BAA big spenders

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The Independent Online
TRENDS in retailing catch on fast. First Tesco, now BAA, the former British Airports Authority, which seems to find shops so much more interesting than aeroplanes. Tomorrow sees the launch of BAA's BonusPoints scheme for business travellers using Gatwick. Drawn from a customer database of some 20,000 individuals, the lucky souls will be encouraged to spend their way through everything from car parking charges to duty free goodies and bureaux de change.

The idea is that they present their "smart card" thingy when they hand over their loot, and in the process earn themselves "points", which may ultimately be redeemed for, yes, you've guessed it, car parking charges, duty free goodies, etc.

Interestingly, BAA's brochure on the scheme says that expenditure in "turf accountants" will not qualify for BonusPoints. Malcolm Palmer of Coral, which has a shop at Gatwick, concedes sadly that use of the card in his Gatwick branch would be regarded by the powers-that-be as an "inducement to bet", and as such would contravene the draconian Betting and Gaming Act 1963. This, by the by, comes in the week that bookies will be allowed to open up their shop windows: I wonder what they will put in them - stuffed horses?