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BA credit card holders lose air mile benefit

By Staff Writer

By Angelique Ruzicka, editor, Justmoney

A partnership break between British Airways (BA) and Standard Bank has resulted in BA credit card holders losing the ability to accrue Avios (air miles) and other benefits.


As of Friday (31 January 2014) BA credit cardholders will no longer be able to benefit from accruing airmiles and will also no longer qualify for other benefits including slow lounge access, upgrade vouchers and companion vouchers as of 1 February 2014. About 50,000 cardholders have been affected by the announcement, which was made at the end of last year and again at the beginning of January.


Sugendhree Reddy, head of personal markets at Standard Bank South Africa, said the bank severed its relationship with BA after it launched the UCount programme and claimed that customers no longer saw value in the air mile deal.


“We conducted customer research before we launched our UCount loyalty programme and asked customers what they wanted from a rewards programme. They came back and said they wanted simplicity, flexibility, air miles and instant rewards. Since June last year, when we launched UCount, till now we have paid in excess of R140 million in rewards. We responded around our customers’ needs and gave them what they want. It [the rewards] didn’t conflict with the BA deal, customers just didn’t see value,” she said.


Left hanging
While the announcement informed BA credit card customers about the termination of the deal it failed to tell them what would replace the BA/Standard Bank card should they still want to earn air miles.


When Justmoney queried the reason for this lack of information, Reddy said that customers would be informed of the alternative options after the 31st January only. “Because of our contractual agreement with BA we are not allowed to market any other card to our customers until the 1 February. We have, in the meantime, told our customers that we will send them more information,” she explained.


Is the BA card still valid?
A statement issued by BA and Standard Bank said existing BA credit cardholders are still able to use their BA credit cards to accrue British Airways Executive Club currency, Avios points, until 31 January 2014. Thereafter, earning of Avios using the credit card will be terminated but the credit card will remain normal for spend.


What are the alternatives?
If you do nothing you will be automatically migrated to a Standard Bank credit card. You will keep your British Airways Executive Club membership and will not forfeit the points accrued in the British Airways Executive Club account as a result of this termination so long as their account remains active within a 36 month period. The process of earning points outside of the BA credit card will still be enabled through existing Avios earning partners.


However if you are keen on getting a card that specifically offers air miles then there you could get the Diner’s card through Standard Bank or apply separately for the Avios card, which is administered by rival bank Absa. Alternatively, you can compare more credit cards offering air miles on Justmoney’s website by clicking here.

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