New BAEC benefits: free seating on Hand Baggage tickets and status extension for new parents

There you go, you see.  You bang on about something for long enough and people eventually listen.

For a couple of years, Head for Points has been banging the drum for British Airways Executive  Club to introduce a ‘status extension’ for new parents.  See here, here, here etc.

This was driven by my own experience of watching my wife lose her British Airways status, twice, after we had our children and then having to restart as a Blue member after her maternity leave.

At last, it has happened.

See this page of for details of the BAEC changes.

Status extensions introduced for new parents

You will be eligible to have your Bronze, Silver or Gold status extended following the birth or adoption of a baby.  This offer is valid for both parents.  Relevant documentation is required.

You can request an extension twice in any five year period.

The rather vague terms imply that that the extension will be granted purely for the period of any parental leave taken.

Internal BA communications state clearly, however, that it will be a full year extension.  Whether they really intend to give this to a father who takes limited paternity leave remains to be seen.

You will also receive 1,000 bonus Avios if you add your baby to a Household Account within 6 months of requesting the extension.

British Airways Executive Club birth extension policy

Free seat selection on Hand Baggage Only tickets

To give British Airways credit, they are not claiming that this is a great new benefit.  They admit that this was something that they took away from you and are now bringing back.

From 14th June, Executive Club Bronze, Silver and Gold members will be able to select a seat for free – in the standard time frame for their tier – on a Hand Baggage Only ticket.

BA’s problem here is that they failed (or refused) to understand how the world actually works.  Most corporate travel policies insist on buying the cheapest possible fare.  HBO was not ‘optional’ for most business travellers – which made elite members angry at the inability to select a seat.

(It also wasn’t smart to take away free food and drink from these people because – in the real world – most business travellers cannot get alcohol expenses reimbursed.  Replacing the ‘lost’ free Friday night G&T now means a direct hit to the pocket of the traveller and to their goodwill towards BA.)

If you have booked a Hand Baggage Only ticket for travel after 14th June and have already paid for seat selection, this will be refunded automatically.

A side effect ….. Avios redemptions become slightly less attractive

If you have British Airways status, Avios redemptions on short haul are now marginally less attractive.

At present, Avios redemptions allow free seat selection.  Hand Baggage Only cash tickets do not, which gives added value to the Avios ticket.  That difference is now disappearing and, assuming that you were not checking in baggage and are not bothered about ticket flexibility, you can now directly compare a HBO cash ticket with the Avios cost and see which is preferable.

That makes two good news stories from British Airways in the same week ……

Full details of both of these changes, including the all-important small print, can be found here on

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)

Got the Etihad credit card? Get a free upgrade to Heathrow Rewards premium tier
Bits: SWISS sale, Star Alliance HEx upgrade, use Avios for Lapland!
About Head for Points

We help business and leisure travellers maximise their Avios, frequent flyer miles and hotel loyalty points. Visit every day for three new articles or sign up for our FREE emails via this page or the box to your right.


  1. Carl says:

    ”At present, Avios redemptions allow free seat selection.” ‘- Would be nice if someone can clarify this as I was asked pay for seat selection when I redeemed my avios BA ticket in April. I believe this is still an elite member benefit and blue members do have to pay for seat selections in any means expect first class?

    • Alan says:

      They only offer free seat selection to those with status or in First – I think this statement was trying to draw a contrast on short-haul flights, where as a passenger with status you could select seats on an RFS redemption but not on an HBO ticket.

      • the real harry1 says:

        unless it changed VERY recently, you can still get free seat selection with Avios redemptions but only @ T-24hrs

        exit seat choice is always paid (unless you do the self check-in machines trick @ airport or get lucky by asking the check-in agent in person)

        • Alan says:

          Ah OK, good point re T-24 w/out status – I’m just glad they’re not downgrading RFS redemptions to HBO!

  2. Katherine says:

    Has anyone successfully gotten a response from BA re: BAEC status extension? I sent in my baby’s birth certificate on the 9th of may but have yet to hear back