Sorry Ian, sorry Will …. BA rolled out the red carpet for a copycat!

If you are a regular reader of Head for Points, you probably remember that I dedicated some space in May to Will, who had written a blog about his fairly crazy attempt to earn British Airways Gold Guest List status by flying 40 flights in under 40 days.  Will is pictured below.

In August, I ran a similar story about Ian.  Ian had managed to rack up an amazing 1,390 tier points from just one trip, and had written a blog to explain how he did it.

Neither of these guys received diddly-squat from British Airways in terms of special treatment – not that they expected it, and probably not that they wanted it.

Yesterday, this story appeared on Business Traveller and is presumably taken from a British Airways press release. Intriguingly, the guy works in the industry, has no previous blogging history and does not seem to be known to the Flyertalk community. He doesn’t even mention Flyertalk or Head for Points on his blog despite having the knowledge to book the most perfect routing possible for tier point maximisation.

Will photo

British Airways rolled out the red carpet at Heathrow this week for a customer who had travelled a staggering 18,479 miles in just five days on 12 flights, in an effort to bag himself a British Airways gold card.

Adam Rowland, a 30-year-old online marketing manager from Epping decided to take on the challenge and document his entire experience through an online blog (http://vegadventure.weebly.com/), in which he explained that as well as trying to achieve a British Airways gold card in less than a week, he also hoped to use the trip as a way of overcoming personal challenges, including a ‘white-knuckle fear of turbulence’ and ‘seeking pleasure in the company of strangers’.

Writing on his blog Adam said: “I’d convinced myself that I would never get to Gold the long way round and then I found a way that I could. I’d broken out of the boundary that I’d set myself and the challenge was afoot. It might not be the most conventional way of spending a long weekend, but then again I’ve never been that much of a fan of convention.”

James Hiller, British Airways’ Executive Club Manager said: “A member of our team at British Airways spotted Adam’s blog and we’d been watching him as he criss-crossed the Atlantic.

“It’s an incredible achievement and we are delighted to award him the Gold card he’s achieved with his flying, and we look forward to welcoming him as a Gold customer on his next journey with us.”

Adam was officially presented with his new Gold card at Terminal 5 yesterday afternoon in the First lounge at Terminal 5, which he will now be able to make full use of.

Adam’s itinerary included:

18,479 miles
12 flights
3 airlines
9 airports
2 hotels
45 hours in the air
3 countries
7 cities

The Brit started his journey at London City Airport, then flying on from city to city.   The itinerary included the following flights:

London City to Amsterdam
Amsterdam to Heathrow
Heathrow to Boston
Boston to Los Angeles
Los Angeles to Honolulu
Honolulu to Los Angeles
Los Angeles to Washington Dulles
Washington Dulles to Charlotte
Charlotte to New York
New York to London City
Heathrow to Amsterdam
Amsterdam to London City

Lucky Adam.  Sorry Ian, sorry Will.  Looks like you missed out there.

On the upside, it seems that British Airways has now given its stamp of approval to earning status by going on cheap American Airlines and US Airways tier point runs across the US!

PS.  The uber-bright amongst you will have already worked out that the itinerary above only generates 1,470 tier points.  He already had 30 tier points when he started off.  Adam did not actually earn enough tier points from his trip for Gold status.

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Comments

  1. I went to university with Adam and this wasn’t a press stunt and I’m certain that BA didn’t pay him to do it! I think he just got lucky that his story got spotted. A lot of us started reading his blog based on Facebook posts he made. This is my first ever comment on HFP and although I visit FlyerTalk, I only ‘lurk’ and never post – all the same, my other half and I have been considering a similar tier point mission trip. Just because you don’t appear online all the time doesn’t mean it’s a set-up!

    • Wills blog wasnt finished either, he was still technically in LA the last time I looked

  2. Well done for those who enjoy doing these runs for status.
    I was BA Gold for 23 years from 1988 until 2011 (business travel Tier Point earnings) and then downgraded to Silver as business travel ceased and this year am a simple Bronze.
    I recognise that most of the Gold/Silver benefits have gone (fast track security,lounge access, priority boarding -still works with Bronze,seat selection at booking-still works 7 days before flying with Bronze and 50% bonus Avios earning on paid flights -25% with Bronze).
    However I am relatively Avios rich (around 1 million) and earn around 200K every year thanks to Tesco / Top Cash Back / BA Premium Plus Amex / Lloyds Avios and Head For Points, of course.
    So my personal strategy is to use Avios RFP around Europe and book outbounds from London in business (of which twice a year is with Lloyds Amex/MasterCard Avios upgrade – 2 Lloyds accounts, myself and my wife) and returns in Economy.
    We use Priority Pass ( from Amex Platinum) to enter lounges for returns – I have noticed that more and more BA outstation lounges are 3rd party now (e.g. Copenhagen), so often end up in the same lounge as BA Silver / Gold holders any way. Of course this is not always true.
    For non-European destinations, I simply book business (or first, if no redemptions available in business) as I simply do not want to travel in World Traveller / Plus. Our holidays really start when we reach the BA London lounges!
    This gets me lounge access almost all of the time.
    90%+ is leisure travel with my wife these days and we have considerable flexibility as to when we want to travel and can match up to BA’s redemption seat availability – well in advance. Worst case we can always cancel Avios flights for a £35 fee (call it insurance).
    Just thought I would share an alternative perspective.
    Zark
    PS It would still be nice if BA introduced a lifetime Silver status for around 25,000 lifetime Tier Points……. (will of course never make lifetime Gold as it requires another 10,000 Tier Points).

  3. If there was a Priority Pass lounge in T5 who would bother? Perhaps that why there isn’t one :)

    • Andrew,
      Be careful what you wish for.
      I find the BA Business lounge in T5 pretty good and when in there last week, I had a very reasonable lunch and a good selection of drinks (including champagne when I asked for it).
      I believe (all be it ,based on limited experience) that all of the bad comments after BA changed the contractor, has resulted in improvements.
      Don’t know a Servisair (or whoever) lounge that does that, and sometimes they will not let you in when too busy – never had that experience with BA at T5.
      Zark

      • Don’t get me wrong, i find the lounge rather comfortable. My point was more that the traveler who has to influence his/her travel to retain status – would probably not (in my opinion) do so if there was a PP lounge in T5.

  4. Ha!! I read his blog last night and it absolutely freaked me out considering my name is Adam, I work as an Online Marketing (SEO) Manager and I live in Epping (Although Business Traveller incorrectly refer to it as Epping, Surrey when it is in fact Epping, Essex)!! Not to mention I am also embarking on a LGA-PHL-PHX-LGB-PHX-BOS-LGA tier point run with UA in November to reach gold status!

    Regardless of the earlier post from someone who went to University with him, this was almost certainly not by luck or chance. Considering the blog has zero organic search (Google) visibility and clearly very little traffic, given that most of the posts have only ever a couple of comments. There were also quite a few hastily written posts, riddled with typos. All of this adds up to the fact that he almost certainly initiated conversations with either BA or someone on their marketing team to hook this up!!

    Either way, good on him for getting the Gold reception from BA!

  5. Sorry, just realised that should have been US (regarding the tier point run).