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Is the Avios ‘Global Loyalty Platform’ finally about to happen?

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British Airways sent out an email earlier this week about Household Accounts. As we covered in our article on BA Household Accounts yesterday, you will be unable to open, close or amend a Household Account for a six week period, from 4th October to 17th November.

A few comments under the article suggested that this timetable was, to put it mildly, a bit OTT. You would expect such back-end IT changes to be carried out overnight in six hours (or even six minutes) and not six weeks.

There could be a reason, however …..

One Avios project IAG Global Loyalty Platform

I have no inside information on this, but my thinking was confirmed by a comment on HfP yesterday from an IAG employee.

For many, many years, IAG has talked about a ‘Global Loyalty Platform’.

This has been in preparation for so long, it doesn’t just predate the current Avios CEO, it dates back to the Avios CEO before the previous Avios CEO.

If you want to know what this would look like, eventually, visit Miles & More or Flying Blue.

Miles & More is a central hub for all mileage activity for flyers on Lufthansa, SWISS, Austrian, LOT and Brussels Airlines. Instead of looking up your mileage balance, booking redemptions etc on lufthansa.com, you need to use the Miles & More site.

Similarly, the Flying Blue site is a central hub for, primarily, Air France and KLM passengers to manage their mileage activity.

It isn’t that simple, of course

One inherent problem with ‘one Avios’ is that – unlike Miles & More or Flying Blue – each IAG airline operates its loyalty scheme in its own way.

For example, there is no centralised status scheme. The rules for earning and retaining status with British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus etc are totally different from each other. Vueling, LEVEL and Aer Lingus aren’t even in the oneworld alliance, so you couldn’t give oneworld status benefits to those flyers even if IAG wanted to do so.

There is no centralised list of Avios partners. Whilst there has been some consolidation over the last decade – Avis Budget is now the exclusive IAG car hire partner, for example – there are still plenty of companies which only offer Avios in either Iberia Plus (eg NH Hotels) or British Airways Executive Club.

Is the 'one Avios' project finally about to happen, after five years?

There is no centralised redemption chart. In fact, there isn’t even a centralised method of redeeming Avios:

  • British Airways and Iberia use a chart-based redemption model, albeit with charts and peak dates which do not match each other
  • Vueling uses a pure revenue based model, unless you book redemptions via Iberia Plus in which case it prices off a redemption chart
  • Aer Lingus uses a points based model – with different taxes and different availability depending on whether you book at avios.com or ba.com – but also lets you pay for the full cost of a flight using Avios as a fixed ‘pence per point’ rate

None of these are a reason why you can’t have a ‘one Avios’ platform, but it adds confusion. You may end up checking your status details on ba.com but your Avios details on avios.com for example.

Would there be any upsides from ‘one Avios’?

Potentially. Being able to offer pan-European deals may bring in new partners. It may also encourage other independent airlines to adopt Avios because there would be less IT integration required – long-term readers will remember the Flybe deal with Avios, but also the deal with Royal Air Maroc which was quietly shelved.

There are, of course, potential downsides if you strip out positive quirks from each Avios programme to find common ground. However, given the recent BA Amex relaunch and the new Avios commitment of at least 14 reward seats per flight, I don’t think there is any risk of a purely revenue-based redemption model.

This won’t happen immediately

Based on the comment posted on HfP yesterday, this six week downtime period is simply Stage 1 of the project. It involves migrating all Avios data from the individual airline platforms onto one IT system controlled by IAG Loyalty.

Our source says that your account numbers will not change, but individual accounts will be linked in the background – presumably via email and ID matching – to give IAG has a holistic view of your activity. There was an implication that individual scheme balances will continue to exist so you won’t – for now – see the same Avios balance if you log in at ba.com or iberia.com.

Let’s see how it goes. Clearly an IAG IT project has never gone wrong in the past ….


How to earn Avios points from UK credit cards

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:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up 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 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 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.

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.

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

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points (SPECIAL OFFER), £200 travel credit and unbeatable 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

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.

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.

Comments (61)

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

  • sayling says:

    A lot of the comments on here remind me of the management comments I get in my IT day job… “Don’t you just press a button and it gets done?”
    🤣

    • BJ says:

      What surprises me is the relatively small number of comments. Always struck me as odd that the speculative and analytical articles Rob sometimes writes do not always generate the interest they deserve despite the often potential significant and far-reaching implications. By contrast a bit about getting 50 avios for spending a £1 will have the masses wetting themselves in excitement.

      • Paul Pogba says:

        Without wild speculation it’s hard to know what to make of it. I asked late on another article whether there was any news on the integration of oneworld bookings announced at a 20th birthday event last year and this could be part of that and would be useful but who knows?

      • David says:

        To be fair, the 50 points results in entirely the opposite – moans, sneers and people throwing toys out of their pram.

      • Jeff Greene says:

        No point discussing random speculation though.

  • Ian says:

    I have not got a clue what all that meant….

  • Ian says:

    What does it all mean though? Speculative benefits, or reduced benefit… Does this mean no booking flights for 6 weeks! OMG….

  • Zumodenaranja says:

    I still think we did the right thing in converting our chunky Avios balance (largely unusable & at risk of devaluation) into Nectar points which we then spent at Sainsbury’s and Argos on real stuff we actually needed…

  • pigeon says:

    Getting ready for revenue-based earning and redeeming, in, maybe, a decade’s time?

  • A collector says:

    Given BA’s IT prowess it may be prudent to print a copy of your account before Monday.

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

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