The Avios Group has announced plans to close the Avios Travel Rewards Programme in the UK.

In a move which the group says will “simplify the customer experience and improve collection and spending opportunities”, members with accounts held at will see them moved into existing or new accounts within the British Airways Executive Club.

According to a press release “New British Airways Executive Club accounts will begin to be set up for customers from early summer 2018 (unless they already have one, in which case they can chose to transfer their Avios across now) and the British Airways Executive Club will be in touch with customers’ new account details and how to activate it”.

Balances held at will then be moved across to Executive Club accounts by the end of July.

Members can opt out of transferring Avios, but they must do so by May 20, and will then have six months to spend their balance.

Note that the loyalty programmes of Vueling and Aer Lingus use the Avios platform, and will continue to do so after the closure of the UK Avios Travel Rewards Programme.

So what does this mean for the individual customers? Well, Avios says that Travel Rewards Programme members will gain 11 additional collection / redemption airline partners, as well as “60,000 additional partner hotels” and “50,000 additional sightseeing experiences” when their accounts are moved over to the Executive Club.

But of course as most readers will know, up until now it has been possible to have accounts with both the British Airways Executive Club, and the Avios Travel Rewards Programme, and to switch balances between the two as desired.

Avios says that “The change to the UK Avios Travel Rewards Programme does not affect the Avios currency and supports the company’s core business of providing the Avios reward currency for airline loyalty programmes including: the British Airways Executive Club, Iberia Plus, AerClub, Vueling Club Meridiana Club, Flybe and Kulula”.

And commenting on the move, Chris Treadwell, Commercial Director at Avios said:

“This move is good news for members.  Outwardly there will be very little change for them other than their Avios will have a new home.  However, they will also enjoy all the advantages that being a British Airways Executive Club Member offers including a smoother online experience, even more ways to collect and spend Avios, plus the tier benefits.”

The Avios Travel Rewards Programme was launched in 2011, replacing the previous Airmiles scheme, and creating a new Avios currency now used by the lotalty programmes or carriers including British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus and Flybe.