Picture: Zeenat Vallie. (Zeenat Vallie). (IOL).

CAPE TOWN – I spent a day as a British Airways Executive Club member.  From checking in on their BA Mobile App, scanning my boarding pass from my mobile phone to receiving priority boarding and utilising facilities in the SLOW Lounge. 

I will tell you whether I think the British Airways Executive Club membership is really worth all the fuss. 

British Airways offered Business Report the opportunity to experience the Executive Club membership for a day and so I jetted off to Johannesburg. 

British Airways offers a loyalty programme for their frequent flyers.  It is free to join online at www.ba.com.

Notably, there are different tiers within the BA Executive Club programme.  As new blue member you will have access to exclusive member only offers, save your meal and seat preference and collect Avios and Tier points for flights booked. 

My Membership


I was given a Silver membership which gave me full access to 24-hour free Valet parking, offered me 50% bonus Avios for my booked flight, priority check-in and boarding as well as additional baggage allowance. 

Ahead of my flight, I was able to check-in on the British Airways Mobile app.  Check-in opened 24 hours before my flight.  This was convenient as it saved me time, by being able to also print my boarding pass.  This was convenient as I could squeeze in an extra hour of napping by snoozing my alarm clock with peace of mind.  Who would refuse and extra hour of sleep anyway especially on a Friday morning?

Once I checked in on the BA Mobile App, I received my electronic boarding pass with a barcode that could be scanned.  This is an innovative and time saving tool.  However, I have to admit that I was anxious about the fact that my mobile phone’s battery was slowly depleting.  If it had died, I would have been stuck in the queue waiting to board and would have had to hurry to get a printed boarding pass.  Being a person who likes to have everything in order, I did in fact attempt to print a boarding pass after I had received my electronic pass, as a safety measure.   However, the self-service terminal did not co-operate and does not re-print the boarding passes when it has already been electronically retrieved. 

Picture: British Airways app. (Screengrab).



Picture: Boarding Pass. (Screengrab).


Priority Boarding

        Picture: Departing domestic flights. (Zeenat Vallie).

When I was cleared by customs I headed off to board my flight to Johannesburg.  Priority boarding is offered to all Club, Premier, Gold, Silver and Bronze Executive Club members.  As a Silver card member, I was one of the first seen to and allowed to proceed to the shuttle which I must admit was a pleasant change from the usual dreadful waiting period at the boarding gate. 

  

           Picture: Priority boarding. (Zeenat Vallie).


Manage my booking

       Picture: Manage your booking. (Screengrab).


On the BA Mobile App, I was also able to manage my booking.  The day before my flight, I logged into my app and viewed my seat.  I was then able to switch my seat to a window seat as well as specify my meal preference. 

Meal preference

As my departing flight was during the morning, breakfast was served on the flight.  All passengers are offered a meal with complimentary beverages.  For my return flight, I specified my meal preference on the BA Mobile App to vegetarian.  Some of the meal options ranged from vegan, vegetarian and diabetic.  This I found to be really instrumental at it caters for all passenger’s needs, no matter your preference or health condition.  On my return flight, I ordered a vegetarian meal which was specially prepared for me and I quite enjoyed it.

SLOW Lounge

        Picture: Slow Lounge. (Zeenat Vallie).

I have to say the SLOW Lounge really impressed me.  Upon arriving at OR Tambo Airport, I proceeded to the SLOW Lounge which was located on the third floor.  I was welcomed by friendly staff and to check-in all I needed to do was to present my boarding pass. 
The SLOW Lounge offers a general lounge area in front where members can relax, catch up on sports or news by reading one of the news pieces and magazines available. 

         Picture: Slow Lounge. (Zeenat Vallie).


The next section is the wide-course buffet which had a range of different foods.  Bear in mind that everything in the lounge is complementary to members eligible for lounge access so they can grab a bite at any time.

          Picture: Slow Lounge buffet. (Zeenat Vallie).



What I was pleased to discover were the stunning washrooms.  Members have full access to the washrooms where they can freshen up and also take a refreshing shower. The washrooms were clean and tidy and had all the amenities such as shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, body lotion and even a hairdryer. I must admit that the shower was everything I could dream of and more. With soft music playing in the background, the experience was wonderful. 

         Picture: Slow Lounge washroom. (Zeenat Vallie).


         Picture: Slow Lounge washroom. (Zeenat Vallie).


What I discovered based on my experience is that the BA Executive Club membership offers great services however it is mainly suited for Business Travellers. Access to the SLOW Lounges is exclusive to qualifying British Airways, operated by Comair customers, FNB Premium card holders, clients of RMB Private Bank and FNB Private Bank. I believe that it is true value to these customers. 
The benefits of being an Executive Club members is worth it especially for the frequent British Airways passengers. 

Amani Spa

         Picture: Amani Spa. (Zeenat Vallie).


Immediately after my shower, I proceeded to the Amani Spa for which I had booked a message. All members have access to one complimentary message. The masseuse, Violet informed me that I could choose between a neck, back and shoulder message or a leg and foot message.  Naturally, I opted for the neck, back and shoulder message.

This was exactly the relaxation I needed. The masseuse was friendly, professional and she had very good knowledge of her trade. She used a range of oils, creams and a hot towel during the message session. Although it was relaxing and I felt rejuvenated afterwards, I was slightly disappointed to discover that the message lasted for a duration of between 15-20 min.  This may be attributed to the fact that there is only one spa room, however it was still disappointing. 

How to become a member

In order to become a BA Executive Club member, you can log onto www.ba.com and enrol for free.  Once that is completed, individuals can order a membership pack through the “manage my account” link.  As a new blue member you can now start to earn Avios and Tier points based on the cabin and class booked. 

Collecting and Redeeming Avios

There are many ways to earn Avios, by booking flights through British Airways or oneworld® Airline partners, hotel stays and car rental.  You can collect faster with many local partners such as Pick n Pay or BP where you will earn 1 Avios for every R5, 00 spent.  You can also apply for a BA Co-brand credit card with Absa which will earn you 1 Avios for every R7.50 spent on your credit card.  These Avios can then be used to book reward flights or be used to upgrade your flights. 

Your tier points

In order to progress through the various tiers from Blue to Bronze, you need to fly at least 2 flights on BA and earn 300 tier points.  For Silver membership, you need to fly at least 4 BA flights and earn 600 tier points.  To earn your Gold status you are required to earn 1500 tier points.  Tier points are earned by flying on British Airways and oneworld® Airline partners.  

Picture: Tier benefits. (Screengrab).



* Zeenat is a consumer and business writer or Business Report and her articles are focused around consumer behaviour, start-ups, and entrepreneurs.

For Zeenat Vallie on Twitter.


READ ALSO: British Airways unofficially inaugurates President Cyril Ramaphosa on-board

ALSO READ: British Airways introduces new initiative to reduce the cost of seat selection

TOP STORY: Forex trader Ramerafe believes in superiority of his candlestick theory


WATCH




- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE