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A change in how ‘Combine My Avios’ works, and a reminder of its quirks

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Whilst you can earn Avios in avios.com, Iberia Plus and British Airways Executive Club, the system is designed so that you can move points from one to the other using ‘Combine My Avios’.

In theory it is foolproof:

There is no limit to how many points you can move

The points move instantly

It seems that the system was, perhaps, a little too foolproof.

The ‘Combine My Avios’ page on ba.com is here.

How to use Combine My Avios

New security measures

As I found yesterday, when I tried to move some Avios from my wife’s avios.com account to her British Airways account, security has been improved.

Historically you could move points between avios.com and British Airways as long as there was a general match between some account information.  Name and date of birth might be enough, potentially email too.

What you didn’t need was a matching address.  Now you do.

It turns out that, when we moved two years, I never updated the address on her avios.com account.  As they never post anything, it wasn’t a problem.

I have been able to move Avios across over the last two years, until yesterday when I got a vague error message about a data mis-match.  As soon as I updated the postal address on her account, ‘Combine My Avios’ worked again.

Combine My Avios explained

This could cause a problem

You must have a UK postal address to join avios.com.

A British Airways Executive Club account can be set to any address globally.

Going forward, it seems that you will need to have a UK address on your British Airways Executive Club account if you want to use ‘Combine My Avios’ from avios.com.

This will cause problems for some people, although those people – if we’re honest – are mainly people who really do not live in the UK and were using avios.com under false pretences in order to take part in certain promotions.

This may actually be the ‘fraud’ that Avios was referring to when it explained why it had changed the ‘Combine My Avios’ system, rather than any sort of hack attack.

Combine My Avios

PS.  As a reminder, because newcomers may not know this, here is a summary of how ‘Combine My Avios’ works with Household Accounts.

This is the issue which tends to confuse people. Here are the T&C’s:

“Members of a Household Account under the Programmes may not use CMA other than (a) from a British Airways Executive Club Household Account to an individual account under the Avios Programme or the Iberia Plus Programme and (b) from the individual account under the Avios Programme to a Household Account under the British Airways Executive Programme. Any other Household account transaction will not be permitted under CMA.”

What this means in English is:

A member of a BA household account CAN move Avios to or from their Iberia or avios.com account (as long as the avios.com account is not a household one)

A member of an avios.com household account CANNOT move Avios to or from BA or Iberia

Note that you cannot move from Iberia to a BA household account. This is easily circumvented, though, by moving your Avios from Iberia to avios.com and then from avios.com to BA.

Combine My Avios from Iberia

PPS.  As a further reminder, you will often encounter an error if you try to move Avios from Iberia Plus to British Airways.

The first thing to remember is that an Iberia Plus account must be 90 days old and must have earned 1 Avios before you can use ‘Combine My Avios’.  The easiest way to do this is to transfer some American Express Membership Rewards points into Iberia Plus, or a credit a BA flight, hotel or car hire.

It still may not work.  This is a long-standing IT issue.  In this case, use avios.com as a conduit.  Using the avios.com website, transfer points from Iberia Plus to avios.com and then do a second transaction to move them avios.com to British Airways Executive Club.  This usually works OK.

(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.)

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Comments

  1. OT:

    I have an Avios RFS booking I don’t need anymore (positioning flights for a now non-existent AirBerlin Longhaul Business class redemption to the Caribbean for my Mother’s 70th Birthday).

    The AirBerlin flights were booked using TopBonus (AirBerlin) points so I lose out big time 🙁 About £4k of flights and no refunds / compensation 🙁

    I therefore have some BA RFS Avios bookings LHR-DUS-LHR which I no longer need.
    I’d prefer to cancel for all money & Avios back (unlikely I know).
    I’d settle for some money & all Avios back ??
    If I can’t do either of those and I’m going to lose the Avios I’d like to either reschedule them both (or at least one way) and still visit Dusseldorf (perhaps for a Christmas market?) OR change both the destination & dates.

    What have people found have been their options in this situation ?
    Might BA be a little more flexible with options given the circumstances for the change (a OneWorld Partner leaving me in the lurch !).

    • Avios bookings are refundable – you get the points back and the cash, too, apart from a 17.50 fee or something like that. For a RFS, that probably means you won’t get any money back. But you will definitely get all the Avios back.

    • You will get all of the Avios back, but not the RFS taxes as they offset the £35 per person cancellation fee. This is standard BA policy. The AirBerlin angle has nothing to do with it, since BA has no proof you were connecting to AB – had it all been on the same ticket it would have been a different story.

  2. Yes, they’ve had this security feature in place for at least 3 or 4 months as around that long ago I hit this exact same snag (having also not updated my Avios address). At the time, the person I spoke to on the online chat thing (on Avios.com, not BA) said that if there was a problem sorting out the mis-match, he could do the transfer for me, so that _may_ still be worth trying if you can’t match addresses for some reason.

    • memesweeper says:

      I’ve also had to get my avios.com and FLYBE /email/ addresses in sync, to avoid issues. Why would they would assume we all use the same email address for everything?

  3. I do not understand your comment about Avio users without a UK address may be committing fraud, or are at least using the facility of avios.com under false pretenses, by wanting to move their Avios.
    Many Spanish, and UK expats, gain Avios genuinely through Iberia Plus and British Airways Executive Club flights without having a UK address. I would like you to apologise for this statement and help us by telling us how best we may use avios.com.

    • Avios.com T&Cs note the following:
      “To be eligible to collect Points under the Scheme you must provide an address in the UK, Isle of Man or the Channel Islands.”
      https://www.avios.com/gb/en_gb/about-us/terms-and-conditions
      BAEC and IB+ are separate schemes

      • Which is different quite different to a requirement that members must “live in the UK”. So no fraud in having a UK based avios.com account if you “provide an address in the UK…”.

        Whew!!

    • Rob isn’t accusing anyone of fraud. He’s quoting Avios who have said they are tightening up procedures due to “fraud”.

      He is speculating this isn’t just fraud in the conventional sense (eg someone making an unauthorised transfer from acustomer’s account), but may also be more inforcement of the Avios.com T&Cs around residency.

      The Avios.com rules are separate from iberia plus and BAEC programs and did limit accounts to U.K. residents, so if non-residents have been using them then they shouldn’t have been and will be in breach of the T&Cs….

      • As Genghis has correctly posted above there are no rules about residency for being a member of Avios (quite rightly since residency is a very complex subject, very often confused with its cousin tax residency). You must however provide an address in the UK to be a member of Avios. This is their right and one I am happy to go along with so I use my UK home for Avios. As someone who has worked or lived outside the UK for many years I also have an overseas home and that appears on my BAEC account.
        It is, as they say simples, and I don’t see why BA and Avios think it unusual. Of course I could move my BAEC address to the UK as well and this might solve the problem – though don’t see why I should bother just to sort out BAs lack of understanding of their customer base. I have tried to call them to query this but after an age holding on a line to Bremen I gave up.

  4. I had recourse to close my Household account, transfer all the avios to my account, leaving my wife without any, before I could use some of the points to offset the cost of BA flights to South Africa. I found it, thanks to earlier instructions on here about how to do it, a very easy task. And then after saving myself some money, I reinstated the Household account! So once again, thanks to this site for showing me the way.

  5. It doesn’t seem to be covered in the topic: does the order of actions matter to maximise the available avios on a household account. Should family members first use Combine My Avios individually, then they open a BA household account, or other way around? My family is relatively new to this, any advice would be much appreciated.

    • With a BA household account, it doesn’t matter. You only have issues with CMA when you have an avios.com household account.

  6. Nigel Cohen says:

    I have an avois.com household account with approx 61,000 avoids that I want to transfer to my BA household account. How do I do it?

    • You need to break up the avios.com HHA by posting back the paper form downloadable from avios.com. Once the HHA is broken up, you can move the points across to people with the same name inside your BA HHA (which does not need to be broken up).

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