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What Alex Cruz had to say at World Travel Market yesterday

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World Travel Market, the UK’s biggest trade show of any sort, runs at Excel in East London between Monday and Wednesday this week.  Monday is restricted to the media and key buyers and is when the real business gets done.

British Airways Chairman and CEO Alex Cruz gave a speech and did a Q&A yesterday afternoon.  It was one of his first major appearances since taking on the job.  He made some big announcements but they were things that regular HFP readers will already know, many of which were initially flagged in the Investor Day presentation on Friday which I covered here.

The following bullet points, however, were of interest.  Some of the following information is new and the rest has not been widely discussed:

Alex Cruz World Travel Market

British Airways is about to announce a new Summer 2018 route to Figari in Corsica.  This has not yet been formally announced and is not yet bookable.  (EDIT: 10am Tuesday, it is now announced and should be bookable.) If you fancy booking Avios flights there for next Summer, get your diary out and start planning.  The official announcement, which will coincide with seats becoming bookable, should happen in the next few days.

Club Europe catering is to be completely redesigned and relaunched in late 2018.  This appears to be an admission – which I totally agree with – that the recent changes were not done properly, at least on shorter routes.  I admit that feedback on the food on longer short-haul flights is much improved.

Economy passengers with status (probably just Gold) or travelling on fully flexible short haul tickets should get ‘special treatment’ in flight when it comes to catering.  There is not a cast iron guarantee that this will happen, or what form it will take, but Cruz understands it is an issue.

An admission that adding Club Europe to domestic flights was done to protect long-haul Club World revenue.

A full second meal to be re-introduced in Economy on long haul routes.  ‘Wrong decisions’ had been taken on long-haul Economy catering in the past.

Alex Cruz World Travel Market

Cruz is keen to add more US destinations to the network.

The number of routes with First Class will be progressively reduced but it is definitely staying.

In terms of Avios, he has noted what the US carriers have done in terms of revenue-based earning but does not feel that this exact model is what he wants.  He is keen for Avios to massively increase the numbers of places where you can collect points.  There was also an implication that the ‘dynamic pricing’ discussed last week will relate to last minute bookings, or possibly the Etihad model where you can book any seat on any plane if you are willing to use enough points.  (Of course, extending ‘part pay with Avios’ so it is uncapped would achieve this very easily without causing much disruption.)

So, food for thought.

PS.  This article would usually end here.  However, there is an interesting coda.  Alex Cruz and I travelled back to West London together last night.  It wasn’t planned, but we ended up standing next to each other on the tube from Canning Town to Westminster, where we both changed onto a District Line before I jumped out at Sloane Square.  No chauffeur car or entourage for Alex, to give him credit.

I am not going to talk about what we discussed because it would be unprofessional, but I took the opportunity to stress a few of my key tenets about how loyalty schemes work and what can go wrong.  As always, once you’ve spent some time with someone you see them in a different light and I did find him a thoughtful and surprisingly down to earth character.


How to earn Avios points from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (June 2022)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards.

Until 18th July 2022 there is an astonishing special offer on these cards. You get 50,000 Avios on the Avios Plus Mastercard and 10,000 Avios on the free Avios Mastercard. You can apply here. We strongly recommend getting the Avios Plus card whilst this offer is running.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

50,000 Avios for signing up (A CRAZY SPECIAL OFFER!) and an upgrade voucher for spending ….. Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

10,000 Avios for signing up (SPECIAL OFFER) and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable card perk – the 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.

SPECIAL OFFER: The sign-up bonus on Amex Gold is increased from 20,000 Membership Rewards points to 30,000 Membership Rewards points until 19th July 2022. This card is free for the first year.

American Express Amex Gold

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Run your own business?

We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,000 Avios.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

10,500 points bonus – the most generous Avios Visa for a limited company Read our full review

You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

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

Comments (85)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Polly says:

    We are doing Prague for 9.99 pp better than rfs at that rate..but t 5 v v useful for mercy runs to dub. Using t5 like a bus atm.
    Now sitting in J on our 787 in HEL to HKT minus 1 outside…

    Tnx Harry for your good wishes yesterday on QR Sale article..we may be turning right right round again for home as soon as we land.

  • Drav says:

    BA have played a smart game for sure. Take a poor product that people are already wedded to – so you know you have an audience with low standards.

    slowly worsen it bit by bit to see how high people’s breaking points are… then slowly make small but cost friendly improvments and those people will probably never leave.

    genius.

    • Lux says:

      But that probably *is* the strategy, and it’s working, right? I still collect Avios and want to redeem on BA, despite the perceived decline in product quality and relatively low standard compared with the ME3.

  • Lux says:

    Well done Rob, good insight.

    “No chauffeur car or entourage for Alex, to give him credit.”

    No second private jet following him, unlike the Chairman of GE! I have a good deal of respect for this, it’s a pragmatic choice that leads by example (note that smart politicians do the same – Ken, Sadiq), and I wonder how many of this blog’s regular business readers would accept the same.

    (I’ve cycled to Heathrow T3 before the tunnel close, and once walked home from Heathrow T4, but that’s because I’m a bit odd.)

    • Rob says:

      I had my entourage with me and we actually took a cab to Canning Town as we couldn’t face the (literally) 1000 person deep queue for the DLR at Prince Regent …..

      • Lux says:

        Finally a practical reason to use the cable car!

        • Mike says:

          Is the cable car free for WTM?
          If the weather is good I would recommend the chance to walk across the top of the O2. Normally some online deals.
          Still in two minds as to if I’m going tomorrow or not.

      • RussellH says:

        That is one of the things I am realy pleased to avoid now that I no longer go to WTM
        🙂

    • Oh! Matron! says:

      Came here to say this.

      Despite being on expenses, I more than happily get the X26 from Kingston rather than Uber / Driving and leaving the car, etc, etc

      This shows a level of humbleness. But, then again, a bit of practicality also, as it may also have been quicker 🙂

      • Simon says:

        my current favourite (quickest) route home when travelling alone from T5 is tube to hatton cross and then either x26 or taxi home.

  • pauldb says:

    Figari is an interesting one – already had Corsica on the to-do list. Unfortunately for a redemption it will probably sit in that unfortunate window where it’s 7500 base miles (>650mi) but you don’t even really get better value by upgrading with a Lloyds or Amex voucher as the catering in CE is so lame (medium band, <850mi).

    • pauldb says:

      It’s in the timetable already but not yet bookable. Sundays only from May 27th (half-term) to Oct 7th; 1205 departure from LHR.

    • David Safir says:

      Figari-Sud Corse is very convenient for Bonifacio (and ferry to Sardinia); and Ajaccio, Bastia and Calvi are already well-served by LCC, occasional charters and French donmestic flights. An open-jaw out to Figari back from Olbia or vv would make a great (if expensive) “grown-up” summer break.

  • The_real_a says:

    OT – 2000 MR points for RYANAIR on £80 spend via Amex platinum offers. Not on any of my other cards.

    • the real harry1 says:

      doubt if it will appear on BA Amex…

      • the real harry1 says:

        I’ve got £25 off £100 with Ocado – this will stack nicely with any of their new a/c offers, eg £20 off £80

        triple whammy if you invite a friend – this gets you a £40 Ocado voucher
        https://discountcode.dailymail.co.uk/ocado

        so you could invite the wife and together you’ll get £40 + £25 + £20 = £85

        • PalCsaky says:

          This is not a statement credit offer but a voucher code to be used at checkout. How do you make it stack with other codes? “To redeem this offer, visit ocado.com, register with Ocado and quote promo code VOU5504605 at checkout”

        • Simon says:

          I thought Ocado stopped you using the same delivery address as a new account. So cant refer wife, kids etc

      • bagoly says:

        I thought retailers generally use the offers to try to woo one away, so they might well actively target BAPP cardholders!
        Or does brand on the card, here BA, have a veto list?

        Whether they would succeed is a different matter.
        I’m an Easyjet regular, and had some OK experiences with Ryanair, but last time they diverted us rather unnecessarily, and the recent round of cancellations has made me think I will avoid them even if they are the only airline offering a direct route.

    • David says:

      Now, does this work on cumulative spend I wonder?

      Also note, Ryanair sell gift vouchers:
      https://www.ryanair.com/gb/en/gift-vouchers/buy-now

  • Mikeact says:

    “massively increase the numbers of places where you can collect points”….I guess this means more Avios will be needed to redeem, as perhaps suggested.

    • mark2 says:

      Indeed: increase the amount of ‘money’ available and prices will go up.

      • Gavin says:

        Expansion of Avios partners could mean many things – but more Avios in the market will more likely mean a devaluation of the program one way or another

  • Joe Griffiths says:

    Re: dynamic pricing model. This point: “….will relate to last minute bookings, or possibly the Etihad model where you can book any seat on any plane if you are willing to use enough points.”

    Given the furore about bumping in the US earlier this year, and concerns about downgrading of BA 241 bookings, is this really an acceptable model to be aiming for? Surely it just increases pax anxiety that they’re not going to get the seat they paid for, or worse, get chucked off the flight because someone else “deserved” their seat more than them?

  • will says:

    Ref Catering in Economy. I personally think that a good idea may be to split down the fare classes in economy even further and sit people on the aircraft per fare class.

    EG fully flex or (if BA want to treat status holders well) Golds behind CE and offer them complimentary food service.
    Something like a free choice of 2 items from the food on the BOB and then complimentary drinks. I feel it would cause too much hassle if these ticket holders were spread throughout the aircraft so sitting them all in one block would make it easy to administer.

    I’m pretty sure I heard this announcement on an American Airlines or Finnair flight last month (although I wasn’t particularly concentrating) something like “Seat rows x to y receive complimentary service, rows y to z cup of tea only (or must pay)”

    • Richard says:

      Finnair don’t announce anything but short haul Emerald card holders get a free alcoholic or soft drink (tea/coffee/water/juice is free for everyone). The trolley has a small tablet the size of a 5inch smart phone and the seat map is loaded into it so they know where the status card holders are sitting. They will now proactively offer the free drink but for about the first year they didn’t mention this benefit, this is perhaps linked to the new smaller tablet. Before they had a handheld 7inch type without the seat map. If you change seats just mention you have an emerald card.

    • Leo says:

      Yeah that sounds really classy….

    • will says:

      It may not be “classy” but it solves the problem of people who say “BA is premium, I expect a free meal” and also gives BA the ability to sell cheap HBO fares to compete with the LCC’s.

      Asking people who’ve paid £500 for a fully flex short haul to pay for BOB isn’t a great business model imho, likewise asking your top tier members to pay for BOB may turn them off a bit.

      It will certainly be awkward handing out free drinks to some and then charging the people sat next to them though.

    • Andrew says:

      It’ll be like going back to the days of BMI. There’ll be 4 rows behind the curtain at the back of the plane on a Friday evening domestic.

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