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Follow Will as he tries to hit Gold Guest List via 40 flights in (less than) 40 days!

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Don’t try this at home kids.  Or even in a plane.

Head for Points reader Will, who credits me / blames me on the first page of his blog for getting him into this in the first place!, is currently doing something very fascinating / stupid (delete as applicable!).

He is trying to hit British Airways Gold Guest List status, from scratch, in one trip.  This means that he is taking 40 flights in very short order to hit 5,000 British Airways tier points!

In an attempt to keep himself sane, he is blogging about his trip.  It is called ‘The Loneliness of the Long Distance Tier Points Runner’.

British Airways BA

This is the first part of his flight itinerary (apologies for the airport codes).  I think there is a second similar run to follow after this!

1. LHR-BRU (London to Brussels)
2. BRU-HEL (Brussels to Helsinki)
3. HEL-LHR (Helsinki to Heathrow)
4. LCY-JFK (London City to New York)
5. JFK-LAX (New York to LA)
6. LAX-HNL (LA to Honolulu)
7. HNL-LAX (Honolulu to LA)
8. LAX-MCO (LA to Orlando)
9. MCO-MIA (Orlando to Miami)
10. MIA-STT (Miami to St Thomas US Virgin Islands)
11. STT-MIA (St Thomas US Virgin Islands to Miami)
12. MIA-LAX (Miami to LA)
13. LAX-HNL (LA to Honolulu)
14. HNL-LAX (Honolulu to Los Angeles)
15. LAX-JFK (Los Angeles to New York)
16. JFK-LCY (New York to London City)
17. LHR-HEL (Heathrow to Helsinki)
18. HEL-BRU (Helsinki to Brussels)
19. BRU-LHR  (Brussels to Heathrow)

At the time of writing (Sunday) he has posted about flights 1 to 15, which have taken him 15 days.  7 days of this was actually non-flying holiday, amazingly.

Will photo

I have no idea what all these flights have cost – all are in Business or First Class.  It will be substantially less than you think because of the way he has squeezed multiple segments into what are actually ticketed as single trips.  I am guessing he has only actually booked two tickets – Heathrow to Honolulu return and, nested within it, Honolu to St Thomas US Virgin Islands.

Hopefully when he gets back I can persuade Will to tell us what he has learned from this!

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Comments (55)

  • Simon says:

    Crazy trip!

    Whilst flying around the world first class sounds great, staying in airport hotels and hardly spending any time in a lot of the places doesn’t really appeal to me.

    Personally I’d rather spend a week in Miami and another week in Honolulu and forget about making the Gold Guest List! I guess that wouldn’t make for a very interesting blog though!

  • chris says:

    How many segments are you allowed on a trip?

  • Philip Hart says:

    Fantastic. But am immensely jealous 🙁

  • Nathan says:

    So will this get him lifetime gold? thats life time gold with BA and lifetime Hilton Diamond? not bad for £5k if you travel a lot?

    • Rob says:

      No, not lifetime. Gold Guest List is different. You get a Concorde Room lounge pass, can have award seats on almost any flight at standard rates (no 241 tho) and can gift a Gold card to a friend. Hilton Diamond too. You only need 3k tier points to renew.

      • Jonathan says:

        Of course, at the 3k renewal level you don’t get the Concorde Room card renewed.

    • Jonathan says:

      Starting from a zero lifetime balance, you would have to do this for 7 years to achieve Lifetime Gold. If the first year was 5,000 points and then each subsequent year was GGL renewed at the 3,000 points level it would take 11 years to achieve Lifetime Gold.

  • SouthernEM says:

    Okay, sounds fun and a great hobby. But I still don’t get the advantages. Do they really out weigh the effort, stress and time? Maybe some genius can put it in a table for me?

    • Rob says:

      Gold Guest List is not worth this expense purely for the benefits. If Will has simply taken an unbelievably complex routing for the same cost as he would have paid anyway for a business class ticket to the US, then it is a personal calculation of time vs reward.

      I have friends who secure GGL renewal with similar runs around the US. They have encouraged me to join them but the time vs reward calc doesn’t work for me. If I was single then it might be different.

  • bk3day says:

    Reminds me of one of the first threads I studied on Flyertalk, where wanaflyforless detailed his plans to earn AA Executive a Platinum status in 19 days. It”s still Immensely informative on the ins and outs of mileage running even today with new rules and higher fares.

    I wish Will safe travels and look forward to his adventure and hope he eventually covers the planning of his quest.

  • CV says:

    With my CX Gold (courtesy of Amex) expiring at the end of this year I would be interested in at least knowing what the cheapest mileage run to obtain BA Silver status would be, you never know, you could tie it in with existing travel plans.

    • fbrj says:

      My CX Gold runs out too….in October and I have made really good use of it. Those CX lounges in Hong Kong are fantastic and Heathrow CX T3 is not to be sniffed at either….

      For me, tying in with existing travel plans – with a little tweaking here and there, as necessary, to achieve target TPs is all that is needed. All my travel is leisure these days and both my wife and I have just achieved BAEC Silver and that is all we really need in the way of benefits – seat selection, priority boarding, lounge access, extra luggage allowance etc. How? – well…. we went to visit one daughter in SFO and another in MEL, plus a visit to HKG (for the rugby 7s) and that was it. Most of the travel was in WT+ or equivalent. Cost was about £3500/head. The point being we would have done those journeys anyway. Buzzing around Europe on SH, with lounge access each end and RFS in ET is fine by us!

      Having said that – I’ve now got my sights on some CW flights -appetite whetted by spending too much time reading FT and HfP!! A few months ago I had never even heard of those sites or Matrix or Awardnexus etc etc. Also since reading HfS I have come across several other benefits – redspotted hanky, Heathrow rewards, Tesco 1000 pt deals etc etc – so Raffles thanks for the heads up on those too. Oh and best of all we are just about to set off for a few days at the Conrad in Portugal – on a spectacular deal highlighted here!

    • thesaver79 says:

      Have a look at the BA Tier Point runs thread on Flyertalk. Plenty of ideas there.

      I am personally doing one in July. PRG – LHR – LCY – JFK – ORD – DCA – JFK – LCY – LHR – PRG. It will take me to Silver, but it’ll be a holiday with 4 nights in Chicago, 4 in DC and 2 in Prague. It’ll also give me to opportunity to try the LCY – JFK service and AA domestic first class. This was less than £1,400 excluding the positioning flights. You can get a better TP/£ ratio if you want.

      Raffles, what do you think of the reward vs benefits balance of this run? 🙂

    • Rob says:

      Check with Cathay, I thought all the Amex PL Marco Polo Gold cards were extended to Feb 2015?

      • Alan says:

        From what I’ve read on FT it seems to be a bit more hit and miss than that – not sure why though!

        • andy21 says:

          Wait and see what happens when your current card expires. Mine expired and then a week later was reinstated. So I now have it until end of April 15. Maybe they are living in hope that I will one day credit a flight to the account or indeed fly with CX!

          • Alan says:

            It’s actually for my folks – mine renewed (even thought not due to expire for months), but I don’t actually need it due to BA status – whereas they need it and it hasn’t renewed!! 😉

    • scottnothing says:

      I am similar to fbrj. I don’t travel for work but for the past two years I have hit Silver without any special TP planning by doing the following:

      – Checking the FT forums for the going TP/£ rates (e.g. I just flew LHR to Malta for £269, which netted 160 TPs)
      – Booking as much of my (personal) travel 4-6 months in advance
      – Upgrading to Club Europe whenever the £79 upgrade is offered
      – Paying to upgrade to World Traveller Plus or Club World at check-in when available and not cost prohibitive (long-haul only); OR Taking advantage of one BA Club World long-haul sale (e.g. LHR-NYC return in 2012 for £1200; LHR-RIO return in 2013 for £1000)

      I like the idea of a TP run (like the one thesaver79 describes above) but can’t justify spending more annual leave in the air than is necessary to get from point A to point B.

      I also find the booking/routing advice on FT to be complicated for a novice. I will be interested to read Will’s trip report which will hopefully de-mystify that for me.

  • Will says:

    Guys thanks for the positive comments ok here, gives me the motivation to keep going with enthusiasm on the trip. In response to the questions about cost, benefits and wether its a worthwhile task I’ll be running a halfway “lessons and tips” post in the next few days. I’m currently back in the UK taking an enforced break (the sale fares were only bookable for certain dates) and will be completing this in 2 weeks. I’ll be check this post as I write the mid way analysis so any questions posted here should get an answer, as well as some links and credit to some flyertalk threads and members for helping me out with booking/routing.

    • Rob says:

      Thanks Will. I would be happy to re-run that post on HFP if you were OK with it.