One of the key benefits of achieving Gold status with British Airways Executive Club is that you don’t need to achieve status the following year.
British Airways has a ‘soft landing’ process for elite members. If you don’t requalify for Gold, you drop down to Silver the next year – you are not suddenly cast into the wilderness!
Since Silver members still receive lounge access, albeit in the Galleries Terraces lounge at Heathrow and not Galleries First, it is a good deal.
(In fact, the ‘soft landing’ is one of the best reasons to push for Gold status if you are getting close to it. You may find it cheaper to do some extra BA flying every second year to reach Gold – knowing you don’t need to take a single cash flight next year to get Silver status – than chasing Silver requalification every year.)
American Airlines has a similar system, albeit unofficial and not always offered. However, elite members recently received this email from the airline:
Can you believe we’re almost halfway through 2013? Hopefully you’re on track to achieve your goal of elite status qualification for 2014. To check how many elite qualifying points, miles and segments you’ve earned thus far, simply log in to your account.
Previously, based on your prior year status, you benefited from an exception to receive a higher level of elite status than you actually earned. Next year, regardless of your current status, your elite status for the next membership year will be based on your elite qualifying activity in 2013.
We invite you to achieve the highest level you can to earn the greatest benefits. You can also find details about qualifying for elite status here.
Basically – although of course American is too cowardly to state it outright – the airline has abandoned ‘soft landings’. If you do not requalify for Platinum or Gold status, you will drop straight down to nothing.
This is fundamentally unfair, I think. It is especially unfair in the current environment, where you may spend a few months out of work and suddenly find you have to start from scratch to get your status back. It is also unfair on women who take maternity leave, since they will return to work status-free.
Hopefully this is not a plan that British Airways will follow. It would reduce the number of people in the BA lounges, but it would also be sending out the wrong message about how BA values your loyalty.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (September 2022)
As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!
In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.
You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:
There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.
EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.
Run your own business?
We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,000 Avios.
You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.
There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.