British Airways Executive Club Limits Japan Airlines Award Flight Availability

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  • British Airways Executive Club is experiencing Avios redemption issues on partner airlines, especially Japan Airlines.
  • These issues only affect BA, with other oneworld carriers reportedly being able to book using miles.

British Airways’ loyalty program, called the Executive Club, allows frequent flyers to gather Avios on all airline flights and oneworld partner flights. These miles keep accumulating on the passenger’s account and can be redeemed in various ways, such as upgrades or seat selection. The most popular use, however, is award redemption, when an itinerary is booked using the airline’s mile currency instead of cash.

Japan Airlines JAL 737-800 Tokyo Haneda

Photo: KITTIKUN YOKSAP | Shutterstock

According to Airline Loyalty specialist Loyalty Lobby, the British flag carrier has been experiencing issues with avios bookings on partner airlines. Initially, difficulties were reported when booking award flights on partner airline Cathay Pacific (CX) based in Hong Kong. However, more recent research suggests that the availability of flights operated by Japanese flag carrier Japan Airlines (JL) has been limited.

This is surprising, as airlines can typically make award bookings available for partner airlines, especially those in the same alliance. This is the case for both JL and CX. While frequent flyers of the respective airlines are typically given priority over other alliance flyers, it is unusual to see them restricted entirely.

The article cites examples of JL bookings from Hong Kong to Tokyo and on the popular domestic route of Tokyo Osaka. Redemption is available for AAdvantage members and Alaska Airlines, but not with the Executive Club. This only affects British Airways customers.


How Does The British Airways Executive Club Work?

What’s the difference between the Club’s offering of Avios and Tier Points?

BA has a strong community of frequent flyers, whom it seeks to make more loyal through punctuated exclusive flights bookable only through Avios; therefore, it seems surprising that redemption is limited, especially on popular premium-heavy partners in Asia. Simple Flying has reached out to BA for comments.

Changes are coming to Avios

Some avid readers will remember our recent article on IAG, in which British Airways, with Iberia and Vueling, rebranded the frequent flyer program, Avios. To keep up with the competition, like Flying Blue, the group updated the website to allow customers to create an account with the member airline of their choice.

British Airways and Iberia aircraft at Madrid Bajaras Airport MAD shutterstock_2241188177

Photo: Mikel Dabbah | Shutterstock

They can then gather the currency and book reward flights on member airlines that share it, like Qatar Airways or the more comprehensive oneworld network. While the process does not yet include a unified account like some competitors, it allows prospective users to find information on a unified website, creating a more streamlined experience.

Bottom line

Overall, frequent flyer programs allow their members flexibility when trying out new airlines. However, there can be limitations and technical difficulties from time to time. So travelers must bear that in mind when hunting for coveted redemption flights on the airline or alliance of their choice.

Have you experienced issues with booking redemption flights with your airline recently? How was it resolved? Also, what has been your most memorable flight booked with miles so far? Let us know in the comments below!

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