Yesterday afternoon, I received the following email from BA. Yes, I know I should be calling them British Airways, but SEO says otherwise…
Every day NHS workers are going above and beyond to keep us safe.British Airways Executive Club
We’re very proud that many of our colleagues are volunteering in their local communities and health services as part of our company-wide taskforce and today we’re delighted to introduce the Avios Thank You Appeal, a new initiative from our friends at Avios.
The aim of the Avios Thank You Appeal is to reward NHS workers for the amazing work they’re doing around the country, by giving them Avios to enjoy, when they can finally take a break.
As an Executive Club Member, you can support by donating your Avios today and the more Avios that are donated, the more NHS workers we can thank.
By gifting Avios, an NHS worker can choose a reward that best suits their needs after this difficult period. This could be a flight for that well-deserved getaway, a trip to the theatre with their loved ones, or a weekend away in a relaxing hotel.
What’s more, Avios is offering over 200 million Avios to kick start the appeal. This is enough to reward at least 3,500 NHS workers with 60,000 Avios each and with your help, we can reach many more.
Together, let’s thank our NHS.
What A Thoughtful Idea! Not So Much…
On the outside, this looks like a very thoughful idea from BA (yes, I know, British Airways, but SEO…). And don’t get me wrong, it is.
Over the past week, both American Airlines and Qatar Airways have announced similar initiatives. And they have been far more generous. Their initiatives have been based on a no questions asked approach.
The American Airlines offer is detailed above. Qatar Airways offered 100,000 free tickets to healthcare workers across the world. According to their website, thousands of healthcare professionals from 215 countries have taken advantage of the offer.
Despite there only being 195 countries in the world… But that isn’t the point of this piece.
Where British Airways has fallen over here is that they are appearing to be an all caring, all sharing super generous airline. When in reality, it’s their long suffering customers that are making all the contributions. All that BA have done is advertise the initiative. It’s actually a scheme set up by Avios according to the donation page.
I don’t doubt that many people will contribute to the scheme. Not everyone is all that clued up on the value of their Avios. A prime example being a conversation I had on a flight to Glasgow many years ago. During a conversation with my seat mate (I can’t remember how we got on to the subject) they mentioned that they fly a lot for work. And that they had a whole load of “BA miles” that they had collected over the years, but didn’t know what they could be used for. I asked how many, and was pretty shocked to hear that they had over 500,000! Yet in their mind, they were worthless.
And thats the kind of person BA are targeting. Corportate flyers who dont really know what their Avios are worth. No doubt there are more than a few out there, who will be donating all their half a million Avios to the scheme.
But Wait, There’s More!
A further issue with giving away Avios as opposed to flights or holidays like the others, is that they will come with the usual caveats.
Each selected worker will receive 60,000 Avios. Whilst this seems generous, its not as lucrative as it appears from the outside. After a hard year at work, fancy a Club World trip to New York for a few nights? Then you’re out of luck. You’re looking at 50,000 Avios each way. Plus taxes. Per person.
How about dropping down to premium economy then? Yes, that will work, but you won’t get much change. Plus you’ll still be paying for your partner. And don’t forget the taxes, which can stretch into the hundreds for a long haul flight. Suddenly, the offer doesn’t seem all that great.
Then there’s also the case of availability. Although I suspect that won’t be too much of an issue for the time being, there are only a certain amount of reward seats available per flight.
Maybe I’m being a little unfair. The plus side of being gifted Avios is that they can be used for more than just flights. And this is advertised by BA. Also, buried in the small print is the fact that Avios themselves have donated 210millon Avios to the scheme. But it’s important to remember that Avios and BA aren’t the same company. As Willie Walsh was so keen to point out last week, each company under the IAG banner is a seperate company. Therefore, Avios must be viewed as such in my opinion.
The recipients of the Avios I’m sure wont be too fussed either way, as they will be getting something for nothing. But crucially, so are BA.
I can’t help but feel that this is a desperate attempt by BA to generate some positive PR for themselves, following the disasterous grilling of IAG head Willie Walsh last week. And if they can get their customers to pay for it, all the better.
And on an unrelated note, theres still no word on any sort of status extension from the airline…
To donate the the scheme, see here: