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Passengers to pay for free flights

September 2nd 2011 08:59
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Airmiles customers will have to pay hundreds of pounds of taxes and fees for previously free flights. The planned changes mean significant increases in the number of points required to reach some of the most popular locations.

The Airmiles scheme has 2.2 million active members who collect points by spending money with “partnering companies”, including the Tesco Clubcard scheme and Shell service stations. It will be rebranded Avios.

Airmiles said that regular collectors - those who have collected at least one point within the past 12 months - will be charged a flat rate of £27 for flights within Europe. European destinations account for 87 per cent of Airmiles flights. Consumer groups said that a family of four who used Airmiles to book return flights to New York will now be billed an extra £1,200.

The charges will be imposed on all flights booked via the internet from November 16 and via telephone from December 16. Airmiles said that it was revamping because of higher costs.

Andrew Swaffield, managing director of the Mileage Company which runs the scheme, said: We understand that some customers will be disappointed. But we are confident that our customers will do the maths and see that ours is still the leading travel reward scheme.

The British Airways Executive Club and Iberia Plus are also making changes.

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