View Full Version : BA Exec Club muddled thinking

31st Jul 2008, 20:58
I'm a big fan of BA (OK pinch me) but even I had to swallow hard at this. They've just sent me an e-mail about a ''promotion". To benefit from this deal you have to buy a full fare flexible ticket on domestic or short haul routes (any class) and register. If your flight leaves T5 more that 15 minutes late you get 5000 BA miles. Huh? What sort of airline entices its loyalty card pax to spend more money to ensure compensation in the event the flight is late? How does it act as a driver for on time performance? Is it me or do others think this is a really classic piece of muddled thinking? I'm not sure what part of it angers me most - I think its probably the idea of treating punctuality as a 'promotion' or as some kind of 'deal' :ugh: instead of a given :*


1st Aug 2008, 06:38
I haven't seen this promotion yet, but as a regular on the LHR-ABZ-LHR trip, I'll soom be flying round the world first class

1st Aug 2008, 11:12
As an EC member of a few years it's become apparent to me that the Exec Club's raison d'etre has changed from rewarding frequent flyers to providing a means to compensate us for the many failures of the airline to deliver an acceptable level of service. :rolleyes:

Flights delayed ? Don't worry sir, you can sit in our comfortable lounge for the next three hours and drink a few glasses of wine while thinking about what you might have achieved at your critical business meeting.
Catering strike affecting flights ? We're very sorry you've been forced to spend an unplanned night in Hamburg. Have 50000 air miles on us.
In a hurry ? With a silver card you can bagsy a seat at the front of the plane so you can beat everyone else to baggage reclaim only to find that your bag has gone to Madrid by mistake. Or maybe it's still at Gatwick. Here's the phone number of a call centre in Newcastle full of people who don't know where it is either.etc. etc.

Please forgive my cynicism but unless you fly enough to qualify for a gold card (for which you can expect to get a few upgrades to Club/First) I don't think the Exec Club is worth the trouble.


1st Aug 2008, 11:37
Exec Club has indeed had its day. Going back 7 years or so I had a Gold card, a complimentary Silver for the wife, 2 lots of 2 free upgrades a year anywhere in the world, good airmiles earned - all easily used.

Now, no complimentary card, free upgrades that are impossible to cash in without nigh on a years notice or you decide to go to Malaga mid week in the winter, far fewer air-miles earned and more often than not using them for an upgrade costs more than just buying the cheapest ticket in the upgraded cabin class in the first place.

Given all that you can hardly blame the people who work in that area for having so little to play with that the promotions they offer are poor.

1st Aug 2008, 21:32
I agree. I've been a silver member for a few years and they change the rules to suit themselves.
A couple of years back they changed the criteria for earning miles on the UK domestic routes. So I didn't earn miles if I flew economy although I had before.
Then last Christmas they did a wine promotion. 3 bottles for each return ticket. I happened to book 5 returns, all domestic, and waited in vain for my 15 bottles. Christmas came and went and when I queried why I had a dry Christmas I was told that the flights I booked weren't BA, but BA City Flyer.
I argued that they were booked on the BA web site, carried a BA flight number, the planes used had BA.COM and BA's livery on them and were crewed by BA staff. How were they not qualifying BA tickets:ugh:?
I never got my wine, and I don't bother with their promotions any longer.
I use BA because they are the preferred supplier for my company, not for the perks:rolleyes:

2nd Aug 2008, 10:33
Sadly, I have to agree with many of the points raised here about the BA Exec Club.

Having been a member for 11 years and a Gold card holder for most of them the benefits do seem to be designed to cater for BA's increasing short comings in service rather than enhancing their service.

It is no use to me being stuck in the lounge in T1 for a flight to Madrid and then arrive at 3am. No amount of food or drinks is going to make up for lost time.

All my recent long haul flights have been plagued with AVOD and NCW seat problems. BA's answer is to give you air miles. Well fine BA but what you need to do is fix the problems.

A detailed email concerning issues over the last 6 months was sent to the Exec Club and W.W. This resulted in a brief missive from a customer services person who stated that BA are investing lots of money in fixing the problems and improvements would come!

The latest email encouraging us to buy full fare tickets so that in the event of a delay we will get 5,000 air miles just shows how out of touch BA really is with its customers.

BA is the preferred carrier of my company but, recently our electronic booking system has "opened up" to many other airlines for us to book. In fact on the LHR-NRT route we are advised to use JAL or ANA rather than BA though this may be due to fare promotions.



4th Aug 2008, 16:01
What sort of airline entices its loyalty card pax to spend more money to ensure compensation in the event the flight is late?You know the saying about if you have to ask the price, you can't afford it?

Well, if you're thinking about whether this promotion might make you (or someone like you) spend more money on your domestic ticket, then you're not the target audience. The target audience would be buying these tickets anyway.

Final 3 Greens
5th Aug 2008, 08:22
The target audience would be buying these tickets anyway.

If that is true, then it is a very negative type of promotion.

"Pay us full whack and if our service levels fail, we'll give you some airmiles."

I'm not in the target audience, but I reflect that I used to take about 50-60 flights a year with BA.

Now it is about 5-6, due to a combination of strikes, threatened strikes, poor customer service, sacking a good franchisee (GB) and rescheduling their own flights at 0525 out of Malta, and 2245 out of Gatwick.

And you know what, you can usually do just as well or better for substantially less than BA ask for.

Michael SWS
5th Aug 2008, 08:56
I have recently begun to question the value of my Executive Club membership and, in particular, of the many points I have accrued on the account.

The taxes, charges and surcharges applied to redemption bookings are now so high (a "free" flight to Los Angeles in economy would actually cost around £370) that it is simply not worth exchanging BA Miles for anything but long-haul flights in premium cabins. And availability in those classes is so low that there is little chance of actually being able to book one, even months in advance.

I have also noticed the standard pattern when there is reason to complain to BA. You first receive a standard, cut-and-paste response and then, when you express your dissatisfaction with that response, you get 5,000 BA Miles credited to your account. It happens every time.

I still think the the BA experience is better than that of most other airlines, but now also take the fare into account when choosing a carrier - with the result that I have not flown BA at all since February. I've "lost" several tens of thousands of BA Miles, but have saved many hundreds of pounds.

5th Aug 2008, 11:53
From the comments above, my personal experiences and of those I know, the exec club is now managing to annoy far too many rather than be a desirable benefit.

I guess with the current woes of the industry, some sort of revamp is low on the priority of things but it really does need to be done. Allowing miles and vouchers to be used to upgrade at point of check-in if seat availability is there, would be a very good start (and I assume of insignificant cost).

And ensuring advanced bookings cost less with miles and upgrades than buying the ticket outright for cash would be another.

Aksai Oiler
5th Aug 2008, 16:53
Personally I don't believe the Exec Club is any better or worse than other airlines FFP to be honest they are all :mad:ite.

I too have my axe to grind about various annoying incidents, like being told to visit the BA Office in Malaga airport (when there has not been one since the demise of GB Airways) to get a infant ticket for my daughter. I also don't like been told that the current enconomic climate is the root for poor service and high prices. I was quoted today a price from Spain to Istanbul (Club) of 5500 Euro (BA) and 2200 Euro (IB & TK). Guess which one I chose.

The only thing I currently value is the 1st Class lounge when I travel enconomy in LHR to Africa. Yes the Executive Club needs a re-vamp but also the airline needs to start appreciating those regular backsides on seats who frequent them.

5th Aug 2008, 22:19
'fraid I'm with the Bearded one and I can't imagine them making a general offer like this. Of course they would if a specific flight had a problem but this is kind of admiting there are going to be delays.

Also think redemption is better on VS:just upgraded for miles from economy to Upper on LHR-BOM at booking three weeks ahead.
But then only 86 outbound and 75 inbound. BA's load seemd similar yesterday but Jet Airways were bursting at the seams; are they just accepting lower yield?

Final 3 Greens
6th Aug 2008, 06:01
but Jet Airways were bursting at the seams; are they just accepting lower yield?

Were I flying that route, I'd choose Jet over BA or VS.

Maybe they are accepting lower yields, but they are a very good airline.

Final 3 Greens
6th Aug 2008, 06:07
but Jet Airways were bursting at the seams; are they just accepting lower yield?

Dep 27/8, ret 3/9

J class

BA - £1565

VS - £1592

Jet - £2247

in Y

VS - £429

Jet - £441

BA - £493

6th Aug 2008, 09:52

Don't confuse BA Miles with AirMiles. Although BA set up Airmiles, they are no longer associated.
I was caught by this following a Sainsburys promotion back in 2003, when you could convert their loyalty points into Airmiles. I did this at the end of their promotion, converting a fair ££worth of points into Airmiles. Only thing was their terminal didn't recognise my Airmiles account number, but the assistant spotted my Silver BA Executive Club card which at that time still had an Airmiles logo on it. Using the number from that card. the transaction went through and I thought no more of it .. until, fast forward 3 years, letter from BA to the effect that " your points are about to expire, purchase a full fare flight to retain them". Pointing out that these points had been "purchased" with a cash equivalent cut no ice and the points were lost.

Trivial, I know, but I have avoided BA ever since.

Mr Quite Happy
6th Aug 2008, 12:41
For your interest, here's something I penned off to BA earlier today... Its not a very good letter, it simply points out the effort I had to go to because their website didn't work as advertised. Feel free to discuss...

Dear Sirs,

I am a Blue member with enough tier points but not enough qualifying flights to get Silver. I live in Europe so my tier points threshold is a little lower.

In order to get Silver I decided to book a one-way flight with two connections (DELETED FROM PPRUNE VERSION) AMS-LCY-ZRH for 28AUG08.

I called your (excellent) NL BA EXEC CLUB help desk and asked whether this journey would count as two qualifying flights, thus delivering me Silver before my 'executive club year' runs out on 08SEP08. In addition this will allow me some lounge access for when I am taking my family on our Miami (WorldTraveller) holiday in October. Useful I anticipate.

Your NL help desk was able to point me to the ba.com's opening screen where I could choose "Economy" or "Lowest (earning Tier Points)" or "Flexible". I had originally chosen Economy (default) and the journey cost was EUR 196. So with this guidance I chose Lowest (eTP) and to my surprise got the same cost of 196 EUR!

Being a Six Sigma kinda chap, I smelled a fish. But I booked it anyway.

I then immediately rang your (very good) BA office in NL who confirmed it was a Q class booking and not valid for tier points or as qualifying flights (the only reason I was doing a multi-stop BA flight at all). He confirmed the Exec Club ladies statement that only Y, B or H class qualified for tier points or as qualifying flights. He was kind enough to void my booking at the H class was 4xx EUR, over twice as much.

So. All in all, quite a long story, but the sum is

(a) your website 'button' didn't (and probably still doesn't) work, and

(b) can I have either
(i) an extension on my membership year by two months or
(ii) can you give me a couple of qualifying flights or
(iii) can you force tier me to silver or
(iv) reimburse me for the hour its taken of my day to book, cancel and send this.

As you will probably know, he who attains silver will attempt to get Gold. Having been KLM Platinum Elite and Luftwaffe Senator YOU KNOW I'm gonna be good for it!

Thanks and I hope all is well,

Michael SWS
6th Aug 2008, 13:08
It is not a good idea to attempt humour in a letter of complaint. Simply state the facts and what you would like by way of compensation... and do it in as few words as possible.

Mr Quite Happy
6th Aug 2008, 15:31
It is not a good idea to attempt humour in a letter of complaint. Simply state the facts and what you would like by way of compensation... and do it in as few words as possible.

I kinda agree, but I was more into waxing lyrical this morning than angry or upset. I'm feeling the summer love... don't you feel it too?

Anyway, like I said, the important thing is their website button is :mad:

Final 3 Greens
6th Aug 2008, 16:28
Interestingly enough, I flew LHR/MAD/GRU/MAD/LHR with Iberia in C/J 3 weeks ago.

Despite the BAEC website telling me I would get quite number of tier points for the flight and my BA # being on all lthe boarding passes, nothing has been credited.

I imagine that my flight was on some arcane fare code that isn't eligible, but the point is that the calculator had only one "club/business class" category.

At the end of the day, I find BA such a shower these days that I can't even be bothered to pick up the 'phone and ask the question - I am proudly on "nil points" and intend to stay that way for the rest of the year :-)

6th Aug 2008, 16:37
I imagine that my flight was on some arcane fare code that isn't eligible, but the point is that the calculator had only one "club/business class" category.Which is exactly the way it is.

Getting points to post automatically from alliance partner flights is not exactly a problem confined to BAEC.

Final 3 Greens
6th Aug 2008, 17:01
Getting points to post automatically from alliance partner flights is not exactly a problem confined to BAEC.

Well I've never encountered a problem with Skyteam or Star Alliance, but perhaps I've been lucky.

The point I was making was that BAEC sets an expectation of XXX points by way of a simplistic calculator, but I believe that the reality is far more complex - I just thought that this aligned with the sentiment of the OP.

6th Aug 2008, 18:26
Well I've never encountered a problem with Skyteam or Star Alliance, but perhaps I've been lucky.Proportionately to the amount of *A flying I do, I've had plenty of problems. As has a friend who had to fly *A for work, until he chucked in that job.

I take the same view as you: As *A isn't my primary alliance, there is a limit to the amount of time and energy I can spend chasing and just give up after a while.The point I was making was that BAEC sets an expectation of XXX points by way of a simplistic calculator, but I believe that the reality is far more complex - I just thought that this aligned with the sentiment of the OP.I really don't think that it is any more complex than that. There's only one level of business class earn (plus status bonus if applicable) - qualifying partner booking classes listed here (http://www.britishairways.com/travel/ecprtnrairtablenew/public/en_gb).

Mr Quite Happy
7th Aug 2008, 13:29
Speaking personally, I never had a problem with BMI or LH with Star ALLIANCE.





7th Aug 2008, 19:11
The CAPS LOCK can become locked in the software and a simple reboot of the computer will almost certainly fix it.

Come to think of, BA Exec Club could do with a reboot too. :} :p :E

All Ahead Full
8th Aug 2008, 11:04
Turn keyboard over and thump, watch all the dust and paperclips fall out...:ok:

14th Jan 2009, 13:18
The latest promo e-mail to hit me again raised a few eyebrows, the e-mail came from exec club:

Dear Mr Candoo,

http://img.ed4.net/spacer50.gifWe'd like to remind you about our new British Airways Executive Club partner, e-Rewards. Which is good news for you, because it means we may be welcoming you on board your next reward flight, sooner than you think.

Your opinion is worth thousands of BA Miles.

Each time you complete an e-Rewards (http://home.britishairways.com/r/DSJT8T/JRX03/TP3O7V/IH9VN/Q6P4D/20/h) online market research survey you will earn Opinion Points™. In fact, you could earn up to 3,600 Opinion Points per survey*. Every quarter you can then convert** your Opinion Points into BA Miles - at the rate of 500 BA Miles for every 2,000 Opinion Points.

http://img.ed4.net/spacer50.gifWhat's more, enroll with e-Rewards now, and we'll credit your account wit h 500 BA Miles just for completing your first survey. So you can see how it could soon mount up to a great getaway.

Fly through as many surveys as you like.

Once you're enrolled, e-Rewards send you surveys which are specially selected to suit your lifestyle and interests (they ask you about those at enrollment). When you've a spare ten minutes, or slack
half-hour, don't waste it: reel off a survey and earn some BA Miles.

Enroll now for an extra 500 BA Miles on your first survey.

This is a great opportunity to boost your BA Miles balance when you're not flying.
Enroll with e-Rewards (http://home.britishairways.com/r/DSJT8T/JRX03/TP3O7V/IH9VN/Q6P4Y/20/h) now, and when you complete your first survey you’ll receive 500 bonus BA Miles with our compliments***.

So I get 4 times as many BA miles as flying to Dusseldorf and back by completing a poxy on-line survey.

Surely they should be encouraging peeps to fly and not fill out on-line forms - I know about the revenue etc... but remind me what business are BA in?

14th Jan 2009, 15:38
So I get 4 times as many BA miles as flying to Dusseldorf and back by completing a poxy on-line survey.

Yes but you have to provide your phone number - the cold callers will be keeping you very busy.

14th Jan 2009, 15:58
Plus all the other information you'll be giving - where you shop, what you buy, where you go on holiday and so on. In return for giving this company all the information they like to sell on to others so they can hit you with more junk post/email/phone calls as they like, BA get a tidy commission out of it and therefore can flog a few Miles here and there

14th Jan 2009, 17:30
My company is probably one of BAs top ten accounts. We have just defected to Egyptair for one of our busiest routes. Most of us (despite our gold cards) view it as payback time. Sad, but true.

19th Feb 2009, 19:52
Thought this might be of interest to other Silver card members - received by email yesterday. Not sure if this is targeted at particular members or is universal, or indeed whether it's a permanent change.


Dear Mr 13Alpha,

You may remember that we wrote to you recently about a series of improvements we’re making to the Executive Club based on your feedback.

One of the things members mentioned was that you felt you should be rewarded for every flight you take. We think so too.

For the next three months you’ll earn Tier Points on every flight

From 18 February to 18 May 2009, for the first time ever, you’ll earn Tier Points on every flight* you take with us and our oneworld® partners. This even includes flights on discount economy tickets, for which you’ll get 25% of the Tier Points you’d earn on a fully flexible economy ticket.
And we've made it easier for you to maintain your Silver status

If you take 50 flights (or 25 return flights) in your current membership year, we'll waive the standard number of Tier Points required to renew your Silver status for another year. This includes any flights taken on discount economy tickets.**

I hope you find these new benefits worthwhile. You can expect news of more improvements very soon. In the meantime, if you have any feedback on this, or on any other changes we’ve made to your Silver membership, we'd love to hear from you. Simply visit our feedback page and let us know.

Warm regards,

James Hillier
Executive Club Manager

Scumbag O'Riley
20th Feb 2009, 07:01
They have the * and ** in there. That is when they change the meaning of well understood English words like 'every' to the BA meaning which is 'very few'. A bit like how they once used 'improved' when it really meant 'significantly worsened'. What is in the small print?

20th Feb 2009, 10:31
This is the kind of useful change we will see all carriers do in the recession. They need to increase load factors - because that is what the Main Board of Directors look at. Whilst they will know the breakdown of revenue, if you are getting previously hacked off pax on board and getting their FFMs back - that is 'good'. The tier points cost them nothing and the cost of redemption is (effectively) nothing. Actual FFMs do have a cost. In my view, a sensible action for BA.

20th Feb 2009, 13:18
The benefits of said cards were so reduced in the good times that I suspect much of their former 'BA wherever possible flyer' has gone to looking for best value for money instead. I'm one of them, 3 flights booked all on BA routes - only 1 with BA.

FF status has little meaning now, Biz seats can be had at such large discounts and the limited miles for upgrades availability doesnt appear to save you much (or any) money either.

20th Feb 2009, 15:29
I would question the benefits of the BA Gold, they have definitely tightened up in the last few years. I have had Gold for 10 years now, and it used to lead to frequent upgrades, csd's introducing themselves, better seating generally even when flying on a cheap economy ticket.

Now, they have raised the thresholds to retain it, reduced the benefits (in my opinion), especially with the upgrades, and whats all of the tax on the "free" flights. Surely tax should be a percentage of the price the ticket is sold for.

I have now been using Air France and Virgin more, and have gold on both, I find Virgin to be absolutely wonderful, friendly helpful. I think Air France is a waste of space, and wont be bothering using them unless I absolutely have to.

Haven't a clue
20th Feb 2009, 21:08
I too have had a Gold card for, gosh, some 15 years (save for one when my first child was born and I dropped to silver). When I used to fly in UK or Europe there was some benefit when things went wrong, as they sometimes did. Now as BA no longer provide a service from where I live there is no real need to use them, and that then opens up my long haul options.

I guess I still like their premium offer, and I still use them out of choice. But their FF scheme which used to influence me no longer does, so when they let me down, as inevitably they will, I'll be off to try the competition. I'm afraid the Executive Club has had its day, and unless their service standards on the ground inprove dramatically, I, and no doubt, many others, will be happy to go elsewhere.

20th Feb 2009, 22:34
Knowing BA as I do I also immediately dived straight for the small print on the letter so here it is:

*If you select the "Lowest price" ticket type when making a booking for travel between 18 February and
18 May 2009, you will qualify for 25% of the Tier Points awarded on a Flexible ticket type. Tier Points are not available on Redemption flight bookings or on transatlantic flights operated by American Airlines. Full terms and conditions apply.

**50 sectors must be booked and flown in your membership year on services operated by British Airways and its franchises, BA Cityflyer, or oneworld Alliance members. Redemption bookings and any flights booked on agency and industry discounted fares are excluded. Full terms and conditions apply.

So seems reasonable enough, assuming it's not just a one-off and/or for a limited subset of members.

But I agree that BA still have a lot of rebuilding to do to make the Exec Club a worthwhile benefit again. The letter also asked for any other feedback or ideas to improve silver tier membership, so I made full use of the opportunity ;)


21st Feb 2009, 21:33
Like most who have posted on this thread, I am a regular traveller for both business and leisure. Until very recently, the vast majority of my flights were with BA and the majority of those in 'Club', both long and short haul.

It is becoming increasingly obvious to me that the BA Club product is being continuously devalued. Notwithstanding the improved flat beds in 'Ikea Class' there is little to it. And that 'new' IFE system seems to go u/s with increasing regularity.

But it's the degrading of the Exec Club that cheeses me off the most. Gone are benefits to make you feel special - increasingly these are replaced by marketing spin that seems to offer negligible benefit to me as a passenger (sorry, customer).

Latest exclusive offer is a typical example. As a 'very special' member of the 'Gold Club' a recent letter explained that the days of frustration over not being able to purchase a BA Miles seat were gone. A new benefit, apparently introduced in response to customer feedback would solve the problem. All I have to do is pick up the 'phone and speak to the Exec Club which will solve the problem for me. And for just twice the normal number of BA Miles required, a seat will be found for me, providing the flight is not full.

Oh joy, I thought, what a wonderful benefit that is!

Interesting response by BA to what was probably feedback that obtaining seats using BA Miles is becoming difficult, if not impossible, on many routes unless many months in advance.

Apparently, if you hand over lots of money you can actually buy a seat too, but , if you are a valued Gold Card holder, don't hold your breath for an upgrade.

Compare and contrast this approach with that of Virgin Atlantic, for example. Strangely enough, that's where an increasing portion of my annual travel budget is going!

22nd Feb 2009, 04:54
I am a Gold card member with BA and EY and have been for a number of years with BA and earned Gold within 6 months of joining the Etihad Guest scheme.

The EY privileges were very good when it started with free Limo pickup in AUH and key destinations irrespective of class of travel which was a real benefit.

However now the not so good side. EY have just removed access to the First class lounge for Gold members and also the free Limo service unless travelling in First or Business when you get it anyway.

As for upgrades i do so much better with BA and have not had a single upgrade from EY in over 100 flights which is not impressive. i am even refused the aisle seats when I request them and they are empty (Am a fit and able individual so no issues there)

Bottom line is that I fly EY because I live in AUH and options are limited but I fly BA because i choose too.

26th Feb 2009, 08:20
For me, one of the most significant changes BA made to EC membership occured when members were no longer able to select seats (when booking or when checking in online) ahead of other travellers. In particular, this made it much more difficult for me to secure my favourite upper deck seats on 747 flights.
On the other hand, the recent promotion which allowed me to purchase Club World tickets to North American destinations for 50,000 Miles each (plus taxes, fees and charges, of course) was a valuable, albeit temporary, benefit.

26th Feb 2009, 11:27
I am getting requests to fill in online surveys from them on a weekly basis at the moment.

"Polishing the Gold"

heh heh heh

Mr Quite Happy
4th Mar 2009, 07:24
Just to update you on my humourous force tiering begging letter from the first page.

I got it (silver)!

Sorry for the delay in the feedback..