IAG, the parent group of British Airways and Spanish carrier Iberia
The British Airways owner renews a deal with American Express for an air miles programme. Image Credit: AFP

London: British Airways owner IAG SA renewed an air-miles deal with credit-card giant American Express Co., swelling the group's coffers as the coronavirus crisis weighs on travel demand.

The 750 million pound ($955 million) multi-year contract with IAG Loyalty includes the pre-purchase of Avios points that American Express will utilize for its British Airways co-branded cards and rewards programme, IAG said in a statement Friday.

While carriers are beginning to restore flights as lockdowns ease, IAG derives the bulk of earnings from lucrative long-haul markets that may take years to recover from the impact of the pandemic. The group is tapping furlough programmes, cutting thousands of workers, retiring older planes and arranging state-guaranteed lending to save money and boost cash.

The Amex accord comes after British Airways, the group's largest carrier, said Wednesday it had agreed a deal with its pilot union to reduce pay while eliminating fewer posts than originally planned.