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Read Ian’s tier-point run diary …. 1,390 British Airways tier points for Brussels to Hawaii

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A couple of months ago I posted a link to Will’s online diary of his slightly crazy tier point run to reach British Airways Gold Guest List status in the quickest time possible.

It was a popular post, so I am pleased to also recommend this mini-blog from Head for Points reader Ian on his tier point run.  Because the posts are listed ‘latest first’ you need to start at the end and work forwards.

It shows how Ian earned 1,390 British Airways tier points – leaving him just short of Gold – and 36,574 Avios points from just one trip.


He booked a flight from Brussels to Hawaii, routed:

Heathrow – Brussels (separate ticket to the main trip)

Brussels – Heathrow

London City – New York JFK

New York JFK – Phoenix

Phoenix – Honolulu

… and back.

The clever thing here is that New York to Phoenix and Phoenix to Honolulu are both just over 2,000 miles.  This means that you earn long-haul tier points for the flight – 210 per leg if booked on a 2-class American Airlines flight under an AA flight code.

American Airlines domestic flights are often two class, sold as ‘Domestic First’ and standard.  If you book these flights with a BA flight code – most are BA codeshares and will sell you a BA-coded ticket – BA treats Domestic First as business class and gives you the appropriate miles for business. 

If you book these flights with an AA flight code – which usually means booking your entire trip on – BA treats Domestic First as First Class and gives you First Class miles and tier points.

The trip cost him £1,854 plus the positioning flight.

You obviously need to have a certain mentality to want to do this (!) but if you break up your trip effectively it can work well. 

I think there is actually a more extreme version of this routing possible, going Brussels to Helsinki to London, which adds an additional 80 tier points each way for the Helsinki sector.


How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (February 2023)

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:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 21st February 2023, the sign-up bonus on the British Airways Premium Plus American Express card is increased to 35,000 Avios from 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

35,000 Avios (ONLY to 21st February) and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and unbeatable travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

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 10,500 Avios.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers Read our full review

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.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

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.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

Comments (40)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • paul says:

    Can’t compete on the Tier point run stakes but the family holiday starts on Wednesday and we are off to Hawaii. route is LUX LHR DFW HNL KOA / LIH LAX LHR BRU. I get the 777-300 on AA for Transatlantic sectors but to complete the 4 sectors on BA I chose the BA code share on the way back. Its a 767 with slidey seats for the 8 hrs from DFW to HNL. The fare does not permit a stopover but I have bagged 23hrs 59 mins in Dallas and 22 hours in LAX. It means getting my silver card again through to April 2016 whilst being comfortable and enjoying the service on AA brilliant flights across the pond.

    • Halo says:

      I hope your holiday goes well – BBC News is reporting that Hawaii is due to be hit by a hurricane (typhoon?). 🙁

  • Clive says:

    We wanted to go back to Forida this year and economy was around £1K. We were lucky enough to pick up the following :

    DUB – LCY – JFK – MIA – MCO – JFK – LCY – DUB

    In J and F for £1050. Great result

    • Alan says:

      Definitely – great price and as you say particularly good to be only a tiny bit more than Y!

  • Ads says:

    Just wondering if on the return leg JFK-LCY-AMSif he got off at London city and didn’t carry on to AMS would he forfeit the tier points and miles for the entire trip or just the LCY-AMS leg? Just wondering if it’s necessary to fly to AMS and then take a repositioning flight back

    • Col A-B says:

      Yes you would forfiet it. If you don’t travel then you don’t get.

  • Rich says:

    How do you go about looking these once you’ve found the flights? Do you add the segments individually or try and search AMS-HNL?

    • Hugh says:

      I would suggest that you go over to flyertalk, have a look under Airlines and Mileage programs, then click on British Airways Exec Club. In there is a thread called BA Tier Point Runs – 2014 Master Thread.

      All the info is there – if you post a question, then the experts will be able to answer them for you – they’re really friendly. You may be able to get a BA employee to book the run for you, you give them the run details, and then you ring up BA to pay for it

  • johnjane says:

    What is the best way to view the Avios and TPs applicable.

    Can it be done without going through a simulated booking ?

  • Andy says:

    How many tier points do you need to get a Silver BA card? Any good runs to make this as cheap as possible?

    • Rob says:


      Cheapest way is to fly to the US in economy and then do a tier point run of the sort described in the Flyertalk BA tier point runs thread.

      Slightly easier is a business class flight to New York booked ex-EU and connecting to the City Airport flights (since City flights are treated as First for tier points). That would get you 40 + 210 + 210 + 40 = 500 which is most of the way. Start in Helsinki or Budapest and the short-hauls are 60 tier points so you are on 540 in total. An economy connecting flight to pick it up would get you part of the rest.

      Or, more boringly, book some Club Europe flights ex Jersey via Gatwick. These are cheap and you get 160 a pop, although you’d still need to do 4 iterations – JER – Gatwick – wherever – Gatwick – Jersey at 40 per leg.

  • Mac Clellend says:

    Just a quick query on this… Can we (in the UK) apply for a AAdvantage Platinum Challenge and do a 10,000 EQP on British Airways. As per the AAdvantage rules it is possible to earn EQP on British Airways flights and with a return flight LON-SIN in full-fare economy it would cover the miles.

    I understand there is a cost for the challenge (£140) but it would be a lot less expensive that a long flight run. Also, Platinum only gives you BA silver but with the 100% bonus miles, pick-your-seat and the business class lounge access that is what a lot of us need.

    Am I missing something here?

  • Douglas Read says:

    Hi All,

    Am really new to all this and have to say struggle a bit to understand how this is done, terms like nesting and how to work this out just confuse me!

    Does anyone know of a blog where this is explained in simple terms maybe with some illustration in crayon for those who are new to this.

    If not could someone explain to this idiot how for example the LON – JER – AMS Tier point run works and how I would book it.


    • Rob says:

      For better or worse, you won’t find things explained more clearly anywhere outside HFP! I do try to avoid acronyms.

      ‘Nesting’ is booking another ticket which sits inside an existing booking. If you book Gatwick to Jersey on Monday, returning on Wednesday, and then on Tuesday fly a separate ticket booked Jersey-Gatwick-Amsterdam-Gatwick-Jersey, the 2nd ticket is ‘nesting’ inside the dates of the first one.

      Very rarely, airlines get a bit snotty about this. You wouldn’t have any problems though.

      Jersey to Gatwick to Amsterdam to Gatwick to Jersey in Club Europe would be 160 tier points. This is 25% of the way to a Silver card.

      One other thing about Jersey is that you can do an immediate ‘back to back’ as long as you have only hand baggage and have printed your boarding pass at home. You can get off the plane from Gatwick and immediately get back on again to start your nested trip.

      Note that this is not necessarily the most effective (£ per point) way of earning BA tier points to get status quickly but it is convenient – very short flights and 40 tier points in Club Europe per leg.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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