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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.

  • @alastairtravel says:

    Thanks for the Corsica tip – good availability through the summer – £98 return hand baggage only fares.

  • dicksbits says:

    BA World Traveller Plus is not comparable to Virgin premium economy but I can’t see BA being able to address this apart from the service. Can anyone see them being given a dedicated checkin desk? Not really. Or priority boarding? Doubtful.

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

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