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The IAG (parent company of BA/Iberia/Aer Lingus/etc) Capital Markets Day report is available to view here and makes for some fascinating reading.
There’s all sorts of interesting details: Not least BA’s plan for “densification” over the next couple of years – consultancy-speak for squashing in more seats. IAG is actually bragging to investors that BA’s Gatwick Boeing 777s will be “densified” beyond what low-cost carrier Norwegian currently provides, and the short-haul A320s and A321s are having more seats crushed in too by Summer 2018).
The biggest news, by far, for Points/Miles collectors though, is that the separate Avios loyalty programmes (BA Executive Club, Iberia Plus, Meridiana Club) are going to be merged into what looks like an expanded version of Avios.com next year.
Details are completely unknown at the moment, but the broad intention from the presentation slide above is clear. British Airways Executive Club (BAEC) and Iberia Plus are being migrated to a new ‘general’ loyalty platform that IAG are keen to get other airlines to sign up to as well (we already knew about the memorandum of understanding with Royal Air Maroc).
The focus a little later on in the report about creating more ways to earn and spend Avios (not just airline related), suggests that although the slide mentions a “new loyalty platform”, it’s probably going to look quite a lot like Avios.com already does.
This is huge news, and likely to kill off some of the best Avios redemptions currently available. One of the great things about Avios has been the ability to transfer to Avios.com and Iberia Plus to/from BAEC and take advantage of the different sweetspots in each programme. I love BAEC’s household account feature and the ability to redeem on Aer Lingus at great prices, but I also love the Iberia Plus Business Class award prices I wrote about last week, for example.
Until today, I was actually looking forward to another separate but linked Avios programme from Aer Lingus, and the opportunities that might provide. I doubt IAG are going to launch a new Aer Lingus specific platform now though if they’re looking to consolidate all the current schemes next year.
Consolidating the loyalty programmes is a pretty significant IT challenge, so perhaps the timeline will slip into 2018 – but I wouldn’t rely on that. If you want to take advantage of any sweetspots on the current award charts, I would book as soon as possible!
InsideFlyer has reached out to IAG for more information about the changes and will let you know as soon as we hear anything of note.