British Airways has reversed its decision not to accept credit card payments for discounted corporate net fares in the UK.
The airline has told British agents and corporate clients that from October 1 it will now accept card payments from all card companies for corporate net fares and absorb the merchant fee.
BA made its decision to stop accepting credit card payment for corporate net fares in 2002 and was promptly sued by American Express. In its turn, BA counter sued Amex.
The case was settled out of court in 2004 and last week the two companies announced a new card deal for the SME market.
In its letter to travel management companies and corporate clients, BA said it had reviewed its arrangement with card companies and its commercial policy on corporate net fares because of “concernsâ€¦raised by our valued corporate clients.”
A spokeswoman for the airline told BTE the decision had come after “listening carefully to our corporate and agency customers.”
They had told the airline that its current policy “made processing transactions complicated and time consuming.”
She added: “We are operating in a highly competitive market and we have listened to our customers.”
The move has been welcomed by travel management companies. Steve Savage, Carlson Wagonlit Travel's UK commercial director, said; “This is a very, very positive move by British Airways. It shows that they are actually listening to customers' comments and to the travel management companies.
“This initiative will prove to a lot of BA users a significant financial saving.”
Mike Platt, managing director of BTU UK, said: “I think it brings BA back inline with the model as it should be.”
He said that BA absorbed the merchant fee in other countries so it was illogical that it had refused to do so in the UK. “It is good that these anomalies are not there anymore. It will help processing payments.”
Diane McMahon, head of account management with FCm Travel Solutions said absorbing merchant fee would make a “significant difference” to clients booking BA corporate fares.
“Those clients will see a notable reduction in costs if they no longer pay the merchant fee,” she said.