British Airways Adds Award Change And Cancellation Fees For Gold Members

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)


  1. Too bad you can’t cancel online for less than calling their awful phone support. Maybe the fee is to cover the long hold times you are racking up on their 800 #

  2. I don’t like these changes but I don’t think people making speculative bookings is completely “hogwash” as there are a lot of people that do that. There may even be many more in the UK that do this that we don’t know about?

  3. @ Lantean — Ultimately we’re talking about a $40 change fee. I’d gladly pay that to hold Qantas A380 first class award space. 😉

  4. The lack of communication is what bothers me the most. Perhaps someone from Avianca now works for BA?

  5. Whenever I’ve cancelled a BA award ticket online (without status mind you), I haven’t been charged anything. Am I missing something?

  6. I’ve called in and been told it’s $60 to change/cancel. Cancelled a ticket online for $0!

  7. @Daniel That is probably the tax and fees you paid were less than 40 USD. The real cancellation fee is min (40, fee paid). It works great on nonstop short hop where you only need to pay AY tax, which is 2.5 USD now and 5.6 USD after 7/1/2014.

  8. This is pretty lame but, on the other hand, their fees overall aren’t that bad compared to what legacy US carriers charge for non-elites or low-level elites (e.g. UA charges $75/$100 to change and $200 to cancel & redeposit).

    And, yes, as Cloudybw mentions when you cancel a ticket they don’t actually charge your card for the fee — they just reduce your refund; hence, if your refund is less than the fees, you don’t pay anything. I know from experience as I’d had to cancel quite a few S7 intra-Russia tickets (to change dates) and was only out $8-9 in fees each time.

  9. @Lucky. I haven’t been able to find this anywhere, yet I know the information exists. I want to book an award for my sister who does not live with me and thus cannot be in a household account. I won’t be flying with her (LAX-DEN) so I don’t think I can book the ticket but I wanted to make sure before I tell her I can’t

  10. @ Victor — I booked partner awards through BA site for my parents neither out of my personal Avios account so you should be able to book a trip for your sister 🙂

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