Should You Sign Up For A British Airways Household Account?

Filed Under: British Airways
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British Airways Executive Club is a unique frequent flyer program, and it has many features you won’t find with other programs. For example, British Airways has a distance based award chart, opening up some great award redemption opportunities.

One of the other cool features of the British Airways Executive Club program is the ability to pool Avios in a household account. This is potentially a great option, and can be useful whether you’re a frequent British Airways flyer, or have the British Airways Visa Signature® Card. However, there are some important limitations to be aware of, and I wanted to take a closer look at those in this post.

The basics of British Airways household accounts

In order to let you more effectively redeem your Avios, British Airways lets you create a household account, where you can pool the Avios you earn with up to six other people registered at the same address as you.

British Airways lets you form a household account

This is especially useful for casual travelers. For example, if your family of five takes a long haul trip, chances are that the Avios you earn individually won’t be enough for anything great, but if you can pool your Avios, you may already have enough for a free ticket to somewhere fun.

Note that individual members will continue to earn Tier Points to their own accounts, so this doesn’t accelerate the earning of status. Rather this just fast tracks the earning of Avios, which can be redeemed towards flights.

How to set up a British Airways household account

In order to create a household account you’ll need to decide on a “Head of Household.” This is the person who should complete the application, and then they’ll receive the communications regarding the account, and will be the only person who can add and remove people from the account (though all adult members can potentially redeem Avios from the household account).

When you create a household account, the head of household will invite members, so invited members should receive emails asking if they want to join a household account.

Avios accrued in a household account are valid as long as there’s some activity at least every 36 months, so this makes it easier to keep Avios alive across several accounts.

Redeem Avios for British Airways’ Club Suites

There are a few other things to remember about these accounts:

  • You can only redeem Avios for members of the household account or select nominated travelers (more on that below); this is the biggest restriction, as joining a household account prevents you from redeeming Avios for anyone
  • You can only change the address on a household account once every six months
  • When you redeem Avios from a household account, a proportional percentage of Avios will be pulled from each account in relation to the balance; in other words, if three household members had 50,000 Avios, 30,000 Avios, and 20,000 Avios, and you made a 10,000 Avios redemption, then those members would have 5,000 Avios, 3,000 Avios, and 2,000 Avios pulled, respectively

You can also create a list of family and friends

The biggest restriction on household accounts is that they limit the people you can redeem your Avios for. This is a major limitation if you’re someone who likes redeeming Avios for those not at the same address as you.

However, the good news is that there’s a way to get around this. British Airways lets you nominate up to five family and friends who you can redeem Avios from your household account for, even if they don’t live at the same address.

This means that in addition to being allowed up to seven members of the household account, you can add a further five redemption nominees.

The major restriction here is that you can’t remove someone from your family and friends list until they’ve been on there for at least six months, so you can’t constantly change these nominees.

Is a British Airways family account worth it?

In general, absolutely. I’m all for consolidating points as much as possible in order to make it easier to keep track of them and maximize redemption opportunities. By creating a household account, it becomes easier to prevent Avios from expiring, and also makes Avios easier to redeem.

With other programs, one major limitation is that you need enough points in one account to redeem for an award. That’s not a problem with British Airways Executive Club, thanks to this feature.

There are only two reasons you shouldn’t form a household account, which I’ll cover below.

Limits on who you can redeem Avios for

One major restriction with creating a household account is that you can only redeem your Avios for up to seven members of your household, plus up to five nominated travelers.

Realistically this shouldn’t be a major issue, because that covers a lot of people.

Limits on transferring between Avios programs

I’d argue there’s one bigger limitation. There are three loyalty programs earning Avios — British Airways Executive Club, Iberia Plus, and Aer Lingus AerClub.

Each program has some unique perks, and as long as each account is open for 90 days and you have at least some activity, you can transfer Avios between accounts at no cost. That’s a great feature.

While you can still transfer British Airways Avios to Aer Lingus and Iberia if you have a household account, you can’t transfer the other way around.

For example, in addition to the excellent British Airways Visa Signature® Card (review), there’s also the Iberia Visa Signature® Card (review) and Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Card (review). You’re potentially eligible for the bonuses on all three of these cards, and if you don’t create a household account you could pool all of those Avios.

Redeem Avios for travel in Aer Lingus business class

Bottom line

It’s great that British Airways allows household accounts, whereby you can pool the Avios earned by several people, and even nominate friends and family that you can redeem for.

This is a great opportunity in situations where you wouldn’t otherwise have enough Avios for the redemption you want, but pooling Avios makes that possible.

That being said, there are a couple of downsides. When you create a household account you can’t redeem Avios for non-household or nominated members, and you also can’t transfer Avios from Aer Lingus and Iberia to British Airways.

Personally I think it’s worth being aware of household accounts, but I wouldn’t form one until you have a specific use in mind.

Have you formed a British Airways household account, and if so, what has your experience been like?

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Comments
  1. Suggest rechecking information published on not being able to transfer points between Iberia and Avios accounts once BA household account is establish. I’ve had a household account for years and have been able to transfer points between my other accounts, last time I did so was maybe 6 months ago.

  2. Like @AndrewM, I have had a household account for 20+ years, and have transferred points between my (non-household) Iberia Avios account and my BA Executive Club account. I think I’ve also transferred points between Executive Club and Avios.com, which is the Aer Lingus version of Avios. It not easy, but thats unreleted to the household account option — transferring Avios is just not easy until you figure out how to sync everything.

  3. I agree with both Nate and Andrew. I have had a BA Household Account since they were created some 20 years ago and I have transferred Avios to an Iberia account through the Call Center several times in the last 2 years or so.

  4. @Greg, @Nate nate, @Andrew M,

    Do you really see a benefit to the account through use. My wife travels for work more than me ( we use Vueling mostly) since I am now retired. But we struggle on a real benefit. Avios don’t seem to be as easy to use or have similar value to my years with UA and I find trying to redeem them not so easy to find award tickets or discounts. Maybe I am missing something not being familiar with the system.

  5. I’ve transferred too being in a household account. I hope they don’t take this feature away. Avios is one of the most fun programs given how many options there are that are generally customer friendly.

    Also note that there is a limit on how often your household changes. If you have a really large family, it might be worth setting up multiple households for point pooling.

  6. @Ben – re transferring to Iberia and Aer Lingus while having a household account, what you’ve stated isn’t correct, but there is a downside around that process.

    You can absolutely transfer from a BA household account to Iberia and Aer Lingus but only for the individual – so if Joe and Sue each have 20,000 Avios in their BA accounts, and they pool with their kids to have 75,000 in their household account, Joe can only transfer 20,000 Avios from his BA account to his Iberia account, and Sue can only transfer 20,000 Avios from her BA account to her Iberia account. The remaining 35,000 Avios cannot be transferred (unless the kids had their own Iberia accounts).

    The issue is transferring from the Iberia accounts back to the BA accounts. Say Sue had transferred her 20,000 to Iberia an wanted to transfer them to BA. Because she has a BA household account, it’s not possible. The way I work it is keep the miles in the BA account and only transfer to Iberia if I need to buy a specific flight. The transfers are instantaneous.

    In addition, I’d also recommend doing any transfers on the BA account, as it’s (a) a lot easier to find how to do it on the BA site – Iberia appears to almost want no-one to find out they can do this and (b) it’s a lot more reliable – Iberia transfers for me have failed a few times, but when I then switch and do the same thing on the BA site, it works.

  7. “Each program has some unique perks, and as long as each account is open for 90 days and you have at least some activity, you can transfer Avios between accounts at no cost. That’s a great feature. However, once you form a household account you can’t do that.”
    As others have said, this is incorrect. I transferred between BA to IB last month and we’ve had a household account at least 2 years.

  8. If only it didn’t cost nearly $1700 for an AVIOS first class award r/t from NYC to LON.

  9. Transferring info is incorrect – Avios can be transferred from Aer Lingus and Iberia by using Avios.com site. Requires tenacity to work it out and sync details across accounts, Avios can be transferred to and fro between the 3 airlines.

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