British Airways and American Airlines are allowing each others passengers to earn reward miles for travel on all routes except transatlantic non-stop flights.
This is the first major step towards increased co-operation between the two, since they announced plans to form a partnership last year. They have been prevented from forming closer ties while the deal is being investigated by regulatory bodies.
American Airlines travellers will now be able to earn miles on BA flights and vice versa. Only direct transatlantic flights are excluded because, says American Airlines, it is a direct competitor to BA on these routes. Previously reward scheme members could not earn miles on rival airlines.
The move provides scope for BA reward scheme members to earn miles within the US, where BA has no presence, while American Airlines’ members will now be able to earn miles on BA’s links in Europe, where American Airlines has no presence.
Meanwhile, BA is stretching its brand into the photographic sector and will offer cameras and films carrying the airline’s logo.
BA has tied up with Photoplus, an own-label photo service supplier, to offer the service. All BA passengers will receive processing envelopes with their tickets from April 7.
BA has been linked with a number of brand extensions but marketing director Martin George has stressed that it will only consider proposals which will add value to the brand and money to the bottom line.
George dismissed speculation that the airline was planning to launch a bank.