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British Airways Executive Club has announced some positive changes for once. Amusingly, these are being called changes / improvements, rather than the usual euphemism of “enhancements”, which we all know is a codeword for devaluation!
Free Seat Selection on Basic Fares for Bronze, Silver and Gold members
When BA withdrew the right for Gold members to pre-select their seats on the cheapest Hand Baggage Only / Basic fares, they managed to annoy many of their most loyal customers. After all, frequent business travelers hopping over to the Continent for a meeting rarely need to check in luggage, but are never likely to be thrilled with accepting whatever seat a computer automatically assigns. This is why many of us would book a Plus fare, which also comes with free same-day flight changes.
For flights starting 14 June, 2017, Bronze, Silver and Gold members will no longer be charged for selecting a seat in advance (on Basic fares). As a reminder…
- Gold members can select any seat (in their booked cabin) at the time of booking
- Silver members can select a seat at the time of booking, but might not be able to choose the “best” seats (exit row, Upper Deck 747, 1 A/K in First Class, etc.)
- Bronze members can select a seat 7 days in advance of their flight
If you enjoy such a status, and have already paid for seat allocation, then this amount will be refunded to you (provided your seat choice falls within the standard requirements for your tier)
Maternity / Paternity Freeze on Elite Status
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club brought in this benefit awhile ago. British Airways is now finally copying.
If you can show that the birth of a new baby has caused you to travel less, you can apply for a one-year extension of your current status. The best case scenario is that everybody will receive a one-year extension simply by showing a birth certificate. The worst case scenario is that BA will deny applications from parents (usually men one presumes) who don’t actually take any maternity/paternity leave.
It’s not 100% clear to me whether:
- your Tier Point collection year is extended by another 12 months (giving you 2 years to re-qualify or even upgrade to a higher tier)
- your soft landing is over-riden to maintain your current status, but you still have to re-qualify starting from zero. (which makes it harder for somebody whose maternity leave spans two TP years)
Members are limited to two such extensions within a 5-year period. BAEC is also offering a 1,000 Avios bonus for enrolling that newborn into your Household Account.
It’s nice to see British Airways Executive Club recognise that they needed to make a couple of improvements to keep their most loyal members happy. So kudos for that.