I’ve never found British Airways to be an especially customer friendly airline when it comes to their Executive Club frequent flyer program (or many other aspects of their operation, for that matter).
But they may just have hit a new low in terms of not providing advance notice of changes, because as of today the Executive Club has added award ticket change and cancellation fees for Gold Card Holders. Not only did they not provide any advance notice, but they haven’t provided any communication short of this message that appears on the final page of the award booking process if logged into a Gold account:
Please note that from 31 March 2014 our Terms and conditions have changed:
Change and cancellation fees now apply to Gold Members.
For US based members the fee to change or cancel an award ticket is presently $40, so that now also applies to Gold Card Holders.
Anyway, some report calling British Airways Executive Club and being told this change is to preserve award inventory and prevent people from making speculative bookings and “hogging” inventory. I think it goes without saying that’s “hogwash.” If that were the case, you’ve gotta love that American top tier elites can continue to speculatively make bookings on British Airways without change or cancellation fees, “hogging” all the inventory.
The funny thing for me is that my British Airways Gold status (which I earned back in the British Midland days) expires today. And I can’t say I’ll miss it one bit. There were only two real benefits to it for me, and the lack of change or cancellation fees was one of them. I redeemed a ton of British Airways Avios for travel on Alaska Airlines up and down the west coast, and the lack of fees was nice.
Now that that’s gone, the only other benefits is Flagship Lounge access when flying American. But last week I did the math and realized I’ve only used Flagship Lounges through my British Airways Gold status about five times in the past two years.
Anyway, this change is ridiculous, the supposed explanation is more ridiculous, and the lack of advance notice on the change is most ridiculous.
(Tip of the hat to Ivan)