BA deal unlocks finance bonanza

British Airways deal with American Airlines will provide a timely boost for its financial services scheme

British Airways’ link-up with American Airlines will provide access to millions of business class customers for its new financial services division, due to launch next year.

BA has set up a special division to look at ways it can exploit the boom in consumer financial services. It is thought the BA board will consider the plans in the autumn.

The airline is understood to be talking to a number of banks and investment houses about offering services on its behalf, such as unit trusts, life insurance products and a credit card. BA has already launched a Pep product and has a Diners Card.

It is understood BA will have access to American’s database for its frequent flyers club, called AAdvantage. The deal announced yesterday provides a tie-up of BA’s Air Miles scheme with American’s programme, enabling members to earn and redeem rewards on both airlines’ services.

BA rival Virgin Atlantic has already protested about the deal, saying it will reduce competition and lead to higher fares. Any boost to the financial services side will also anger Virgin, which started its own unit-trust operation, Virgin Direct, in March 1995 and is now sitting on funds of about 300m.

The two airlines unveiled a marketing and revenue sharing alliance which is due to come into force in April next year.

The link-up allows for code-sharing, enabling passengers to fly on both airlines across the two carriers’ networks with a single ticket and check-in.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here