The pros and cons of using BA household accounts – Avios Redemption University – Lesson 5

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The “Avios Redemption University” series is a good starting point for beginners, although I hope everyone will learn something from it.  Click here to see the other “Avios Redemption University” articles.

This article explains how and why you can create a household account in British Airways Executive Club.

One way of earning a free flight quicker is to pool the Avios points of all the members of your household in one account.  With the closure of the Avios Travel Rewards Programme, there is now only one way of doing this – via a British Airways Executive Club household account.

Why would you want a British Airways Household Account?

The key benefit of a household account is that it lets you pool together points from a number of people. The main reason to do this is if you need to make a redemption which requires more miles than any one person has in their account.

There is a secondary reason too – using a household account is the only way to earn Avios when your children under 18 fly.

British Airways Household Account

There are alternatives to a household account

Before we got into the details, remember that there are other ways of achieving the same goal:

You can pay to transfer miles between accounts – up to 6,000 Avios costs £25, for example. This may be easier than getting a household account and being tied by its restrictions. 

If you are a British Airways Executive Club Gold member, you can transfer 27,000 Avios to anyone else for free, each year.  The cap is 162,000 Avios transferred out per year.

You can book a flight for someone else directly from your Executive Club account.  You don’t need to pool your miles with someone else to be able to redeem for them.

If one person only has a small balance, remember that Avios allows one-way redemptions.  One person could use their small balance to book a one-way flight and the other person book the other leg from their account.

How does a British Airways household account work?

You are NOT fully merging your accounts when you create a household account at ba.com.

Each member retains their individual Avios balance. When you log in, you see both your own balance and the household balance.

When you redeem ….. the points are taken PRO-RATA from the balance of each person

When you earn ….. the points go ONLY onto your personal balance

For example, if you have 9,000 Avios and your partner has 4,500, a redemption for 4,500 Avios will see 3,000 taken from you and 1,500 from your partner.  It is a pro-rata split.  However, if you earn 4,500 Avios from a flight, your balance goes up to 13,500 and your partner remains at 4,500.

How to open, close and add members to a family account

You can form a British Airways household account here. Each member will receive an email which includes a link to click to confirm their membership. Once the account is formed, you can also create accounts for children. The account can have a maximum of seven people in it.

All members must have their BA account registered at the same address. You can only make one change to the Household Account every six months. This also means you cannot close it for six months after opening it, as this counts as a change.

With a ba.com household account, the ‘Head of the Household’ can also add a further five people as ‘Family & Friends’. These names can be deleted and replaced once they have been on your list for six months. The Household Account can redeem Avios for flights for these five people, but their Avios are not merged with the household account. (You can learn more about ‘Family & Friends’ in this article.)

Redeeming Avios whilst in a family account

A British Airways household account lets you redeem for anyone in the household account OR one of the five ‘Family & Friends’ members. You cannot redeem for anyone else, however.  This could potentially be an issue if your ‘Family & Friends’ list is full and no-one on it has been there for six months and so is eligible for removal.

How to use ‘Combine My Avios’ with a family account

There is an odd quirk with ‘Combine My Avios’ for members of household accounts.  You cannot move Avios from Iberia Plus to anyone who is in a BA household account.

This is not a problem, because you CAN move Avios from a programme running on the avios.com platform (Aer Lingus AerClub, Vueling Club, Flybe until 30th April 2019) into a BA household account.

If you have Avios in Iberia Plus which you want to move your BA account, and your BA account is in a household account, this is what you need to do:

Go to the Aer Lingus website and open an AerClub account

Log in to avios.com using your AerClub account details

Use the ‘Combine My Avios’ function on avios.com to pull your points from Iberia Plus into avios.com

Do a second ‘Combine My Avios’ transaction on avios.com to push your points from avios.com to British Airways Executive Club

Easy ….!

Household accounts and children

One reason to get a British Airways household account is that it allows children to earn Avios points and tier points when they fly.

An under-18 cannot have their own British Airways Executive Club account but they CAN be invited to join a household account.

If you want to earn Avios for your children but do NOT want to be restricted by a household account, consider opening a BA account for, say, a grandparent and putting the children into a household account with them.  You could add yourself to the ‘Friends & Family’ list for that household account in order to redeem tickets for yourself.

Conclusion

British Airways Executive Club household accounts are not for everyone. Personally, I don’t like them – I want the flexibility to redeem for whoever I like. I use other family members to create a household account for my children. You can also get much of the flexibility of a HHA by redeeming one leg from one account and the other leg from another account.

If you are keen, though, I hope the summary above has clarified how they work.

(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. nigel whitehouse says:

    the article here says “An under-18 cannot have their own British Airways Executive Club account ”
    But my 10 year old daughter has her own BAEC Account she is a Silver Member, at least she has BEAC login and it says Silver Executive Club Member, Membership number: XXXXXXX

    Her profile has her DOB.

    • Genghis says:

      Better wording might be “standalone”.

    • pauldb says:

      But is she in a HHA. Could be worded differently: in theory she can have an account within a HHA, but not otherwise.

    • Michael C says:

      Yeah, our 4-yr old has the same, SIlver with nº on card, but he’s part of the HHA.

  2. Tina Hammond says:

    Surely you need a household account to redeem 241 vouchers? The article doesn’t mention how to do this without a HHA.

  3. Ian McDowall says:

    Hi. A friend is an employee in a small company with a £50k per month spend. They are getting a company Amex card. The 3 employees want to share the accrued avios. How should they do it?
    Thanks, Ian.

    • Alex W says:

      With that amount of points I would keep them as Amex Membership rewards and transfer them to the program you want when you need them. There is a world outside Avios! For example Marriott points can be transferred to other people.

  4. Nick_C says:

    Rob covers that points needed for redemptions are taken pro rata from each member of the HHA. But it’s worth noting that this can easily be manipulated by moving points from BAEC to Avios.com before booking the redemption, and back again afterwards if necessary. This gives you complete control over which HH members pay for flights and how much.

    • Why pro-rata spend could be a problem of such magnitude that you would need to move Avios back and forth with all this hassle?

      • Peter 64K says:

        Because you have a handful of avios in a
        (few) family member’s account(s) you want to use up?

      • Genghis says:

        To use up my MIL’s avios who kindly gives them to us.

      • Kevin C says:

        It’s especially useful if one set of miles is about to expire.

        • James Lovejoy says:

          But wouldn’t any activity reset the expiration date? Does that change when the redemption is from a HHA?

    • Mikeact says:

      I agree with Nick_C. Work out how many Avios you need to use, and then move the ‘members’ out whose Avios you dont want touched..if you see what I mean.

      • Shoestring says:

        A bit too OCD for me – useful trick if you want to get the points out of a deceased family members Avios a/c but otherwise no big deal to leave odd numbers of points sitting there?

    • I thought you couldn’t move Avios between Avios.com and BA now?

      • Nick_C says:

        You certainly can. That’s how you move points between BA and Iberia.

        Avios.com works for me the way it always has done (except my Lloyds avios now go to my BAEC account). I can keep points in Avios.com, see my Lloyds upgrade vouchers, and book and pay for flights.

        I still don’t understand why Avios has “closed down”.

        • Avios Travel Rewards Programme has closed down. avios.com has not closed down.

          Imagine if Ocado stopped selling food but simply delivered for other people from its warehouse.

    • Great tip. I was always trying to match the exact number of avios in the accounts to the redemption. Always picking up great ideas in the comments section. Thanks

  5. Michael C says:

    But I can use all the HHA points for my 241, right? Nothing “proportional” comes into play?!

    • They will still be removed pro-rata from the accounts in your HHA.

      • Michael C says:

        Thanks – but say the (3) accounts are 250k/150k/150k, and of course just 2 of us using the 241, can I still spend 440k between 2 (when the 2 largest accounts only add up to 400k)?

        • If you have 3 people in the HH and only 2 people fly they still take a portion from all 3 members of the HHA.

        • Nick_C says:

          Yep. To use your example, they will take 200k, 120k and 120k from the three accounts.

          If person 3 moved 110k from BAEC to Avios.com, then they would take 250+150+40, and your HHA will be empty. Person 3 could then move their 110K back to the HHA.

      • Thank you Anna .
        As the household account was previously in his name , could I now open a new one with me as the main account holder , even thought it’s within 6 months of us closing the account with him as the main account holder ?

        • Mikeact says:

          You could open a new HHA as head, and then invite him, and see what happens.

  6. If you add someone to the friends and family list I assume they cannot log in and get access to booking flights from the HHA points. Now realising I could have helped out my daughters boyfriend with his recent 2 cancelled Norweigan flights and booked him an economy Avios flight back from NY. Think I will add him for future emergencies.

    • Mikeact says:

      Anyone can book flights within the HHA account, they all retain their original login details. We often do this to try and run down the smaller amounts.
      However, we have one family member with only around 2000 or so Avios. When I logged in as her as part of a RFS for wife and self, I was surprised to find the charges were more than £35…..calling BA, I was told that as there head been no activity on that account for over three years then regular charges apply….something I didn’t know.

      • Shoestring says:

        Another reason for you to earn a point in their name from the BAEC shopping portal every couple of years. As I pointed out the other day, 7dayshop.com is great for bits & bobs, I saw 10 batteries for £2.99 delivered and 4 Avios points, nice easy way to renew the 3 year thing.

        Not mentioned in the article – HHA will keep everybody’s points alive when points are used up pro rata, as this counts as activity. But as you mention, does not qualify as earning points.

        Today’s task if you have been lazy about keeping a family member’s a/c live – order some £2.99 batteries from 7dayshop on the portal! 🙂

  7. Derek Scott says:

    OT… BA have just posted a teaser pic of the new Club World seat on Twitter, saying “coming soon” and refers to it as “reimagined”….

  8. A bit OT.
    Am I correct that no Avios/tier points are given for a reward flight even if “Avios plus Money”?

  9. Paddy Stewart says:

    If one of my adult children wants to move out of the HHA and do their own thing, do they just take their own points with them, or do they take a pro-rata amount of all the points in the HHA?

  10. Colin JE says:

    I prefer the HHA approach because I can book everyone’s flights in one go and as Silver can get free seat allocation immediately for everyone on the booking.
    If we’d split the accounts and done separate bookings I’d have to pay.
    On another note I used to be head of the HHA but when Avios/BA merged my wife’s account they created a new one instead of using her existing one. Got them merged but somehow she became the head of the HHA as well! Strange but probably makes no difference?

  11. Colin JE says:

    Very OT but still about BA Avios. I found an article about MilesLife, a Singaporean App for iOS and Android that allows you to earn miles on various airline schemes, including BAEC.
    Most of the earnings opportunities are Far East hotels and shops but you can earn ‘up to 200 miles’ just by ‘checking in’ on the app for 7 days in a row.
    Could be a good way to keep your/your partner’s BAEC alive.
    Seems to work but what I’ve read. Apparently you can earn points on your credit card spend but the app asks for your security code and makes a small Sing$ charge to your card to get a code to check if it’s yours, I guess. A bit too far for my liking but you may be feeling braver…

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