British Airways has announced a major shake-up to its Executive Club loyalty scheme by switching all customers over to a fixed membership year from 2025.
It removes one of the major complexities of the programme by aligning the collection year for tier points – which determine status such as gold, silver or bronze – into a common calendar year, to run from April 1 to March 31.
At the moment, tier point collection years vary according to the date of first joining the scheme and run for 12 months from that date e.g. February-February or October-October.
It means couples and households often have different collection years, making it difficult to keep track of how many flights are needed to maintain the status needed for access to benefits such as lounges, priority check-in and free seat selection.
Does this mean a change to earning Avios?
No, this has nothing to do with the way Avios points are earned or spent.
British Airways last year announced changes to this, with members earning Avios based on the amount spent on the base fare of each ticket (excluding taxes, surcharges and seat selection fees).
How is British Airways changing Executive Club membership years?
British Airways is moving into line with other schemes, such as American Airlines’ AAdvantage and Iberia’s Iberia Plus, by having a universal status-earning year for all members.
Presently, Executive Club membership years are based on the original joining date and are fixed on the 8th of each month, making a maths puzzle out of tracking how many tier points are needed to obtain or retain the necessary status levels. It also means a family of four could have four different membership years, and creates further headaches for members nominating friends or family for ‘partner cards’.
From 2025, all British Airways Executive Club members will be aligned, and will have from April 1 to March 31 in every future year to earn the necessary tier points.
Why is British Airways making this change?
British Airways says the main reason is greater simplicity, “making it easier to manage travel plans for yourself, colleagues and family”.
Travel blog Head for Points speculates that it could also make it easier for British Airways to make wider cost-saving changes, such as a shared IT platform with Iberia (both airlines are owned by IAG) or the introduction of spend-based tier points to match the recent move to spend-based Avios.
How will the transition to new Executive Club tier point collection years work?
This is where it gets complicated.
In the coming months, members not already on an April-March year will find their tier point collection year shortened for one time only, to end on 31 March 2025. However, they will have any tier points earned after 1 April 2024 added to the curtailed collection year as a one-off adjustment.
For example, if your current tier point year is due to end on 8 July 2024, your next year will be curtailed to end on 31 March 2025 instead of 8 July 2025. However, any tier points earned between April 1 and July 8 2024 will be applied to the shorter year as a one-off tier adjustment.
British Airways has published an FAQ explaining how the changes will affect each of the 12 different membership years.
Who are the winners and losers in these Executive Club changes?
Winners will be everyone no longer needing to use a mental spreadsheet to work out if they will be able to access a lounge on next year’s holiday.
Losers will be anyone earning significant tier points between now and 31 March 2024; although these will still count for the existing earning and status cycle, they won’t count towards the new post-April 2025 status. For example, if a member whose current year began on 9 January 2024 will have a one-off curtailed membership year from 9 January 2025 to 31 March 2025; tier points earned between 1 April 2024 and 8 January 2025 will be added as a one-off adjustment, but any earned prior to 1 April 2024 will not count.