There you go, you see. You bang on about something for long enough and people eventually listen.
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.
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.
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.
Full details of both of these changes, including the all-important small print, can be found here on ba.com.
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