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I’ve written quite a bit recently about the great sign-up bonus on the British Airways Visa Signature® Card, which offers up to 75,000 bonus Avios upon completing qualifying spend. A lot of people have been earning Avios this way, so I’ve been trying to write as much as possible about British Airways Executive Club, and specifically, redeeming Avios.
Keep in mind that in addition to the excellent sign-up bonus on the British Airways Visa Card, you can also convert several points currencies to British Airways Executive Club, making Avios especially easy to accrue. Specifically, you can convert:
- Amex Membership Rewards points, which can be earned on cards like the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express, The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express, The Platinum Card® from American Express, The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express, The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN, etc.
- Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which can be earned on cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card, etc.
- Starwood Preferred Guest points, which can be earned on cards like the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express
However, in this post I wanted to look at one of the other unique aspects of the program — specifically, how British Airways Executive Club lets you pool Avios in a household account. This is potentially a great option, though there are some important limitations to be aware of.
The basics of British Airways household accounts
In order to let you more effectively redeem your Avios, British Airways lets you create a household account, where you can pool the Avios you earn with up to six other people registered at the same address as you. This is especially useful for casual travelers. For example, if your family of five takes a longhaul trip, chances are that the Avios you earn individually won’t be enough for anything great, but if you can pool your Avios, you may already have enough for a free ticket to somewhere fun.
Note that individual members will continue to earn Tier Points to their own accounts, so this doesn’t accelerate the earning of status. Rather this just fast tracks the earning of Avios, which can be redeemed towards flights.
How to set up a British Airways household account
In order to create a household account you’ll need to decide on a “Head of Household.” This is the person who should complete the application, and then they’ll receive the communications regarding the account, and will be the only person who can add and remove people from the account (though all adult members can potentially redeem Avios from the household account).
When you create a household account, the head of household will invite members, so invited members should receive emails asking if they want to join a household account.
Avios accrued in a household account are valid as long as there’s some activity at least every 36 months, so this makes it easier to keep Avios alive across several accounts.
There are a few other things to remember about these accounts:
- You can only redeem Avios for members of the household account or select nominated travelers (more on that below); this is the biggest restriction, as joining a household account prevents you from redeeming Avios for anyone
- You can only change the address on a household account once every six months
- When you redeem Avios from a household account, a proportional percentage of Avios will be pulled from each account in relation to the balance; in other words, if three household members had 50,000 Avios, 30,000 Avios, and 20,000 Avios, and you made a 10,000 Avios redemption, then those members would have 5,000 Avios, 3,000 Avios, and 2,000 Avios pulled, respectively
You can also create a list of family and friends
The biggest restriction on household accounts is that they limit the people you can redeem your Avios for. This is a major limitation if you’re someone who likes redeeming Avios for those not at the same address as you.
However, the good news is that there’s a way to get around this. British Airways lets you nominate up to five family and friends who you can redeem Avios from your household account for, even if they don’t live at the same address. So in addition to being allowed up to seven members of the household account, you can add a further five redemption nominees.
The major restriction here is that you can’t remove someone from your family and friends list until they’ve been on there for at least six months, so you can’t constantly change these nominees.
Is a British Airways family account worth it?
In general, absolutely. I’m all for consolidating points as much as possible in order to make it easier to keep track of them and maximize redemption opportunities. By creating a household account, it becomes easier to prevent Avios from expiring, and also makes Avios easier to redeem. With other programs, one major limitation is that you need enough points in one account to redeem for an award. That’s not a problem with British Airways Executive Club, thanks to this feature.
There are only two reasons you shouldn’t form a household account, one of which is minor, and one of which is more major. If you have a household account:
- You’re only able to redeem for up to seven household members, plus five nominated travelers
- You aren’t able to transfer Avios to the Iberia program, which has some unique features that are potentially worthwhile, like the ability to redeem Avios for travel on Iberia without carrier imposed surcharges
Have you formed a British Airways household account, and if so, what has your experience been like?