Household Accounts are a very useful feature of British Airways Executive Club. You may not know that very few frequent flyer schemes globally offer them, and most of those that do are heavily restricted – it is a genuinely positive aspect of the BA scheme.
Today I want to run through how they work and some factors to bear in mind.
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 (a flat £15 for a transfer of up to 27,000 Avios). 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.
Following recent changes, it is no longer necessary for all members to have their BA account registered 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.)
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.
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.
You can only change your ‘Friends & Family’ 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 from 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.
Individual members cannot remove themselves from a Household Account – only the head can do this. 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 British Airways to be removed.
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.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (December 2023)
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. These points convert at 1:1 into Avios.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive 30,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 30,000 Avios) with American Express Preferred Rewards Gold. You receive 25,000 points if you spend £3,000 in three months and a further 5,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive a huge 100,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 100,000 Avios) with The Platinum Card. You receive 75,000 points if you spend £10,000 in six months and a further 25,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold
Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY), FREE for a year & four airport ….. Read our full review
The Platinum Card from American Express
Crazy 100,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY) and a huge range of valuable 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 10,500 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.