Three things which I’d like British Airways Executive Club to copy

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It is sometimes the little things in a loyalty scheme which make the difference.  Here are three things I have come across in recent weeks which I thought other schemes could benefit from copying.

Etihad launched an exclusive Twitter account for Gold members

This is quite clever.  Everyone offers premium phone lines for their elite members but very few offer a dedicated Twitter team.  If you are Gold in Etihad Guest, you can now apply for access to @etihadpremium on Twitter.

They promise:

  • Five minute response times
  • Dedicated service
  • Retro mileage claims
  • Exclusive deals

Applying is cumbersome – for some reason, they insist on seeing a photocopy of your Etihad Guest membership card.  Once you have sent that in, they will follow you, you can follow them back and that opens up the direct messaging channel.

British Airways please note.

Etihad Premium

Redeeming your miles for duty free merchandise

When I flew SAS down to Toulouse recently (photo through my window below!), I flicked through the duty free catalogue.  What impressed me was that every product was available for miles as well as cash.  10,300 EuroBonus miles got you 200 Marlboro Gold!

The exchange rate, it has to be said, was poor – around 0.3 Eurocents per mile.  For some reason the rate is far worse than the 0.5 Eurocents per mile they use if you redeem miles to buy food and drink onboard.

It is still a good idea though.  Imagine how pleased your partner would be if he / she was idly looking through the catalogue, pointed out something they liked and then you said ‘no problem, let’s get it with my miles’.

I’m not sure how you can check the current balance of a mileage account inflight but clearly SAS has found a way.

File 30-05-2015 01 17 34

Rolling over your tier points with Jumeirah Hotels – could BA do this?

I was looking into the small print of my Jumeirah Hotels Sirius account, as I am keen to ensure I spend enough this year to retain Silver status and therefore free breakfast on our family holidays.

Jumeirah tier points do not expire.  They roll over annually.  Even modest spenders would still find, after a few years, they would qualify for a year of Silver status.

This is a clever move, I think.  Two things would happen – either the guest would visit Jumeirah more in the year they had status to enjoy the benefits (a win) or they continue to only stay infrequently, in which case giving out the status has cost very little.

There is another twist with Jumeirah Sirius.  When you renew status, your tier points do not reset to zero.  They simply deduct what is required for the new tier.

Some of the other hotel schemes which are based around qualifying nights also let you roll over additional nights about your requalification threshold.

Imagine, if you earned 800 tier points with British Airways, only losing 600 when your Silver card was renewed.  You would have a head start of requalification next year and may even be tempted to push on for Gold.

This system has pros and cons.  The upside is that customers do not feel that tier points are ‘wasted’.  At present, a BA flyer who hits 600 for Silver but can never hit 1,500 for Gold sees his additional spend going nowhere in terms of tier points.  A rollover scheme stops that and may encourage more custom.

On the downside, someone who values Silver but not Gold may actually stop spending early!  If you were on 1,400 tier points, you may be tempted to stop flying BA until you are into your next membership year.  This would maximise your time as a Gold as you get all of your current year plus all of the next one – a maximum of 23 months.

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  1. Tom C says:

    Your last point rings true with me. I will never hit Gold and will always be a Silver member. Right now I’m on just over 900 Tier points and have until September to hit the target, which simply will not happen. If it was extended by a few months, it wouldn’t be a problem, yet now I’ve got the choice of whether to fly BA F or Virgin UC to Miami in November, and it does make me take the tier points into consideration. It would be nice if due to booking the flight now, I could get the tier points for this year if I choose to.

  2. Phillip says:

    The only thing I would say about Etihad Guest’s premium account is, does it deliver? If the five minute response is a “holding message” that asks you to then email stuff through that will never be actioned, then nothing achieved! The ME3 have non existent behind the scenes customer service!

    • Phillip you are pretty much right, I am Gold (status match) and I started following the account. I haven’t used it personally but what i saw on the feed is that they just pretty much re-check for the customer and email the departments. They don’t seem to deposit miles and other more complex account queries. I was personally disappointed but Im interested to see what happens if I need them. The waiting time is very short though I agree, emails are replied very fast.

      • James says:

        Just head over to the Etihad Guest page on flyertalk – you will see their social media responses are pretty much useless… some even wonder if they have a bot doing auto replies going by the quality of the responses.

        • Miles Down Under says:

          Would suggest you really, really don’t want BA copying Etihad in this regard…

        • Colin MacKinnon says:

          Well, at least you get a response…….

          “Your call to BA is so important to us that we can’t be bothered employing sufficient staff to answer it…..” message gets a bit boring by the second or third HOUR!

          Oops. Sorry. Forgot, this is about Gold people.

  3. RIccati says:

    I find it is problem with BAEC that everyone has an arbitrary year (eg, Aug-Aug, Sep-Sep), depending on when they opened account.

    What’s more, I was advised that random year start cannot be changed!

  4. Rollover elite qualifying miles is a great perk, in my opinion. It’s the reason I stay loyal to Delta, despite their recent devaluation to an already much-derided program. My annual travel pattern usually leaves me just short of Gold. Without rollover miles I would be forever Silver.

    With Delta, rollover miles is an elite-only benefit, so they’re encouraging you always to aim for at least their lowest level.

  5. Volker says:

    Sadly BA obviously see more cons than pros (for themselves, from their business point of view), otherwise they would follow your suggestions without hesitation, Rob.

  6. Danksy says:

    Off topic but I’ve had my automated claim for missing TPs and Avios from Qatar rejected from BA…does anyone have a BA customer services email address please?

    • msm2000uk says:

      Don’t use the automated online response for QR. Phone BA and ask for the claim to be re-added to the spreadsheet.

      I had a similar problem, was rejected twice by QR, but then accepted on the third time of asking once I’d given BA every piece of minute information needed!

      It took 5 weeks for the Avios and Tier Points to credit, from the original flight date.

  7. Here are three features offered by other schemes that I’d love to see in BA Exec Club:-

    1. Air Berlin have a credit card where you can earn points towards status.
    2. Finnair allow coversion of their avios equivalent to tier points.
    3. Hilton allow redemption stays to count towards status in the same way as cash stays.

    Sadly though none of them are ever likely to happen in BA Exec Club.

  8. Re:SAS they don’t check your balance in air, instead they take a payment card as well as your Eurobonus in case you’re short of points

  9. Susan says:

    If we’re in the land of fantasy – a zone-based redemption chart with no difference between own-metal and alliance partners, ridiculously easy mileage accrual for filling in quick surveys, amount of redeemed miles determined by the cabin class of single longest flight of a multi-flight itinerary and a guaranteed cheese toastie for all status holders. Oh if only such a scheme existed 😉

  10. OT: Amex offers now offer £5 off £10 purchase.

    • Sorry iPhone cut off early:-

      £5 off £10 purchase at post office.

      • Lionel says:

        We’re a bit late to the party but still plenty of time to register.

        x3 here 🙂

  11. Agree with Philip and Elena re: Etihad Twitter account. I’m a Platinum (the old Gold Elite) and this is yet another marketing spin. They do reply but ask to send details. Any complaints….forget about any sensible response. Customer service but doesn’t exist. Too much marketing and too little substance!

    • Mike sounds about right with many things in the Middle East. I had high hopes for this but it doesn’t work in reality. I am happy however their award system is back on track.

      • Aeronaut says:

        Seems like in its newly reformed guise you’re more likely to get a better customer service response from Ryanair than the big three middle eastern airlines!

  12. The finnair award points to tier points system is really nice, if you’re a little short of reaching your renewal target you can use up some award points. It’s also good for those in countries where you are not supposed to use company earned points for private travel. You can convert them to higher status instead. Finnair limit how many award points you can convert though, you are allowed to convert max 50% of your renewal threshold.

  13. Rupert says:

    And one thing they have copied – massive devaluation in premium dream of a Suite is looking shaky..

    Was: 55226
    Now: 87732

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