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British Airways Executive Club offers families the opportunity to pool their Avios within a Household Account, but how does it really work?
The first thing to keep in mind is that any BAEC member can issue award tickets in the name of anybody else (within reason if you wish to avoid an account audit). All that is required is sufficient Avios and a payment method in the name of the BAEC member. So a Household Account is simply not necessary for many members, at least those not attempting to “travel hack” additional Avios from distant relatives and disinterested friends.
As a result, the main reason for a Household Account is that you MUST be 18 years old to open an Executive Club account, unless you are a member of a Household Account. 18 years (actually 16 or so) is a long time for your child to NOT be earning Avios, so any readers with children are highly incentivised to start a Household Account. (Setting up standalone accounts using a fake birth date will become an issue eventually so I would advise against that…)
As soon as your child is occupying a seat – lap infants under the age of 2 will not normally occupy a seat and therefore will not earn Avios – he or she will start earning Avios and Tier Points. Accounts are never fully merged, but simply offer a way for one adult to use the Avios accumulated by their children.
How to Open a Household Account
Assuming that you are already an Executive Club member, you can click here to get started. The first step is deciding who will be the “Head of the Household”, sometimes referred to by BA as the “primary” member. As I will explain later, this might not always be the most frequent flyer of the family.
Once the Household Account is active, you can then create accounts for children. Each Household Account can add up to seven members.
If you attempt to add an existing BAEC member to a Household Account, that member will receive an email from BAEC asking them to confirm.
How Do You Spend Avios from a Household Account
As each member retains their own Avios balance, only the Head of the Household will see (and be able to use) the accumulated balance across the Household Account.
When redeeming Avios, the required amount is taken PRO RATA from each of the members of the Household Account. Here’s an example…
- Head of the Household – 100,000 Avios balance – 50% of Household total
- Member 2 – 50,000 Avios – 25% of total
- Member 3 – 25,000 Avios – 12.5% of total
- Member 4 – 25,000 Avios – 12.5% of total
When issuing one or more award tickets, totalling 80,000 Avios for example, the following amounts of Avios would be deducted…
- Head of Household – 40,000 Avios
- Member 2 – 20,000 Avios
- Members 3 and 4 – 10,000 Avios each
For the avoidance of doubt, each member EARNS Avios into their own personal account. When the Head of the Household earns 6,500 Avios from a flight taken alone, all of those Avios will end up in the HotH’s personal account.
Household Account Restrictions
All members of a Household Account must be registered at the same postal address. BA does not require any additional proof of residence.
Changing or Closing the Household Account
You are only allowed one change to the Household Account every six months. This includes closing the Household Account. Obviously most families do not add or subtract family members that frequently, but this restriction does limit the ability to “travel hack”.
When a Household Account is closed, each individual member retains their own Avios and can operate their account independently. Any accounts belonging to under-18 children are immediately cancelled, with any Avios balance lost. Previously the Avios were given to the Head of the Household, but this feature was too widely abused.
Issuing Award Tickets
Once you have set up a Household Account, you can only issue award tickets in the name of a member of that same household.
An exception does apply, however. The Head of the Household can nominate a further five BAEC members as “Family & Friends”. This list of friends can only be changed every six months as well. Once a list of Family & Friends has been set up, the Head of the Household is also allowed to issue award tickets in the name of those F&F members.
Combine Your Avios
Once a BAEC account forms part of a Household Account, it is no longer able to RECEIVE Avios from Iberia Plus. You can still send Avios from BAEC to Iberia Plus.
A reasonably well known workaround still exists (I think). It requires you to open an account with Aer Lingus Aer Club or Vueling Club (both of which look exactly like the old Avios.com) and then:
- Pull your Avios (using the Combine My Avios function on Avios.com) from Iberia Plus into Avios.com
- Push your Avios (using the Combine My Avios transaction on Avios.com) from Avios.com to British Airways Executive Club
Do You Really Want to Be the Head of the Household?
By nominating the most frequent flyer to be the Head of the Household, that person is accepting restrictions on their account. Although Avios.com (i.e. Aer Lingus AerClub) and the Friends & Family list offer workarounds, completing simple tasks becomes rather more time-consuming. So it can make sense to have your partner or a grandparent as “Head of the Household”, whilst you continue to manage your account on a stand-alone basis. Naturally you can become one of the five allowed “Family & Friends” on your partner’s Household Account.
That said, it is much easier to use the 2-for-1 certificate from American Express when you can access the accumulated Avios balance of the entire family.
And perhaps most importantly, the Avios of the entire household will never expire, as long as the Head of Household enjoys Gold, Silver or Bronze status and earns/redeems Avios once every 36 months. Otherwise, each individual member of a Household Account must earn or redeem Avios every 36 months to avoid the expiry of their “personal” Avios balance. Redeeming is obviously easy, since award redemptions deduct Avios on a pro rata basis from all accounts – but not everybody manages to use their Avios once every three years…
I’ve always found it to be easier to simply manage a handful of BAEC accounts separately, without setting up a Household Account. But I have never needed to manage the account of an under-18 child. For that reason, a Household Account from British Airways Executive Club is now on my radar…