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Once upon a time, many British Airways Executive Club members “relocated” to Continental Europe. Not physically though… just their Executive Club accounts… Why? Because European residents were allowed to reach elite status far quicker (presumably to compensate for the inconvenience of connecting via Heathrow). This “euro-cheat” loophole was closed several years ago and European residents now require the same number of Tier Points as everybody else…
Partly though inertia and partly because I am now genuinely resident on the Continent – at least sometimes 😉 – my Executive Club account never made it back to the UK. I was reminded of this recently when I tried to cash out from Topcashback during the recent 25% Avios bonus, but subsequently received this email from Topcashback…
Hello,We’re just contacting you to let you know that your Avios payout request has been received, but unfortunately it has not gone through successfully.… Please also note that the card must be registered in the UK or Southern Ireland [sic] to be eligible for this promotion.
Oops… I can now add Topcashback to the list of Avios partners that require a UK-registered Executive Club account. This list includes:
- Tesco Clubcard – voucher conversions will fail if the BAEC account address is located outside of the UK
- American Express (UK) – you can accumulate Avios, but they cannot be transferred to BA unless (or until) your Executive Club account is registered in the UK
There may be others. Please leave a comment below if you are aware of other similar restrictions.
What Else Changes with a Europe-registered Executive Club Account?
The fundamental difference between a UK-registered BA account and a Europe-registered BA account is currency. You will pay any taxes and surcharges in the currency of your home address, NOT the departure point of your reward flight. If you are agnostic about major currencies (or have a zero FX commission credit card), this won’t matter much, except for one major circumstance…
Many readers will know that Reward Flight Saver involves a flat charge of £17.50 each way in Economy and £25 in Business Class. However, if your BAEC account is based in Continental Europe, you will pay this:
At current exchange rates, that 21 euro Euro Traveller reward costs £18.10 and the 30 euro Club Europe reward costs £25.85. The savings aren’t substantial… But as long as Brexit uncertainty causes sterling to weaken, it makes sense to locate your BA account in the UK and pay the lower flat charge on Reward Flight Saver rewards.
Apart from pure laziness and the once-a-year delivery of a plastic card showing my elite status, I can’t figure out why my British Airways Executive Club account is still registered to an address outside of the UK. Am I missing something? Or should I be “moving” back to the UK? Let us know in the comments section…