While Air Canada Aeroplan is the most popular frequent flyer program for many Canadians, British Airways Avios should be a close second as a result of the number of OneWorld alliance partners that are bookable through the program. Not to mention, British Airways Avios are easily accruable in Canada through a variety of methods.
Even better, British Airways offers a household account feature that makes it easy for couples and families to earn and redeem Avios in a streamlined manner. Using the feature is easy and can change the way that you think about how best to utilize the Avios program as you work towards your next travel redemption.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at British Airways Household accounts and how you can leverage them to improve your miles and points game.
What is a British Airways Household Account?
The British Airways Household account is an extension of the British Airways Executive Club account, giving families the ability to earn, pool, and redeem Avios as one entity.
All members will retain their own British Airways Executive Club membership accounts but will have their balances pooled when earning and redeeming Avios. To start, whoever is determined by the family to be the head of household, will need to formally open the household account by visiting this page.
The head of household will receive all communications as they are in full control of the household account. They are also the only person who can add and remove members within the household account.
Once the household account is set up, the head of household is able to add, or nominate, a person to add that member to the account. If they have a British Airways Executive Club account already there will be minimal setup required, but if they have yet to create an account, they will be asked to do so during the process.
The household account is very simple to set up and add members, but there are a number of things to keep in mind as you go through the process.
First of all, changes to the registered household account address can be made only once every six months. Household account members cannot individually choose to leave once they have joined, as only the head of household is able to remove them from the account.
Finally, members within the household account cannot redeem their Avios for anyone outside of the household account, meaning you must be sure that this setup will work for your travel habits before you go through the process of setting up the account.
Benefits of the British Airways Household Account
The benefits of the British Airways Household account far outweigh the drawbacks, as the household account makes it easy to earn and pool Avios, make flight redemptions for your household, and keep Avios from expiring.
Earn & Pool Avios as a Household
The British Airways Household account makes it easy for a household, consisting of those members residing at the same address, to earn and pool Avios as a collective. While Avios will be pooled, tier points are still earned individually.
This means that multiple people can work towards their next flight redemption, and is a great setup for those couples or families who hold multiple British Airways Avios earning credit cards, or for those who are involved in other loyalty programs with currencies that can be transferred to the Avios program.
For example, if multiple household members hold the RBC Avion Visa Infinite credit card, and they all transfer their RBC Avion points to their British Airways Avios program individual accounts, the Avios from those transfers will be pooled under the household account while still belonging to one individual member.
Household accounts give the head of household the ability to also add their children who reside at their address which gives them the opportunity to earn Avios on any organic flying activity. While those under 18 years old cannot have their own British Airways account, their eligible activity can still be credited to the household account.
Make Flight Redemptions For Your Household
The British Airways Household account makes it straightforward to redeem flight awards for those within your household. Similarly to how Avios are pooled, Avios required for a flight redemption are pulled from the household pool, making it easy to take advantage of the increased balance you have earned as a household.
However, this means that each household account member will be deducted an Avios amount in the percentage of the total flight redemption cost aligning with the percentage of Avios currency held by members in the household account. I will touch on this more below in the relevant section, with an example to further explain how this functions.
This percentage calculation means that your personal Avios balance will also be deducted if others within your household book flights that do not involve you. This is an important caveat to be aware of when using the household account, as it may have negative impacts depending on how people within your household travel.
Keep Avios from Expiring
If you have a British Airways Household account, it is even easier to keep your Avios from expiring. British Airways Avios expire after 36 months of no activity, meaning no earning or redeeming has been done on the account for three years.
In order to keep the Avios balances active for all members of the household account, all that is required is that one household account member makes a qualifying transaction, such as earning or redeeming Avios, in a 36-month period. This will extend the expiry timer for all household members, meaning there is no need to keep each account active individually.
Drawbacks of the British Airways Household Account
Before creating a household account, it is important to be aware of some of the drawbacks of the account including the restricted number of members in a household account in addition to how the household sharing is not usable with Avios adjacent loyalty programs.
Restricted Number of Members
Upon setting up a British Airways Household account, as the head of household, you will be able to add up to six family members to the account. These family members need to reside at the same residential address as the head of household and will need their own British Airways Executive Club account.
The seven member household account limit should be enough slots for many families, but there may be some difficult choices to make if the family you travel with is larger than this limit. However, not all is lost, as there is a small workaround through the utilization of the “My Family & Friends List” we will explore below.
Not Usable with Avios Adjacent Loyalty Programs
While the British Airways Household account works well for bookings made within the British Airways Avios program, it does not carry over to Avios adjacent loyalty programs, such as Aer Lingus AerClub, Qatar Airways Privilege Club, and Iberia Plus.
This means that even though you have a British Airways Household account set up, you cannot use that household balance to make an award booking in an Avios adjacent loyalty program. For example, while you and your significant other may each have 150,000 Avios in your personal British Airways accounts, combined for a 300,000 Avios household balance, each member will only have access to 150,000 Avios when booking through Qatar Privilege Club, and there are no ways to combine these balances.
The one alternative that works as a makeshift solution is to pay a small fee of $50 USD to transfer up to 60,000 Avios from one member’s account to another per calendar year. Transferring points between loyalty account members often comes at an astronomical cost, so the relatively low fee is a big win for those who are looking to transfer Avios to another member to make a booking on a partner program, such as Qatar Airways Privilege Club, where the household account is not usable.
I have transferred points in the past using this feature to make a Qatar Airways booking, and the transfer was instant once payment was made. While it is a bit silly they charge $50 USD for what is a simple automated transaction, it was well worth it to be able to quickly have the full amount required for the booking versus having to accrue additional Avios.
Members can transfer 60,000 Avios per recipient, per calendar year, up to a total of 200,000 Avios. The Avios transfer process can be initiated here.
My Family & Friends List
The British Airways Household account is made even more useful through a unique feature called the My Family & Friends List.
This list can be considered an extension of the household account, as it gives the head of household the ability to add up to five members to this list who do not reside at the same address. The household account can redeem their Avios for any of the members on this list, making it possible to book award flights for friends or family who you travel with frequently but don’t live with you.
Aside from the five member limit, the only other restriction is that once a member is added to the family & friends list, they must remain on the list for a minimum of six months before you can remove them. As a result, it is not overly quick to swap people, so take this into account before you start adding people to your list.
Redemptions Using the British Airways Household Account
If you have a British Airways Household account set up, you can only make redemptions for yourself and those in your household, including those within the family and friends list.
This means that each household account member will be deducted an Avios amount in the percentage of the total flight redemption cost aligning with the percentage of Avios currency held by members in the household account. To determine the percentage, the formula is:
Percentage of Avios Held by Member = Member Avios / Total Household Avios
For example, I recently made a flight award booking through my British Airways Household account for myself and my significant other. The total cost for the booking was 154,500 British Airways Avios and at the time of booking I had 305,417 Avios on my account and my partner had 131,037 Avios on her account for a total of 436,454 Avios in our household account.
I made the redemption on my partner’s account, and since she held 30% of the Avios in our household account, she was deducted 30% or 46,386 Avios from the total redemption cost.
Whereas my account, which held 70% of the total Avios in the household account, was deducted 70% or 108,114 Avios of the total redemption cost.
The booking process doesn’t change when using a British Airways Household Account, and Avios are automatically deducted from each account once the booking is complete.
As a couple who both collect British Airways Avios points through a variety of means, including transferring points from both American Express Membership Rewards and RBC Rewards, the household account makes it easy for us to combine and utilize our Avios in an easy and straightforward fashion.
Household accounts are a great tool to utilize with those loyalty programs that offer them, and the British Airways Household account is no exception. If you collect Avios with a significant other or family, it is well worth taking the time to set one up to start pooling your points and planning out your next redemption.
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