BA Toughens Up on Gold Avios RedemptionsBack to Forum
Anonymous31 Mar 2014
From 31st March 2014, Gold members will no longer be exempt from Avios Cancellation and Change Fees. I was notified of this as I went to book an upcoming flight on Avios this morning.
A big blow to me as I love the flexibility that Gold award bookings offer.31 Mar 2014
Would be interesting to know what triggered this action now? Cost reduction, revenue improvements or simply too many Gold Card holders holding reservations which are later cancelled last minute?
Whilst £35 is not the end of the world, perhaps a more straight-forward communication process and giving some early warning would be appreciated. I personally picked up the news from a Swedish travel forum last week. The information then was passed on from a conversation with BAEC in Bremen.
I personally believe in proactive and timeline information regarding changes like this. A heads up in January would have been appropriate.31 Mar 2014
I think Senator has hit the nail right on the head with his first point. Many people hold multiple bookings which they cancel at too short notice for others to take up the leftovers, so seats go up empty, and many customers are disappointed by not getting the mileage seat they would like. Putting in a small fee may just put off some of the abusers of the system. Note GGL are exempt from this charge.
I find it odd that BA have just introduced this without giving advance notice per se. Does that not contravene their own rules?
BA need to be a bit careful not to annoy too many of their more loyal customers…look at what is happening with a few other programmes out there, it ain’t pretty!31 Mar 2014
Seems to make some sense – there can’t be any point in people making bookings and cancelling at the last minute. There is a fine line between flexibility and seats going empty. If people are serious about the bookings they won’t mind the small fee.31 Mar 2014
This is to be welcomed if it increases availability of awards.
I understand it’s in response to a large proportion of redemptions being cancelled last minute, particularly by GCH’s and Emerald cardholders from other oneworld schemes.
Because at this later stage flights are filling up, and seats may well be sold, redemptions are no longer available to be put back into the system, so effectively go unused. If they do go back into the redemption booking pool, they are often there too late for many to use them (though handy for Upgrading Using Avios/UUA).
Quite whether a modest fee will put off BA’s highest value customers from their habit of cancelling in the week prior to travel remains to be seen.
I agree more notice would have been helpful, but then this has been widely trailed on flyertalk and elsewhere, so many of us were aware it was coming.
I’m unsure if you can still cancel existing bookings gratis today, or whether existing redemption bookings retain existing T&Cs.
Personally, I think this approach needs refining; maybe fee free changes for GCH up to six months prior to departure, then a fee thereafter.31 Mar 2014
I think StephenLondon and Senator have hit the nail on the head as regards the reasoning behind this.
Hopefully will help address the tightening of reward availability which is inevitable as load factors increase as we move back from recession to normal running once again.31 Mar 2014
If this does free up availability then I welcome it. But SM may be right that the effect will be less than expected. I’ve made an F booking with avios to SFO in June but it isn’t the most efficient use of my avios given my other plans this year. But given the general lack of availability, I made the booking in any case as it is on the day I want to fly but I do intend to cancel and pay the fee if a better option becomes available nearer the time. Given that I am behaving like this as BA Silver, will GCH’s really change behaviour with a small fee?31 Mar 2014
Bath_VIP. Interesting point.
I suppose it’s a win/win for BA really. If it changes behaviours then it may free up more seats for either redemption bookings or paid travellers.
However if it doesn’t change behaviours there is an income stream there – say over a year 500 people pay the fee (and I have no idea whether that is a fair number) that is £17,500 of extra income with little or no effort.31 Mar 2014
The cancellations/changes are more in the order of thousands per month, rather than hundreds.
This could have a significant effect on redemption availability; of course where there is very high demand redemptions will always be snapped up.
Just because you can’t see redemption space, doesn’t mean there never has been any – I also have roundtrip bookings to LAX on a standard avios redemption in F over the peak Summer period, so there is availability if you know what you’re doing.31 Mar 2014
A great idea – it will stop people holding multiple bookings and freeing up Avios booking for others…well done BA
For those who hold seat reservations and don’t cancel them – then they have noting to worry about – or pay
Well done BA31 Mar 2014