British Airways Says They Can Now Close Your Mileage Account If You Criticize Them

In Thailand writing a bad review of a hotel can land you in jail. Defamation can be a criminal charge, and include opinions deemed to be unfair.

British Airways can’t get away with putting its critics in prison under U.K. law but they’ve updated their terms and conditions to say that they can close the mileage accounts of members who “statements..reflects unfavourably on the reputation of British Airways or any aspect of its business, brands, products or services.”

Their definition of “misconduct” now includes,

any conduct, including but not limited to making misleading statements, which causes, is intended to cause or is likely to cause a detrimental effect or reflects unfavourably on the reputation of British Airways or any aspect of its business, brands, products or services

Your statements do not need to be ‘misleading’ when you write them online or make them to others – the terms say that misconduct ‘includes but is not limited to‘ those that are misleading.

I could lose my entire mileage balance, it seems, when I write that British Airways first class is no longer even the world’s second best business class, behind Qatar Airways QSuites, since ANA’s new business product has come onto the scene. And writing about Avios being devalued…?

Airlines bury some extreme positions in their adhesion contracts. Delta says you’re liable to them if they steal your social media posts and they get sued. American Airlines says they have no duty of good faith or fair dealing towards you.

None though are so brazen as British Airways which snuck in a change to its terms earlier in the pandemic to preclude U.S. and Canada members from suing them, which is clearly illegal under U.S. law.

(HT: macdrew)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. This is what happens when you have a legal department working from home with nothing to do for 6 months.

  2. Don’t pretty much all frequent flyer programs sort of have clauses that they can change the terms at any time and that they can close the program at any time for any reason with no explanation necessary?

  3. Thailand is yet another reminder of just how important 1st Amendment FREE SPEECH protection is – & how we’d all be wise to NEVER, EVER allow that to become imperiled by demagogues (who admire, praise/gush over dictators in countries that lack what we so many take for granted here in the USA & seen you think will exist forever automatically even when under siege as it is now).

    As for British Airways, that’s just another (sad & tragic) reminder of how far that airline has fallen in its race to the bottom in recent years.

    What a shame – for both of the above situations – it is to suppress free speech to in order to conceal information about bad/crappy/undesirable products warning others that their hard earned money is better spent elsewhere.

    That alone should be reason enough to simply AVOID doing business with companies that resort to punishing consumers so they may be able to continue getting away selling low quality/sub par products by only allowing positive reviews to be posted by flyers or guests free from fear of being punished if they offer constructive criticism.

    Obviously, those who post unsubstantiated/unfair negative critiques with ulterior motives in mind should be held accountable/liable with some sort of consequences or “punishment” if their posts are provably baseless/without merit.


    Should be:

    “…how we’d all be wise to NEVER, EVER allow that to become imperiled by demagogues (who admire, praise/gush over dictators in countries that lack what so many now take for granted & seem to think will ‘automatically’ exist forever here in the USA even when under siege as it is now).“

  5. @profan the statement you make is about the program as a whole not about cancelling or changing the program for a specific member.

  6. Yes, a reminder of how far this company has fallen… In the old days, when BA was greatly admired as an ambassador for Britain and its values, it would not have felt the need to protect itself in this manner. It must be feeling very defensive now.

  7. So if I say that their obscene surcharges make flying their planes on award tickets a bad deal, they could cancel me? Do they think this sort of garbage is really appealing to new or existing customers?

  8. At least in Thailand when they protest they blow whistles and protestors don’t burn, loot, and murder in their cities. The Thai people also don’t topple historic statues, harass people just trying to eat or leave events and paint political slogans on streets supporting causes with activists who get arrested for fraud and money laundering (Tyree Conyers-Page). Having witnessed Thai protests, they are more civil than civil war like. Certainly the Thai people don’t have a liberal cancel culture which is so corrosive to freedom of speech.

  9. To AlohaDave…..

    lived in Thailand for a few months in 2005…it’s not as rosy as you make it out to be.

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