British Airways Executive Club sent out a cryptic email yesterday about Household Accounts. It said:
“We wanted to let you know that we’ll shortly be carrying out some planned improvements to the Executive Club, which means you’ll be unable to access your Household Account during the period below. Between 4 October 2021 and 17 November 2021 inclusive, you’ll be unable to complete the following actions on ba.com or by calling us:
- Add another Member to your Household Account
- Remove a Member from your Household Account
- Amend personal or contact details of any Members in the Household Account
- Set up a new Household Account”
The email from BA spurred a few emails to us about various aspects of British Airways Executive Club Household Accounts. I thought it was worth running through them again in case you want to do anything before the 6-week lock out kicks in.
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.
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 transfer miles between accounts by paying a fee. 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. As British Airways will rarely post you anything this is not a major impediment.
You can only make one change to the Household Account every six months. I am not sure if this means that you cannot close a Household Account which is under six months old.
How does the ‘Friends & Family’ list relate to Household Accounts?
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
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. This means that, in reality, expiry is unlikely.
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.
The head of a Household Account can remove individual members without breaking up the entire Household Account. If you are no longer on good terms with the head of your Household Account, the Executive Club terms and conditions specifically allow you to apply to BA to be removed without the permission of the account head.
British Airways Executive Club Household Accounts are not for everyone. If you don’t like the idea, you can get much of the flexibility of a Household Account 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.
If you want to set one up or make changes, you need to do so before 4th October or face a block until 17th November.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (October 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 with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.
You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:
There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.
EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.
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.
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.
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.
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.