British Airways quietly devalues Gold Guest List partner cards

(EDIT: exact dates added for clarity)

Back in December I outlined the benefits that Gold Guest List members get from British Airways.  This is the exclusive club for anyone who earns over 3,000 tier points per year.  You can read more about Gold Guest List on ba.com here (log-in required).

One of the perks of Gold Guest List is that you are able to gift British Airways Gold status to a friend or colleague and British Airways Silver status to two friends.

Very quietly (ie they did not notified Gold Guest List members about this) BA devalued the gifted cards.  This decision was taken at the end of 2013 but not communicated and the impact is only now being seen.

From the start of 2015, anyone who received Gold or Silver status via a Gold Guest List member will NOT receive a ‘soft landing’ when their membership year expires.

Gold Guest List British Airways

The means that a ‘referred’ Gold member will drop straight back to Blue at the end of the year if they do not earn enough tier points to requalify automatically.  They will not drop to Silver for a year, then to Bronze, then to Blue.

Similarly, a ‘referred’ Silver member will drop directly to Blue without an intermediate year as a Bronze.

This change applies to all existing referred members and not just anyone who is referred from the start of 2015.  British Airways is apparently treating 13th December 2013 as the cut-off date and if you were referred after that date you will be downgraded all the way.

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Comments

  1. “then to Bronze, then to Gold.” …. then to blue even?

  2. This has always been my understanding – or at least since I qualified for GGL about 15 months ago.

  3. To be fair, soft landings are not even a published benefit for the normal programme. So if they were to remove that (which I hope they don’t!) I wouldn’t expect any formal announcement about it!

  4. “This is the exclusive club for anyone who earns over 3,000 tier points per year”
    Soon to be 5,000 tier points per year to gain membership for new GGL members.

  5. This has always been the case Rob.
    Also, the partner cards are available at 3000TP not 5000.

    • Corrected that bit.

      That is not always the case. This change has been specifically announced internally by BA and I have a friend who got a soft landing from Gold to Silver on a partner referral last Autumn.

      • Hmm, The partner cards I gave out last year didn’t get a soft landing, but on digging around FT that appeared to be “normal”.

        We’ll see what happens to the current ones (although they will probably expire after this rule change).

    • Nick Burch says:

      I thought that as of the 1st of Jan, you get the partner cards after 5000 TPs in your first year (to get GGL), then 3000 TPs in subsequent years (when you renew GGL)?

  6. My wife had Gold from my GGL which was soft landed to Silver last year. Just received a Bronze over the weekend for this year – so soft landings still seem to be happening.

  7. Doesn’t apply to me !

  8. Happy to suffer a hard landing back to blue in a year if anyone has a spare silver going (see, not even going for gold! 😉

    or Raffles, a GGL’s spare gold would make a fab competition prize …

    • There’s probably something in the T&Cs that would prevent that, such as you must know the person etc.

  9. Just trying to get my head round the soft landing thing. Say I made it to silver right at the end of my tier year will I go down to bronze two weeks later (the start of the new tier counting year) or stay silver for one year?

  10. I have altered the article slightly to reflect the exact dates which have now been sent to me.

    BA made this decision a year ago and December 13th 2013 was chosen as the cut-off date. If your referral was processed after that date then you will not get a soft landing. The reason that BA is now sharing this information more widely is that the first batch of ‘hard landings’ have just kicked in on January 8th.

  11. travelbear says:

    Do most people give their gold and silver cards away or just forget about them. I’m curious

  12. I had a hard landing from Gold to Blue on New Year’s Day after 12 months of Gold. Was a bit disappointing – and especially so, now I learn that if I had been referred a week earlier I’d still have some status for all of this year too!

  13. Frequent Flyer says:

    Devalues?!
    Thats rather harsh…

    From my understanding of the program the removal of the ‘soft landing’ really doesn’t change much for the two silver status holders assuming they didn’t fly enough to retain that status.

    The person that loses out if the person awarded the free gold status, soft landing would’ve allowed an extra year of free lounge access during the dropped-to silver year .
    It stands to logical reason if one doesn’t fly enough to qualify for a particular level it shouldn’t be granted in my opinion

Trackbacks

  1. […] British Airways has always given ‘soft landings’ when you don’t requalify for status. For instance, a Gold member who doesn’t fly at all would still get Silver the next year. But those who are gifted the status by a ‘Gold Guest List’ member will no longer receive…. […]