British Airways has long been known as an air carrier that attaches heavy taxes and other fees onto award flights — particularly on premium cabin fares — but the market may be finally catching up to it. British Airways shared last Wednesday that it was trialing a new type of award-seat fare that comes with a nominal £1 (USD $1.25) in carrier-imposed taxes and fees, a stark contrast from the typical costs that Executive Club loyalty members are used to paying when booking award seats.
News of the sale at British Airways arrives only a month after Qantas, its Oneworld partner in Australia, retooled its loyalty program and cut many taxes and fees — though British apparently has been testing the new £1 award seats since May. Now its £1 campaign is spreading to new markets in Europe and the United Kingdom.
Reduced fees on at least a portion of British Airways inventory may be the light at the end of the tunnel for many Executive Club members who have long been unhappy with the carrier’s fee strategy on award seats. According to AwardWallet, British has “renown for adding high surcharges on transatlantic routes, with a round-trip to Europe in business often copping a hefty $1,200 or more in fees and charges.” It’s true that this current campaign from British won’t touch those $1,200 fees on transatlantic award seats. If this trial continues to go well, however, one can only hope that the campaign will expand.
— Grant Martin, Business of Loyalty Editor
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Grant Martin [firstname.lastname@example.org] curates the Skift Business of Loyalty newsletter. He is also a director of product marketing at TripActions. Skift emails the newsletter every Monday.