British Airways has long been a name that travellers can rely upon to give them among the highest standards of customer service in the competitive world of air travel. Britons seeking cheap holidays have also long been prepared to splash out a bit to enjoy BA’s high standards, so the flag carrier’s announcement this week of a new loyalty programme in conjunction with its Spanish partner Iberia is a welcome one.
Starting on 16 November, the new Avios scheme will give loyalty points to recipients of Air Miles and Iberia Plus as well as members of the BA Executive Club. The biggest negative difference will be felt among customers of the Air Miles scheme, who will be transferred to Avios and from mid-November will have to pay redemption fees for their cheap flights.
There’s happier news for members of the BA Executive Club, who will benefit from a new flat fee for flights to Europe in the first three zones of a new nine-zone map for redemption bookings which can take customers as far as Moscow for just £27, plus taxes and charges. This change has been implemented to enable club members to redeem their points more economically on European flights, after customers said that it was currently not as good value as long-haul destinations.
However, despite all three current programmes being eligible for points under the new scheme, BA Exec and Iberia Plus will continue as separate schemes, while Avios will replace Air Miles and tier points will be kept in place.
BA has suffered strife over the past few years due to industrial action and other travails, so it is good to see it boldly going forward with some bright ideas for attracting and retaining passengers in the future. With the addition of new routes, such as direct flights to Cancun, holidays are likely to involve that BA magic for a while longer.