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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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