I am often asked whether British Airways Executive Club has soft landings. It does, and I will explain how the BA soft landings work.
“Soft” and “hard” landings describe the way in which you drop through tiers in loyalty programs if you do not hit the renewal requirements for a particular tier.
A soft landing is generally seen as preferential when it comes to frequent flyer programs, since it is more generous than a hard landing.
For example, with British Airways Executive Club, if you hold Gold status but fail to reach the 1,500 tier point threshold for renewal, you will be gently lowered through the elite tiers rather than being demoted immediately to Blue at the end of your membership year. This is referred to as a soft landing since you can enjoy one year of Silver status and then a year of Bronze status even if you do not earn a single tier points after reaching GOld.
A hard landing, conversely, is when you do not transition through lower elite tiers but crash straight to the bottom of the tier ladder when your membership year (and elite status) expires. This would be the equivalent of dropping from British Airways Executive Club Gold status to Blue status overnight.
Luckily, British Airways Executive Club operates soft landings, meaning that you are likely to enjoy at some benefits in the following membership year even if you don’t reach the requirements for renewal of your current tier.
There is only one exception. Certain elite Gold Guest List members of British Airways Executive Club can gift Gold and Silver status to friends. If you receive status in this way you will not receive a soft landing and will drop straight back to Blue.
(This article is part of our ‘BA Q&A’ series which explains how British Airways Executive Club works. You can see all of our ‘BA Q&A’ articles here. )
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