, saying about a 10% BA discount. Click that to be taken to the special booking site. If no discount shows up, go back and click again – I find it doesn’t always take it the first time.

          (I only have the free MBNA BMI amex+visa pack, not the premium/fee one, but the discount link advert shows just fine for me)

  11. Just more evidence, if indeed more were needed, of the erosion of the middle class in Western countries. As capital becomes increasingly concentrated in the hands of highly leveraged financial instis and wealthy individuals companies no longer see any benefit in trying to encourage loyalty in a less diverse shareholder base.

    Thanks neo-liberal economics. Good job.

    • Lady London says:

      Wow! what an interesting issue. What other forums are you on, Oates?

      • Sounds like a BBC blog jealous ranter to me!

        • Not really. I work in finance and earn a good cut. I just get to see this kind of thing up close every day.

          And to be honest the financialisation of our whole economy and the erosion of the spending power of a good chunk of the middle class does none of us any favours in the long run.