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Bits: Lloyds response to our fraud claims, BA changing the policy on children in lounges?

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News in brief:

Lloyds response to our card fraud claims

Our article yesterday on card fraud on the Lloyds Avios Rewards credit card got traction, being picked up by Radio 4’s ‘You and Yours’, The Telegraph (read their article here), The Register (read their article here) and thisismoney.co.uk (read their article here) among others.

Thank you to the readers who responded to media enquiries.

For completeness, this is the statement that Lloyds issued yesterday:

“A very small number of Lloyds Bank Avios Rewards American Express credit card customers have been affected by recent fraudulent activity. This has affected less than one percent of customers who hold these cards and we have introduced additional controls to provide further protection.  These controls have been successful in ensuring that fraudulent transactions are identified and declined.  We apologise to customers for any inconvenience caused. Impacted customers will receive a full refund of monies that have been taken fraudulently.”

British Airways Dubai lounge

British Airways considering changing their policy on children in lounges

BA runs an ‘invite only’ panel of regular flyers where it occasionally asks for suggestions on topics of interest.

The latest topic is, without a doubt, going to inflame passions both ways:

BA is looking at the idea of allowing Gold members (and above) permission to bring in all of their children into BA lounges.  Before this is decided, BA want to hear from you about what impact this may / may not have on your experiences.”

One of the options below is whether this policy should be restricted to Galleries Club and not to Galleries First, ie Gold card holders would need to ‘downgrade’ to the Galleries Club lounge in order to bring in their children.

I am for this idea, for what it’s worth.  Not because I have kids of my own – we are usually in premium cabins anyway and so I can get them in regardless of status – but because it addresses a big problem for BA.

In general, most frequent flyers are more concerned about their privileges when flying with their family.  I have pushed Avios on numerous occasions to consider increasing the number of guaranteed Club World seats to four per flight, not two, because BA’s core middle and senior level professional corporate customers are highly likely to have family.  Regular flyers who cannot find Avios availability to fly their family on holiday in the same premium cabins they fly themselves for work are unlikely to be happy.

Some of the smaller hotel chains have addressed this with ‘guaranteed at booking’ suite upgrades for top customers.  They know that you are less bothered about a suite upgrade on a quick overnight business stay but very bothered about a suite upgrade on a weekend away with your partner.  Allowing elites to lock in the upgrade a couple of times a year when booking is a very powerful tool.

The dynamics are different for airlines, but anything that makes it easier for BA’s most valuable customers to feel equally valued when travelling with their family is likely to go down well.

If it really got messy over the summer, one solution would be to allocate one of two Galleries Club lounges in Terminal 5A as the family lounge and block children entirely from the other one ……

PS.  The picture above is the Concorde Bar in the new-ish BA Dubai lounge


how to earn avios from credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (July 2021)

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

There are two official British Airways American Express cards:

British Airways American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and a companion voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

BA Premium Plus American Express card BAPP

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

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

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

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 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

We also recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card:

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The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company 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 (109)

  • Jimmyjimmy says:

    Does that include my 35 year old son and 38 year old daughter, they would be pleased to join me in lounge!!

  • Drolma-la says:

    A contentious topic indeed. Presumably children count as adults for H&S headcounts. If a lounge is too full to accommodate me, I’m not going to be too pleased at the thought that at least someone else was able to bring in their whole family. I don’t have BA status and generally opt for more flights at sub-business class level rather than fewer more luxurious ones, so BA lounges aren’t an issue for me. But it’s mightily annoying to be turned away from AMEX Centurion or Priority Pass lounges because they are too full.

  • Kate Hyde says:

    Notwithstanding whether or not it is a current confidential issue on BA’s agenda or not, I think this subject is one worthy of debate as it’s clear there are strong positions either side. It must surely be an obvious consideration from time to time.
    However, whether this makes commercial sense surely comes down to examining the data on behaviour and profile of potential Gold members (and that of rival programme elite members) more than individual opinions and testimonies.
    All tier privileges are at heart a lever pulled by the airline to encourage long term loyalty and revenue to their business, and it’s interesting to consider the commercial effects of increasing the attraction of gold membership amongst those ‘restricted’ to travel with 2+ family members (versus the loss of revenue from those who turn away from the airline due to presence of minors in lounges or premium cabins).
    If it turns out that a significant proportion habitually want/try to include children (or any companion group larger than 2) in their travel plans then generous lounge access and more group-friendly redemption availability would be a powerful draw for BAEC Gold, and perhaps worth the consequent further developments to lessen the anxiety/disgruntlement of other customers. Would there be a commercial backlash against this policy? Or would the golden package {gold priority reward, 4-at-a-time redemption availability, and family lounge access} be the powerful incentive for loyalty that BA clearly needs from this profile group of bigger spenders? As a gold-with-family and therefore outrageously biased (!!), I suspect the latter, but only the data will tell BA which way to go with this, not us!

  • Stuart F says:

    “but because it addresses a big problem for BA.”

    No it doesn’t. It addresses a problem for Gold members with families. BA couldn’t care less who they sell the seat to provided they get paid. If the seats sell then there is no problem for BA at all.

  • Russell says:

    “Fewer than 1%” is a weasely little phrase, isn’t it? Assuming they have a fair few cardholders, that’s still a sizable number of people…

    • Simon says:

      Looking at the comments thread on here when it was first mentioned, I would have thought it was > 1% of the HfP readership that also had the card…

      • Rob says:

        It could be 1%:

        HFP has around 25,000 daily readers including the email list
        Perhaps 1/3rd have the Lloyds card (I don’t, the 25% who are non-UK readers do not) so that is 8,000
        I’d guess about 80 people posted ‘I’ve been hit’ comments

        Obviously that assumes a 100% strike rate from people who’d been hit choosing to comment. Given that literally 99% of our readers NEVER comment, you could argue that there is no way that every impacted readers commented.

        • Simon says:

          So basically you don’t believe it either 🙂

          The UK really needs to update it’s laws surrounding the admission of data breaches / cyber attacks. The US is much more stringent in having to disclose the breach soon after discovery where as here you can just put your fingers in you ears and sing la la la…

        • EwanG says:

          Simon – GDPR which will come in next year with the Data Protection Bill will bring additional scrutiny to personal data breaches. Soon it will be for the US to play catch-up

  • Henk says:

    Sorry, but I am against this. Not because I don’t want children in the lounge, but simply because of capacity. Lounges are pretty full as it is. No problem with kids who have access through status or travel class. But if the number of children would increase sharply as a result of this, it would make the environment in the lounge different. And during holiday times probably a lot worse. Plus in the outstations there often is no separate F and J lounge – and it isn’t fair to dump all this on Silver/J travellers either.

    When our kids were younger, and we didn’t always fly club or had sufficient status card, we would simply wait somewhere else. At one point I started to make sure we had at least two cards in the family, so we could simply go in all four.

  • wyvern says:

    This is a good idea. As is selling lounge access for cash and/or Avios for additional guests (or additional children for Silver). Lufthansa and plenty of other airlines do this.

  • Tim Millea says:

    We are considering the contentious subject of lounge access for the guests of Gold card holders. These guests have no personal entitlement from airline status or ticket. One guest is currently allowed (not ‘partner’ or ‘spouse’ as this benefit is so often mis-represented). This is clearly a valuable perk and one which already sold by some Gold members, in advance, to strangers travelling economy on the same flight.

    1. The proposal to grant lounge access to unlimited children travelling in economy may result in those with premium tickets being denied access due to capacity contraints.

    2. If the premium ticket obtains access, he/she may find the lounge over-run with children travelling in economy.

    3. Many of BA’s frequent fliers only travel on a premium ticket when somebody else pays. The policy would encourage their entire family to travel economy when they have to pay themselves – obtain most of the perks.

    4. There is the further moral hazard that BA encourage people to have children – you know how frequent flyers like to exploit their perks.

    5. Think of the single, non-Gold card holder paying good money for their premium ticket. Why should they be at such a huge disadvantage to families not even paying for premium tickets?

    I would suggest BA equalise the benefits between premium ticket holders and Gold card holders. A simplification of the rules, based on fairness, would be much welcomed and I believe, in the long-run, commercially astute.

    • the real harry1 says:

      [4. There is the further moral hazard that BA encourage people to have children – you know how frequent flyers like to exploit their perks.]

      I’m definitely going to have 2 or 3 more children so that we can benefit

      the kids can sort of look after themselves for the next 20 years

    • Talay says:

      I fly on premium tickets, not status, though I have some but I already find lounges crowded and seats at a premium in many places. I am also against selling access to these lounges for the same reason.

      I appreciate status but I really question how many people have top level status but then fly in economy ? That data needs mining.

      If status is to be considered an extendable benefit to the family and we accept the argument that people only fly in premium when someone else is paying then it will truly devalue the benefits which come with the purchase of a ticket myself, with my money.

      Like hell do I want to turn up at the lounge to find it full of kids flying economy when I cannot sit down or even worse, not allowed in because it is full (of kids flying economy).

      By all means have a separate place (same place as a pay for lounge) for them but if I pay to fly premium, I want premium.

      • the real harry1 says:

        sounds like you want all other people in the lounge to have paid for premium tickets in order to be let in

        • Yan says:

          This is basically the LH/LX model (also AY at HEL), separate lounges for J and Golds (usually better)

        • Tim Millea says:

          If there are space constraints, it seems only fair to limit access to those with premium tickets.

          Conversely, it seems perversely unfair to prevent access to those with premium tickets because those with airline status have invited their economy-ticketed friends and family.

          It would be unseemly to start asking the free-loader guests to start leaving when premium ticket holders arrived, so just best to have a policy to not to let them in.

          It should be taken as read that status guests travel on premium tickets. Why have the perk of a lounge when travelling economy? It can only favour those who don’t pay for their premium tickets and their loyalty is not required.

          • Alan says:

            “It should be taken as read that status guests travel on premium tickets. Why have the perk of a lounge when travelling economy? It can only favour those who don’t pay for their premium tickets and their loyalty is not required” afraid I don’t agree with that – why should it be taken as read that status guests travel on premium tickets? Lots may do so long haul but then elect to travel economy short-haul where the majority of benefits are fast track, lounge access, etc. – the on-board catering is a minor point on such a short flight. If they then removed those benefits on short-haul travel then many would reconsider their long-haul options – you have to look at the entire package.

      • John says:

        +1 I pay for my first tickets as 1st redemptions are impossible. I use the Concorde lounge but the 1st lounge is often rammed which is clearly those on hold status…

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