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 …..
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.
miles-and-more.com 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 miles-and-more.com.
Similarly, flyingblue.com 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.
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 from UK credit cards (October 2021)
As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!
There are two official British Airways American Express cards. Both have increased sign-up bonuses until 2nd November 2021:
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points, such as:
The 30,000 points bonus on Amex Gold runs to 9th November 2021. The 60,000 points bonus on The Platinum Card runs to 2nd November 2021.
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:
You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies. This card has a limited time offer of 60,000 Avios when you sign up:
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.)