British Airways Executive Club members with Avios points can now use them to select their seats on all British Airways-operated flights, but it may not be the most effective way of using the points.
Previously, customers who did not have access to free seat selection could choose to pay to select their seats. Now, customers will also have the option to use their Avios points either to cut the cost of seat selection or to cover the cost in full.
Customers who do not wish to spend Avios but do want to select their seats, will still be able to pay the cash amount or can wait and select their seat for free when check-in opens 24 hours before departure.
British Airways already offers free seat selection for Gold and Silver members of the British Airways Executive Club from the time they book and offers free seat selection for Bronze members seven days before their flight departs. The move, claims British Airways, will be of the biggest benefit to Blue members who can now choose to use their Avios, instead of cash, to select their seat.
James Hillier from the British Airways Executive Club enthuses: “We already offer the ability to collect and spend Avios on a wide range of flights, holidays, trips and experiences but this exciting development gives members of the British Airways Executive Club another way they can choose to spend their Avios.”
But Rob Burgess, editor of frequent flyer and air miles website Headforpoints.com, cautions consumers to look before they leap.
He says: “While it is always good for flyers to have more ways of using their Avios, using your hard-earned points to pay BA’s seat reservation fees is a very poor deal. You are getting just 0.55p per Avios this way. I expect anyone redeeming Avios for flights to be able to get 1p to 1.5p per point of value which is far better.
“It is especially important not to redeem this way if you mainly collect Avios via credit card spending or converting Tesco Clubcard or Shell Drivers Club points. If you are not achieving at least 1p per Avios, then you would be better off getting a good cashback credit card and using your Tesco and Shell points in other ways."