British Airways Prepares for American with New Rewards and Upgraded Lounges
We always get suspicious when airlines start talking about giving customers "more control" and "more choice," since that usually means downgrading reward tiers and charging for things that used to come for free. Getting to choose whether to have food on a long flight or pay for checked baggage has never left us feeling particularly empowered. Nowadays pretty much any airline policy change is enough to get us nervous, and that's particularly true whenever they start to tinker with loyalty programs and elite status.
So naturally we've been anticipating with dread the details of how the American Airlines/British Airways/Iberia merger will affect their frequent flyer programs. So far so good, with the announcement coming out over the weekend that BA is increasing the miles that you get for Discount Economy tickets, from 25% to 100%. BA miles are also now good for AA upgrades, and vice versa. And the airline is even promising to upgrade some of their Executive Lounges.
Now all that's left is to find out is how they're going to create new rewards tiers that make it harder to score seats at the lowest levels. We don't know that they'll do that of course, but we're optimistic that not all of the changes are going to be for the better. Or pessimistic, depending on how you look at it.
Also worth noting: AA and BA itineraries and rewards are eventually going to become even more tangled in the medium term. American and Jetblue have already begun selling each other's flights, even while Jetblue works to suck up to Star Alliance's Lufthansa and American becomes more integrated into oneworld. Meanwhile British Airways CEO Willie Walsh could make a play for as many as a dozen different airlines, all to be integrated with BA to different degrees. This isn't going to get less confusing, is what we're saying.
[Photo: Wikimedia Commons]
· http://www.jaunted.com/tag/Mileage%20Programs [Jaunted]
· http://www.jaunted.com/tag/Frequent%20Flyer%20Programs%20 [Jaunted]