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When an air miles collector’s family expands, it’s natural to start thinking about the best way for the entire family to accumulate miles during their travels. A few, but not many, frequent flyer programs allow members to pool miles into a single account. British Airways Executive Club (BAEC) is one of the better options, with its Household Account. But how does it work?
The first thing to know is that any BAEC member can actually issue award tickets in the name of anybody else (within reason of course – BA will find out if you are selling Avios / award tickets to strangers). All that you need 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.
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 is a long time for your child to NOT be earning Avios on paid flights, so any readers with children are highly incentivised to start a Household Account.
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.
And just to be clear, you do NOT have to fly on British Airways to become a BAEC member or to earn Avios. You and your family members can earn Avios on any Oneworld partner airline – you simply must double-check to see how many Avios you might earn on cheap Economy class tickets.
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.
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
Although 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 – 200,000 Avios balance – 50% of Household total
- Member 2 – 100,000 Avios – 25% of total
- Member 3 – 50,000 Avios – 12.5% of total
- Member 4 – 50,000 Avios – 12.5% of total
When the Head of the Household issues one or more award tickets, totalling 100,000 Avios for example, the following amounts of Avios would be deducted…
- Head of Household – 50,000 Avios (i.e. 50%)
- Member 2 – 25,000 Avios (i.e. 25%)
- Members 3 and 4 – 12,500 Avios each (i.e. 12.5% 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.
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.
So obviously you do NOT want to close a Household Account before all of your children turn 18. However, if a child turns 18 and wants to earn and spend Avios independently of their parent(s), then they can simply be removed from the Household Account – at which point their account will operate independently with whatever Avios remain from their underage travels.
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
There is one particular restriction that many people find annoying. 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. It requires you to open an account with Aer Lingus Aer Club or Vueling Club 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 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”, while 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.
Although a British Airways Executive Club frequent flyer with elite status might want fewer restrictions on their account, there is one more useful perk to keep in mind – the Avios of the entire household need never expire, as long as the Head of Household enjoys Gold, Silver or Bronze status and earns/redeems Avios once every 36 months. (It is obviously difficult, if not impossible, to retain elite status without earning Avios along the way)
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. Although 36 months isn’t particularly tight, figuring out a way for a 5 year-old to earn or spend Avios without flying can become a bit tricky.
If you fly as a family every once in awhile, you might want an easy way to pool everybody’s miles together, so that you can also spend those miles on award flights. The British Airways Executive Club Household Account makes it easy…