How do British Airways household accounts work? (Avios Redemption University, Lesson 5)

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

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

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.

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 (link only works if logged in) – 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 although, as British Airways will rarely post you anything (British Airways doesn’t even send plastic status cards any longer) this is not a major impediment.

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 too but their Avios are not merged with the household account. (You can learn more about British Airways Executive Club ‘Family & Friends’ lists 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.

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) 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 ….!

This HFP article explains how ‘Combine My Avios’ works in more detail, including the avios.com workaround.

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 standalone 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.

Can you use a British Airways American Express 2-4-1 voucher if you are in a Household Account?

Yes.  The Avios you need are taken pro-rata from each member of the Household Account.

However, there is one restriction.  The second traveller MUST be either in the Household Account or on the Friends & Family list of the ‘head’ of the Household Account.

Whilst anyone can be added to a Friends & Family list – they don’t need to share your address – you can only change this list once every six months.  In certain niche scenarios this could be a problem.

Do Households Accounts stop the expiry of your Avios points?

A Household Account CAN help stop Avios expiry but not automatically.

Avios points will expire if there has been three years of no activity – ‘activity’ means either earning or spending – on the account.  This is very unlikely to happen for most HFP readers.

Being in a Household Account does not automatically stop your points expiring, unless one member of the account has British Airways Executive Club elite status.  In this case, all members of the account are protected.

However, because redemptions by a Household Account result in Avios being taken pro-rata from every member, this creates ‘activity’ for everyone and resets the three year clock.

What happens if you close a Household Account?

Nothing happens to the adult members of a Household Account.  Each member retains the Avios balance that it had, individually, inside the Household Account.

Any account opened for a child is closed and the Avios are lost.  A few years ago, British Airways would transfer the Avios of the children to the ‘head’ of the Household Account which clearly had benefits.  This no longer occurs and the Avios are lost.

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, especially as I often use my Avios for Head for Points trips for the team.  I use other family members to operate 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 learn more about how to maximise your Avios redemptions?

You can see the full list of all 15 articles in the ‘Avios Redemption University’ series here.

(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.)

How to add an icon to your HFP comments
The new HFP chat thread - Saturday 11th April

Click here to join the 15,000 people on our email list and receive the latest Avios, miles and points news by 6am.

Amazon ad
AMEX Gold 20,000 bonus points
About Head for Points

We help business and leisure travellers maximise their Avios, frequent flyer miles and hotel loyalty points. Visit every day for three new articles or sign up for our FREE emails via this page or the box to your right.

Comments

  1. [ An under-18 cannot have their own British Airways Executive Club account ]
    I think that children will get their own account.
    If you add them to a household account they will have a membership number and if they fly enough they will get bronze/silver/gold. Their account will have a balance. The child’s account will have an annual date for tier point collection.
    Isn’t all this “an account” ? I would consider it not an account if they do not have their own membership number but only the household account number.
    The differences in BAEC for children are 1) you can only create their accounts as members of a household account not standalone. b) accounts for children cannot make redemptions, you must use the household account for that. But children get their own account.

  2. Ben Edwards says:

    Hi great article , can you use household account on Amex 2-4-1 companion voucher ?

    For example I need 150k points for club world return using the 2-4-1 voucher . I have 127k in my account and my wife has 23k in hers and we are both in the household account so combined points is 150km would that work and can I then book using the voucher

  3. I think it would be worth adding that each member must have activity every 3 years to keep their avios balance.

    • True. Although a redemption by anyone counts as activity as it goes pro-rata from all accounts.

Please click here to read our data protection policy before submitting your comment.