This week I booked tickets on British Airways for my folks back in the UK to join us in Switzerland using Avios, but to achieve this goal I had to jump through a few hoops on the way. Let’s quickly take a look at British Airways Household Accounts in this post to see if setting one up makes sense for you.
I like the concept of a HH Account because it means that you can share Avios balances, due to the 100,000 signup bonuses we have about 300,000 Avios, 180K in my account and 120K in her account, By combining these into one future bookings would be prorated, and if we needed to dip into one another’s balances it would work automatically, for example if we wanted to book a ticket that cost 150,000 Avios for the wife it would pull 90K from my balance and 60K from her balance.
Pretty useful in certain circumstances, but the downside is that it locks you into only booking tickets for members of that household. British Airways deems the household members must share a physical address.
The alternative, when you are an individual account is that you can book a ticket and enter any name on it, so booking for your family does not require changing their account details.
I discussed some ideas with Raffles, who runs the British Blog Headforpoints.com (check out his blog for great insights, especially around Avios and other British Loyalty programs) and he suggested that I could add other people in my family to my household, but there might be some issues if they have credit cards in the UK linked to their address, so in the end I opted to bust open my Household account and run them as two individual accounts.
Breaking the accounts was actually very easy, it used to be the case that you needed to print out and mail in a form to dissolve the arrangement, but now all you need to do is remove the family member from the household, and it dissolves instantly.
I was able to book two tickets for the family in the UK within seconds of dissolving the family account.
The savings were huge, not only did I get to use up some of my stash of Avios, which is always a good thing to do, since holding too many points is asking for trouble, but we got great value too.
The cheapest price on Kayak for LHR-BSL was for the same flight I purchased, $231 per person round trip. My price 9000 Avios and $55.
I actually think a Household Account is a bad thing, because it really comes into play when booking long distance (AKA high Avios required) flights, where an individual has a decent balance but not quite enough, however I really like Avios for super short hops, like this one from London to Switzerland where the value is huge.
Since these types of short hops cost few Avios to book I find one solid balance, like my 180,000 can sit as banker for the family and book these little awards with ease, and without the added complications of putting people into my household.
What do you think, is it better to link up and pro-rate your combined balances, or have the ability to purchase for people outside of the household?