Is A British Airways Household Account Worth It?

Is A British Airways Household Account Worth It?

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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.

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 infrequent 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 for award flights and upgrades.

British Airways’ household account feature

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
The British Airways household account form

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.

British Airways has a family and friends feature

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. But it’s at least something to be aware of.

Limits on transferring between Avios programs

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

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, Iberia, and Qatar Airways, 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 solid 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, Iberia, and Qatar Airways, 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?

Conversations (15)
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  1. Bill n DC Guest

    Well it didn’t work like I wanted on my ticket I fly on tonight. I needed to transfer BA to QR and use all mine and some of my family member. QR only took from my BA account and I had to make up the difference :-(
    YMMV

  2. iamhere Guest

    It's a shame they don't make it simpler. There is no need for a household account. Just have an annual maximum for people to transfer between family and friends. This is one benefit of Marriott. Perhaps a post on programs that allow you to transfer between family and friends and the limits would be useful.

  3. [email protected] Guest

    The problem is not in combining (or sharing) Avios, but rather finding award space on BA two begin with...

  4. Beachfan Guest

    To clarify, I have a household account, transferred Qatar avios to BA no problem, without going through a third site.

  5. Kevin Guest

    The transfer restriction doesn't matter. I have created and dismantled my family account multiple times depending on my needs at the time. It only takes a few minutes each time.

    1. Traveler Guest

      I have done this many times as well.

  6. Beachfan Guest

    I don’t understand the transfer restriction. I did two transfers from Qatar to BA: one in June and then this month when I got the Qatar bonus from transfering TYP points.

  7. Avios Inheritance Guest

    Perhaps my greatest benefit … when parents come to visit us, they earn Avios, many times traveling in business. They don’t care about Avios, so having their Avios in ‘our’ (my wife and I) household account means we effectively get discounts on all our redemptions. We do upgrade them occasionally, but most of the time they want the flight/days they want, at relatively short notice, and upgrades are mostly gone.

  8. brianna hoffner Member

    I feel like you haven't actually done this or used this in real life, though. So much about BA Avios (lol my autocorrect just corrected 'Avios' to 'Avoid') sounds really good in the brochure, but isn't workable when you try to actually use it. Given that their call center has been functionally unreachable for years (even before the pandemic), you're absolutely SOL if you encounter any sort of problem.

    For example, you can theoretically...

    I feel like you haven't actually done this or used this in real life, though. So much about BA Avios (lol my autocorrect just corrected 'Avios' to 'Avoid') sounds really good in the brochure, but isn't workable when you try to actually use it. Given that their call center has been functionally unreachable for years (even before the pandemic), you're absolutely SOL if you encounter any sort of problem.

    For example, you can theoretically use your miles to book a flight for your spouse that you yourself are not traveling on. But when you go to do that on the website, it actually won't let you. Then you try, as advised, to call in and you get disconnected after holding for an hour.

  9. TWCoups Guest

    Can you cancel the household account and let everyone have the miles they deposited? I used the account so we can all take advantage of booking with AA and use my platinum pro perks but we don’t need the family benefits anymore and I’d like to transfer my avios back from Qatar.

    1. James Guest

      The miles don't need to be redeposited because they were never 'moved' in the first place. All the household account really does is just link all the accounts that are included and when redemptions are made, they take out a prorated amount from each account.
      I just checked our household account (there's just the two of us in it), and there is an option to remove SO if I want to. The balances in each of our accounts would remain the same.

  10. Boise Ding Guest

    Hi Lucky, there is a work around of using intermediate transfers using avios.com to get around the household account transfer restrictions. I was able to use it today (Iberia to Avios to BA).

    1. DM Guest

      I can confirm this is possible. I have always done my transfers between Iberia/Aer Lingus/BA using avios.com (both before and after converting my account to household account) and they have always worked.

      On the Qatar side, I have done BA - Qatar transfers through my account (I am designated as Head of the Household) as well as those of my family members who are part of my household account and all the transfers (both directions) have worked flawlessly.

    2. Nate nate Guest

      I can confirm this as well. And using Avios.com as an intermediate step is pretty painless as their website is easy to use. Customer service may only be during UK business hours, but they were responsive when some Avios disappeared into the void and got them to reappear quickly.

      Iberia Avios support is a disaster however.

    3. seat1Cnew New Member

      And also they now seem to have fixed the problem that prevented this - see:

      https://www.headforpoints.com/2022/01/14/move-avios-between-british-airways-and-iberia/

      (And thanks to Rob at HeadforPoints for helping me understand how it worked)!

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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Kevin Guest

The transfer restriction doesn't matter. I have created and dismantled my family account multiple times depending on my needs at the time. It only takes a few minutes each time.

1
Traveler Guest

I have done this many times as well.

0
Bill n DC Guest

Well it didn’t work like I wanted on my ticket I fly on tonight. I needed to transfer BA to QR and use all mine and some of my family member. QR only took from my BA account and I had to make up the difference :-( YMMV

0
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