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BA airmiles program is a total con

(73 Posts)
eddielizzard Wed 26-Mar-14 08:02:28

i have been loyal for years. saved up loads of avios (ooer what a clever name).

i have NEVER been able to book a flight using them. they magically never have flights on the dates that i need or for the route that i need.

so this time i bought economy seats for the 5 of us, longhaul. cost an arm and a leg to visit my elderly ailing mum (sob story blub etc.) and thought i'd upgrade us.

oh no. apparently i can't upgrade because i have the wrong fare class. i just booked them through their website! i didn't choose a specific 'fare class'. one that didn't allow upgrades using avois.

it's such a con. and i will not be flying ba by choice ever again.

ilovesooty Wed 26-Mar-14 08:13:37

YANBU. The old Airlines site was great. Adios is rubbish. I have over 37000 Aboutand simply can't find a flight I want or need.

ilovesooty Wed 26-Mar-14 08:14:10

Air miles I mean.

ilovesooty Wed 26-Mar-14 08:14:58

And Avios. Bloody phone.

MomOfTwoGirls2 Wed 26-Mar-14 08:31:41

The trick is do the purchase and upgrade at same time, over the phone with Avios.

But I agree, it is almost impossible to use, at least on popular flights. We planned a fab trip last year, but bought the tickets waaaaay in advance and fit our trip around the dates we could get upgrades.

I was United Airlines Mileage Plus frequent flyer 10-15 years ago. That was really good, I got many many free flights from that program. And upgrading was easy to do.
I lived abroad at the time, so this meant a lot to me.
Of course, that was a long time ago now, things may have changed for the worse there too...

mrknowitall Wed 26-Mar-14 08:34:10

I'm on the fence with this one, on one hand I agree it seems difficult to book a flight because normally you have set days you would like to travel, you can however use them very wisely if you are in a position to be a bit more flexible, or know a long way in advance when and where you would like to go !

If anyone has loads of miles and doesnt want to use them I would be happy to buy them from you !

deXavia Wed 26-Mar-14 08:35:58

I agree website is your problem. I also call any airline when I want to use miles - a thousand times more likely to get something that works for you. but I hate BA and am very grateful to have moved abroad and rarely have to fly with them these days

eddielizzard Wed 26-Mar-14 08:52:37

my brother gets amazing long haul deals on air miles and he's in the us.

i'm just annoyed that i can't use them - i've got about 80 000!!!!

i will phone them. see if i can do something.

but next time i book i will definitely phone.arghghghg that means another ba flight. their food is so crap i buy supper in the airport.

TruffleOil Wed 26-Mar-14 08:54:41

Watching your thread with interest as I'm new to BA miles - but this doesn't sound totally outrageous to be honest. I'd be irritated if I had miles that I couldn't use to buy a ticket within a reasonable time frame, but upgrading long-haul is a whole different kettle of fish.

TruffleOil Wed 26-Mar-14 08:55:28

Eddielizard, does your brother have status on the airline? If so it's a lot easier to redeem miles.

eurochick Wed 26-Mar-14 08:55:40

I agree. I have been a member for years and have thousands upon thousands of points. I have never managed to use them even once. I've been trying really hard lately as I have 4 long haul flights in the next month and I'm pregnant. No luck. It's so frustrating.

nickymanchester Wed 26-Mar-14 09:06:19

I've never had a problem booking, but maybe that just means that I don't go on the most popular routes - don't know.

If you have a look here:-

You will see all the flights that are currently available.

I just checked a couple of random places and, for example, they have availability to Miami in July and a couple of flights available in August as well.

nickymanchester Wed 26-Mar-14 09:06:44

mrknowitall Wed 26-Mar-14 09:08:05

Does anyone want to sell me their mailes if they dont want to use them !?!

eddielizzard Wed 26-Mar-14 09:10:57

you see if i were just booking a holiday and it didn't really matter where to that would be one thing.

but i fly long haul to visit family in a popular tourist destination so i have to book a long time in advance and the ticket prices are ludicrous. hence my loyalty to ba in the hope that one day i'll be able to redeem the air miles. i've been saving up for over a DECADE! and the annoying thing is that the airmiles expire before i've had a chance to use them.

i pretty much only fly long haul to see my family. otherwise we stay in the uk. i don't want to use the airmiles for a holiday really.

truffle oil - don't know the details of my brother's scheme, but he does seem to get some good deals.

TruffleOil Wed 26-Mar-14 09:11:10

Mrknowit all I like your style

Nickymanchester, Miami in July makes me think the OP is on to something, because no one would want to go to Florida in July! I'm going to go and check out your link.

eddielizzard Wed 26-Mar-14 09:11:31

mrknowitall - if i can't use mine on this trip or the next, i'll sell them to you!

TruffleOil Wed 26-Mar-14 09:13:11

In July you can fly to Dubrovnik for 15K miles. That seems pretty good.

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 26-Mar-14 09:16:45


I think the problem with BA's airmiles scheme is that it has become a victim of its own success. I have used their scheme and it has become increasingly harder over the last 5 years to secure flights; many routes to the US for instance are not available in peak summer months to use points/miles at all. Also these things usually get sold out around a year to ten months in advance of departure date.

Its almost nigh on impossible to secure an upgrade at time of booking; for five of you as well this was not going to happen anyway. They tend now to only release 2 seats for such upgrades on each flight.

mrknowitall Wed 26-Mar-14 09:20:08

eddielizzard - sold !


AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 26-Mar-14 09:22:35

They do not make it easy to transfer such avios points either.

Do the rest of the family have avios points as well, 80,000 sounds like the amount that you alone have built up.

itshotinperth Wed 26-Mar-14 09:23:38

I too have the same problem - loads of airmiles. if you buy a discount ticket, which is usually quite expensive anyway - think houston to london, then you cant upgrade with points as not in correct fare code. If you choose a higher fare so you can upgrade, its prohibitively expensive, plus massive taxes for flying into UK. I dont live in UK, not in USA anymore and they have been a waste of time since we have been overseas from Oz for the last 5 years. If I have to fly BA or affiliates, I just put in my qantas number and get qf points instead. Just have to hope they dont go out of business! My poor mum cant afford an expensive flight plus upgrade charges and taxes, hers are a waste of time too. she doesn't want to go to florida in July, just upgrade so she can be a bit more comfortable on a flight. Total con.

itshotinperth Wed 26-Mar-14 09:24:28

Do you still have to pay to transfer miles? That is a total rip off too.

TruffleOil Wed 26-Mar-14 09:26:47

I just got a gold Amex, free - it is totally flexible for transferring points into a huge number of airlines. I would highly recommend it. What is the source of your BA miles - credit card or travel?

nickymanchester Wed 26-Mar-14 09:37:43

the annoying thing is that the airmiles expire before i've had a chance to use them.

I was faced with this situation at one point as well. So I transferred them from BA to Avios. Doing this means that they don't expire. You can then also use them for things other than flights.

But you do have to get a separate Avios account on their website first before you do this.

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