On Monday, the company behind the Avios Travel Rewards Programme — used by British Airways customers — announced that the scheme would be closing down on May 20.
Before you panic, your points are still intact — but there are a few things you need to know.
An email to customers read: “In the coming months, the UK Avios Travel Rewards Programme will close but Avios, the currency, will remain.
“We’re doing this to simplify the programme and further improve collection and spending opportunities. You’ll still be able to collect and spend Avios with many of the partners you do today, you’ll just have a new home to do it all from.”
So, your Avios balance still exists, as well as any existing bookings and transactions — it’s just moving to a new home.
Until now, The Avios Travel Rewards Programme —— has operated separately to the British Airways Executive Club, despite the fact that both use the same currency — Avios points.
This means customers who have accounts with both have Avios accumulating in two separate schemes.
Now, as thescheme closes down, a British Airways Executive Club account will be created for Avios customers who don’t currently have one, and points balance will be transferred over.
However, if you already have a British Airways Executive Club account as well as an transfer your Avios points across yourself by May 20 — or you can opt out entirely by the same date, but you’ll need to spend all your Avios within six months or lose them.account, you can
If you don’t, BA told Business Insider that any Avios left in your account after the programme has closed will be moved across into your British Airways Executive Club account.
It could take “several weeks” to build the new accounts, but customers will be able to collect and spend Avios as normal in the meantime, according to the company.
“The British Airways Executive Club will be in touch with your new account details and how to activate it when it’s ready,” the email read.
According to the Avios Group Limited (AGL), the move will bring “added benefits” to Avios members who will be able to “collect and spend Avios with even more partners than at present,” including flights with British Airways, Iberia, and 11 additional OneWorld and partner airlines including American Airlines, Qantas, and Japan Airlines.
The company added that members will have access to 60,000 additional partner hotels and 50,000 more sight-seeing experiences and excursions.
Rob Burgess, who runs frequent flier website Head for Points, confirmed there’s nothing to worry about.
“Their points are safe and will be transferred over to British Airways Executive Club,” he said. “The range of redemption options available via BAEC is broader than it is via Avios and no one will lose out. This move will also unravel some of the complexity in running two Avios-based loyalty schemes in the UK.”
However, he added that the move is an “admission of failure” by Avios to build a stand-alone multi-partner scheme in the UK.
“The plan, launched back in 2011, was to turn Avios into a ‘coalition’ loyalty scheme along the lines of Nectar,” he said. “They have not succeeded.”