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British Airways tweaks the rules on Household Accounts – and a reminder of how they work

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One upside from the current upgrades to Avios functionality on ba.com – should they ever be finished – is a change to how British Airways Household Accounts work.

As of 12th November, you no longer need to live at the same address as another person to be in a BA Executive Club Household Account with them.

You can confirm this in the Executive Club terms and conditions here.

British Airways Household Account

This change just tidies up a rule most people ignored

In truth, a lot of people – including myself – have always ignored this rule.

British Airways posts virtually nothing to its members via snail mail these days, especially if you have no elite status. There was therefore nothing to lose by changing the home address of family members to yours in order to add them to your household account.

I did this years ago to put my children – who otherwise couldn’t have an Executive Club account – in an account with my parents-in-law. This allowed me to keep my own account ‘free’ to give me maximum flexibility to make redemptions for whoever I needed to.

Many people, of course, preferred to stay within the letter of the rules and did not form a household account with people who they did not live this. You can now do so. (When, you know, ba.com is working properly ….)

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:

  • 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.
British Airways Executive Club status cards

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.

Following the ba.com IT changes in November 2021, Executive Club statements now show Household Account spend transactions in a clearer way. The ‘head of the household’ sees a number of transfers into their account from the other family members, and then a single outgoing transaction for the full redemption value.

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.

As discussed above, there is no longer any obligation for all members of the Household Account to live at the same address.

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.)

Avios wing 14

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.

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.

Conclusion

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.

The changes introduced in November 2021 make it easier for people who live at different addresses to be part of a Household Account without having to tell any white lies.


How to earn Avios points from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (May 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. 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 BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

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 BA Amex American Express card

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.

The Platinum Card has doubled its sign-up bonus to 60,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert to 60,000 Avios, if you apply by 1st June 2022.

American Express Amex Gold

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

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points (SPECIAL OFFER) and an unbeatable set of travel 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 Visa card

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 card

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.

Amex Platinum Business American Express

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.

(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.)

Comments (41)

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

  • Speedbird676 says:

    When I logged in yesterday, through the cash booking back door on BA.com, my household balance was showing correctly but when I went to the manage my household account page it said “You are not in a household account”.

  • pauldb says:

    Did they proof read the changes? T&Cs still include:

    18.1.14. If a participant dies, ceases to reside at the Household Account address or ceases to be a Member of the British Airways Executive Club, the unredeemed Avios points held by that person will be removed from the Household Account balance.

    • Rob says:

      No, because one other clause is missing a line and so makes no sense. You can use Wayback to find the original.

  • Amit says:

    What happens with tier points a child might receive from a flight?

    • Rob says:

      Child gets them. A child can have BA status with full guesting rules etc. Some parents get guested in to the lounge by their kid!

  • Pinperl says:

    A little off here…
    When do BA points from Amex BA get transferred every month?

    Please advise, thanks

    • Spurs drive me mad says:

      Mines the 10th of the month.

    • Sandra says:

      Coincides with monthly payment due date, mine is usually around 6/7 of each month and they go across a day or so after payment is credited, so it will vary from person to person depending on when the a/c was opened.

    • RussellH says:

      My date is usually 13 of the month. This month 14 Nov.
      A week before the billing statement is generated.

  • Jonathon says:

    I still can’t log in via BA.com, and my Amex Avios still aren’t showing in the app; I don’t know what they have done but given nothing appears to have changed yet…

  • David S says:

    Have BA ever had a successful IT Project ?

    • Bagoly says:

      Back in the 1970s they were quite cutting-edg with regards to linear programming (i.e. optimisation of resources)

      • Nick says:

        At the risk of sounding like a broken record, this is not a BA IT project. Or even a BA business project. It’s all led by AGL. BA has had nothing to do with it.

  • mike says:

    Hi I’m still a tad confused, so if I have 10k avios and my family member has 5k, but if I’m redeeming a flight for myself for 10k, instead of only emptying my account of 10k, BA will take some from my account and some from my family member?

  • Flann Horgan says:

    Am I correct that the 2:1 vouchers have a requirement that the primary card-holder (for the BA Amex card) is one of the travellers? There have been a number of times where my wife (secondary card holder) and I want to travel club class using a 2:1 voucher but where I need to return to the UK alone prior to her. Is there any way around this?

    • AJA says:

      Correct card holder who generates the 2-4-1 voucher must be one of the passengers and the companion must travel together with the voucher holder in the same cabin.

      The only way I can see around this is to book as two one ways and only use the 2-4-1 on the outbound but buy the inbound separately. This means you lose the full benefit of the voucher as the inbound will be full avios.

      • Flann Horgan says:

        Thanks AJA. That’s what I feared. I wonder what would happen if my poor wife turned up for the return flight on her own. I guess they’d let her travel.

        • AJA says:

          Worst case she could be denied boarding as her reservation wouldn’t be recognised as it would be cancelled once you book in for your earlier return. She’d be classed as a no-show on the date you fly. Not sure how you’d achieve that anyway as you wouldn’t be able to only change your return flight if you’ve booked it as a return flight using the 2-4-1 voucher. A change to the return flight date / time would require both passengers to change to the same flight and travel together.

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