How should you time your promotion to British Airways Silver status to maximise your benefits?

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Having status is good, but maximising the amount of time you will have that status is even better.

This article is based on a HFP comment last week.  At first I thought it was a statement of the obvious, but the more I thought about it, the more I thought that it might have some value for many readers.

What we are looking at here is how to time your flights to ensure that you retain your Executive Club status for the longest possible period.

Let’s remind ourselves of a few key rules regarding your British Airways Executive Club membership year:

All tier point years end on the 8th of the relevant month

You cannot – under any circumstances – change your British Airways Executive Club year end date (this is a major pain for couples, who can take identical flights only to find that only one of them earns status due to the way flights fall across membership years)

When you earn British Airways Executive Club status, you retain it for:

the remainder of your current membership year, and

all of the following membership year, and

until the end of the month following your tier point anniversary (so if your tier point year ends on 8th March, your existing status will continue until 30th April)

British Airways Executive Club has a GUARANTEED ‘soft landing’ – however few flights you take, you will only drop one level if you fail to retain your current status

We will look at this in a worked example below.

Can I get into a British Airways lounge with a Silver card?

How can you maximise your BA Executive Club status?

Let’s imagine that your British Airways Executive Club tier point year ends on 8th MayYou can’t change that so you need to live with it

If your goal is lounge access and free BA seat selection for as long as possible, your goal should be to hit Executive Club Silver status as soon as possible after 8th May.  This requires:

600 British Airways Executive Club tier points, and

four British Airways or Iberia one-way cash flights

The cheapest and most pleasant way, for most people, to earn 560 Executive Club tier points of the 600 you need would be a Qatar Airways business class flight to Asia.  As well as being cheap, this route has the advantage of getting you a holiday as well!

Any flight on a British Airways partner airline earns 140 tier points if it is over 2,000 miles.  Europe to Doha is usually over 2,000 miles in Business Class, as is Doha to Asia.  A return flight is therefore (140 x 4) 560 tier points.

(There are cheaper options for getting 600 tier point.  Four weekend breaks in Club Europe on routes which earn 160 tier points like Helsinki or Malta would do it.  This is arguably less fun and certainly less comfortable than a Qatar Airways holiday!)

Here is a good example, from Stockholm to Bangkok in Qatar Airways Business Class in mid May 2020 (in our example, our flyer has a BA year-end of 8th May):

Qatar fare example

The cost is SEK 16,125 which is £1,281, plus whatever it costs you to get to and from Stockholm.  I assume that you book a British Airways cash flight to do this.

On your return from your Bangkok holiday on 21st May, you would have:

560 British Airways Executive Club tier points from Qatar Airways

10 British Airways Executive Club tier points from your return economy BA flight to Stockholm and back

2 BA ‘qualifying flights’

You are NEARLY at Silver status, but not quite.  You still need:

another 30 tier points, and

another 2 British Airways ‘qualifying flights’

If you are not planning any long haul travel, the easiest way to get this is via a short haul flight.  Book one-way in Economy / Euro Traveller and one-way in Club Europe / Business.  This would get you another 45 tier points (5+40) and the extra two qualifying flights you need.

The cheapest option is probably a Gatwick flight (because Gatwick flights are cheaper than Heathrow flights) which could be as simple as flying to Amsterdam and back.

Let’s imagine that you achieve all of this by 30th May 2020.  Remember that your tier point year started on 9th May 2020.

When is the best time to earn British Airways status?

How long will my British Airways Silver status last?

You’ve done very well.  You will be Silver from:

late May 2020 until 8th May 2021 (your current membership year)

9th May 2021 until 8th May 2022 (your following membership year)

9th May 2022 until 30th June 2022 (your run-off period as Silver)

You then get your guaranteed soft landing to Bronze.  You will be Bronze from:

1 July 2022 to 8th May 2023 (your membership year)

9th May 2023 to 30th June 2023 (your run-off period as Bronze)

Only on 1st July 2023 will you drop back to Blue.

This means, if you time it right:

You have British Airways Executive Club Silver status for 25 months, from late May 2020 to 30th June 2022 (lounge access, free seat selection, priority security, priority check-in, priority boarding etc)

You have British Airways Executive Club Bronze status for a further 12 months from 1st July 2022 to 30th June 2023 (main benefit is free selection from 7 days before departure)

Your total cost to ‘earn’ this is probably around £1,600.  This is made up of the £1,281 Business Class return flight from Stockholm to Bangkok, an Economy return flight from London to Stockholm and a ‘one way Economy, one way Business’ return flight from, say, Gatwick to Amsterdam.

And, of course, you have had a Business Class holiday in Thailand and a long weekend in Amsterdam out of it too.

£1,600, spent once every three years, will keep you permanently in Silver or Bronze British Airways Executive Club status.  If you must have lounge access at all times, you are looking at £1,600 of expenditure – assuming flight prices remain unchanged – every two years.

This routine won’t suit everyone, of course.  However, if you enjoy Business Class holidays and enjoy British Airways lounge access and the other perks whenever else you travel, this is a good model to follow.  The key is timing it to trigger your Silver card as quickly as possible after the start of your membership year.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)

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  1. How long does it usually take for your status to change, after taking the last qualifying flight?

    I’m taking my little sis for a weekend away in Marseille on a cheap Euro traveller fare, and was planning to lounge hop around T3, but this is only 3 weeks after my 4th BA flight.

    • Doug M says:

      If you’re earning on BA often the next day.

      • Any idea how long before the Qatar flights credit?

        Thanks Doug and Lady London!

        • Lady London says:

          QR was the one I had to chase. Someone said they credit weekly on a Wednesday. That’s who I was thinking of when I said give it a week then call BA, if a deadline is impt to you.

        • marcw says:

          Avios and TP usually post the following week on a wednesday.

        • Ollie says:

          The following Wednesday after your flight usually.

    • Lady London says:

      Should be a week or well less. Phone them if it’s any more they can see what you’ve flown and can usually sort it there and then.

    • ChrisC says:

      It usually takes BA flights 2 days to hot your account. Then if that involves a status change a couple more days after that for the status change to process.

      QR take longer as they only pass the information on to BA once a week on a Wednesday and it can then take BA a couple of days to process that data (IIRC it’s sent as a spreadsheeet and not automatic).

      There isn’t reall anything you can do to speed the process up.

    • Thanks all, that helps!

  2. Doug M says:

    Couples that travel mostly together benefit from having non-aligned TP years. Matching them is pointless as both benefit from either status. I think Rob is wrong about matching TP years.

  3. Lady London says:

    As Marriott has come up in this thread I guess most of you know about this.

    Pay by Visa for a stay in Europe gets free breakfast. Book by 30th March Stay until 19th April. Code 6ME for Bonvoy members which they seem to be saying might get you a better rate as well (but I wouldn’t count on it) or code C9E for non-members.

    Popped up as an ad on yahoo.

    • Hi LL, have you introduced yourself to John Milton yet?!
      I’ve got a Marriott stay in a couple of weeks where I selected that rate but put in my Amex details for payment, which was taken immediately. So we’ll see what happens re the breakfast! It’s for our wedding anniversary so they’ve already said we can have an upgrade plus welcome gift. I guess he can buy me room service breakfast if it hasn’t worked 😂

      • Lady London says:

        Yup, have got 9 John Milton books stored for when I run out of Jack Teachers :-).

        Btw Connelly’s 2nd Jack McEvoy ‘The Scarecrow’ just landed in the 99p list at Amazon. I think this is because a new Jack M is coming soon. Amazon seems to have started with a new monthly selection today. Amongst other things I hoovered up an interesting Indian cookbook.

        Thank heavens there are about 16 John Miktons around when I do get started :-). Haven’t the courage to try anymore Karin Slaughter though a bit too gruesome. I will stick to men of action.

        Are people on here actually continuing to fly within Europe in March? I have quite a few flights to/from the UK in next 3 to 10 weeks and unsure if just being on a plane or an airport is a bad thing. Wondering if I’m just being silly.

        • Lady London says:

          *Teacher — Reacher

        • Shoestring says:

          currently – silly

          re-assess in a few days/ weeks

          current risks in Europe are so low as to be almost immeasurable

          • Shoestring says:

            just ordered Blue Moon, the latest Reacher – not too happy about my decision as I like to wait until they come down to £2.80 for Very Good – but I got the £2.50 off £10, 5x, so went for it 🙂

          • Karen Brown says:

            One of mine to Northern Italy early May. Keeping a beady eye on it. If it was in next 4-6 I’d be cancelling. Think I’m probably overreacting.

          • Polly says:

            Harry, read Blue Moon when away, v g read, high body count tho.
            Have also recommended Michael Connolly, Kathy Reichs and Tess Geritson, the latter rwo being trained Physicians. V realistic reads.

        • Peter K says:

          From what read/heard on radio, being in a airport is not an issue. A plane is possibly, but only if within 2 metres of someone with it (it also needs to be for 15+ mins, so all flights).

          Currently so few people have it your should be okay, unless on the way to/from an area with an outbreak.

          If someone is older or have an underlying health (especially respiratory) condition, then the risks are much higher that if contracted you will have severe complications.

          Wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water. Anti-bac gel is useless for a virus. Don’t touch the tap afterwards with your hands but the paper towel used to dry them.

          • There is some speculation that coronaviruses may be spreading through air-conditioning, and that might be why the infection spread so widely around the Diamond Princess passengers, despite them being quarantined in their cabins (as well as a SARS outbreak years ago that spread between people who didn’t have contact in very different parts of a hotel).

            I’d be very cautious about air travel at the moment, if it can be avoided.

            I realise that this is probably going to be an unpopular opinion here!

          • Also, alcohol gel can actually work against a virus, depending on the type of virus and the coat around it. Sanitiser gel will do nothing against norovirus, but coronavirus is an envelope virus, and has a coating that alcohol can attack. To be effective, the gel needs to be >60% alcohol.


      • Lady London says:

        Is your stay at the Langley @Anna? I hope you’ll give us a report.

      • Qwertyknowsbest says:

        Thanks Anna, had to Google the John Milton reference, but shows as first 3 in the series are free with Kindle Unlimited, so will give them a read.

  4. Also, totally O/T, said by my O/H on Friday “Why are you getting post from Tesco Pet Insurance when we don’t even have a pet? This has all the hallmarks of one of your **cking points and miles schemes…”.
    He knows me so well ❤️!

    • Lady London says:

      Tell him to go back in his kennel.

      • 😂🤣 That sort of talk on Dewi Sant would lead to me being referred to as the Saes for at least a week, and even more Max Boyce than I normally am subjected to on March 1st.

    • Tell him to either pipe down or go and sit in Y with no champagne.

      • 😂🤣

        • Should be seriously considered, if OH goes CW-Y then it frees up enough avios for @Cat to go CW-F!

          • I’m pretty sure that’s not allowed on a 241 voucher BJ (I might be tempted otherwise)!

          • With the 241 the trick is to fly exINV alone so you can request an empty seat at no extra APD and then just get a middle pair FOC T-24 … better than F, you have to think outside the box.

    • Reminds me of a boss in the early 90s. Working in IT, I received a letter from Microsoft. It just said “Windows” (with the logo) on the front of the envelope.

      My boss picked it up and said: “Windows? Why is someone writing to you about windows? And anyway we had new windows installed last year.”

      • He was probably completing erewards surveys as Vice President for IT too.

        • Shoestring says:

          I am CEO of a major FTSE100 company

          • Stopped doing them because I couldn’t remember from one survey to the next what I was the last time … a bit like Mr Benn if you remember him.

          • thehornets says:

            Anyone know where I can get an erewards invite? My last one got locked out and I couldn’t remember my (made-up) date of birth to unlock it!

          • Shoestring says:

            actually reminds me of the time 20 years ago I invited the CEO of a major FTSE100 company out to my patch – I was European Country Mgr, he’d got the bullet and was working out his time, I genuinely liked the guy so thought: invite him out to see our operation, whatdahell, he’s still working for a few more weeks.

            He gladly accepted the invite, we made him welcome and did the company stuff. Took him out for a very grand dinner & drinks and all my local staff got the big lift.

            He & I went on to do a few/ lot drinks.

            Anyway, I got my then girlfriend to drive us next morning as that was a better idea, picked him up from his hotel and I had the crazy idea to drive out into the countryside where I had bought a patch of land to build 4 houses on! I was obvs still under the weather but luckily so was he. So were the building sites: when we got there, it was shrouded in fog and I bravely said: but it’s beautiful/ in a national park/ great views and he sort of harrumphed. Then he said he had bought 20 buy to lets already in London and thanks for the encouragement 🙂

            Nice guy & we saw him back to the airport – not all FTSE100 CEOs are unpleasant.

          • @thehornets, you can usually invite yourself via a link on accor and/or Flying Blue. A good way to keep IB+ alive or activate it by selecting them as accor conversion partner.

          • With 20 lets he should have put his feet up, just like me 🙂

          • mvcvz says:

            How? You always sound like such a dick.

          • Shoestring says:

            you obvs can’t understand ‘our’ English

          • Wow, I post about my boyfriend’s long-suffering tolerance of my hobby (that allows him to drink Champagne and fine dine at 30,000 feet), and you somehow turn it into an excuse to slam Harry (who is a massively appreciated member of our little community here, and who goes out of his way to help us all out – you, I might add, are not and do not).

            You sound like a d*ck (and a rather intellectually challenged one at that) when you miss the point that is being made this spectacularly, and do so while being gratuitously unpleasant.

          • +1, Harry has always been generous with his time, and has clearly made efforts at times to find answers for readers even when he didn”t know the answer himself. That is going above and beyond what anybody could reasonably expect of him. Maybe he gets sonething wrong time to time, says something that not everybody agrees with, so what, we all do. One of the major bebefit of HFP over other blogs is that thd large number of contributors usually enables us to get to the bottom of issues and find solutions.

          • mvcvz says:

            I take all the above as compliments of the highest order. Thanks.

            My job is more important, higher profile, far sexier and certainly better paid than that of the majority of FT100 CEOs. I just don’t have the desire to shout it from the rooftops like a dick.

          • … and you’re still completely missing the point.

  5. OT:
    1. I know Amex plat travel insurance does not cover pre-existing conditions. I have high blood pressure. Does this mean I am not covered at all or just for illness related to this?
    2. I have HSBC premier and I declared my conditions (which they accepted), am I also not covered by this coz I booked with BAPP?

    This is for a trip to Canada next week.

    Thanks in advance

    • Doug M says:

      It’s insurance. They’ll say your HBP led directly to broken arm.

    • You need to read the policies. It’s tiresome but but what anyone says on here won’t hold much water with an insurance provider!

    • Polly says:

      Boi, you are covered by hsbc, even tho you didn’t use the card. We were, when my oh was mugged in BCN last year. Laptop, iPad everything taken, and fully covered by hsbc. Very good travel insurance people deal with tit. Efficient and polite.
      Hopefully all will go well on the trip and you won’t need to claim.

      • Sorry to hear that Polly but it is great that it has not deterred you both from your travels.

      • Thanks Polly, Also happy things went well for you with insurance.

      • Lady London says:

        Gasp! Need to hear about that if we both make it to next party @Polly!

      • Wow, that sounds unpleasant. BCN is such a hotspot for mugging and bag snatching these days!

        Are you still in SE Asia Polly?

        • Polly says:

          Hi Cat, LL
          Yrs a rotten experience. Gang of ypung girls actually hovering near by.
          But yes, bk from Asia, oh v worried about the virus hitting Surrey now. Not a sign of any temp or health checks at any airport en route. Both in Bali or HKT.
          As you said BJ, better to have got to HKT, as Bali have limited test facilities. Claimed they would need to get people to Jakarta to care for them. Totally useless plan to contain.

          • Wow, it’s deeply worrying that you didn’t pass *any* checkpoints on the way home. That’s beyond a joke.

            Pleased you’re home and safe, I hope you enjoyed your trip despite everything, sorry if I gave you the wrong advice Polly.


      • Benny says:

        “Very good travel insurance people deal with tit.”

        Brilliant Polly!

        • Polly says:

          Ha ha, reminder to check my spelling in future.
          And must read these posts. And must reply.

    • You should have asked two weeks ago, I could have named my cat Boi instead of Polly 🙂

      Doesn’t HSBC insurance cover you regardless of how you pay? If so, you should be fine I would think given they have accepted hypertension on your policy.

      • Lol @BJ. Any chance you can take another one?

        • Now that you mention it…my OH has yet to get one of those Tesco policies but I have a similar problem to @Cat and have not yet worked up the courage to tackle the issue having surprised him with other new financial products last month. I’m even thinking about a prepaid funeral plan to trigger the green to platinum upgrade bonus but I fear that may go up in smoke!

          • I wouldn’t even dream of surprising mine with financial products – he would flip! I can’t even persuade him to let me register his cards on my Virgin SA account (he works near a Waitrose, and does lots of his food shopping there). 🙁

          • You need to have a quiet word with his mum, get her on your side!

          • That would also go down like a cup of cold sick!

          • Polly says:

            BJ, that made me laugh!

  6. I find the idea here a bit strange. The benefits of BA status really only apply for flights you take AFTER achieving that status. So if I cram flights in early to get that status and then no longer fly BA, what good does that status do me?

    For example as BA Gold I can use the First Wing check-in and the First lounge regardless of class of travel. I have free seat selection at the time of booking and a decent shot at an upgrade. Plus extra miles of course. But those are all useless if I don’t fly BA Or OW!

    Status is not so much a reward as an inducement to fly with BA more.

    • Shoestring says:

      I think what’s strange (for me) is the idea of chasing status without taking account of the cost involved & what that money could buy you used elsewhere.

      I wouldn’t really want to pay to fly Business in Europe because it’s not worth it on short journeys unless you have a lot of luggage. Ie the seat’s no better and the difference in cost EASILY could be used better for decent food/ drink etc. Travelling up front, no middle and getting off first is obvs mildly positive but ultimately only worth a few minutes of your life at best.

      I was BA Silver and it was of course great for lounges but the company was paying. My own money is a different matter.

      I could see myself grabbing cheap Oneworld flights in Business out to SE Asia etc to get the tier points & making up the 4 BA flights on cash, but it wouldn’t ever be a major preoccupation that I didn’t have status – as instead of paying £1K for status I can just pay a few hundred £s to get lounges, food, drink etc on my terms. Ie where’s the saving unless you are a pretty frequent flyer?

      • I dislike status with a passion, it undermines the travel experience of people who pay for what they get with either cash or miles. Naturally I’d see things differently if I was flying loads of cheap economy flights but then I’m not so…

        • Lady London says:

          Defo more likely to get upgraded IME. Or I suppose the upgrades I’ve had could have been due to my charm but that’s unlikely. Hint of nicer treatment on irrops even though they don’t announce that. At least for BA.

          • Didn’t know BA upgraded all that much, I’ve never had an upgrade from them in my lifetime. However, I have 100% success rate on Lufty longhaul and got excellent result on UA years ago when flying for work.

      • Secret Squirrel says:

        Thought you were going on a HEL TP Run AS?

        • Shoestring says:

          nope just loved the idea it was £1/ TP after the Avios rebate & price matching

          I’d maybe go there 4x for a weekend break at that price (to get status on the cheap) – but that’s because I have a certain fondness for T3 lounges and European capitals

    • But … if you fly two x BA short haul flights per month for work, and so will never earn status, it makes sense to do this at the start of your year. You’re never going to get far on 5 tier points each way for a Y short haul ….

      • Karen Brown says:

        I fly Y for work and in Europe/UK my clients no way gonna cough for Business and not me either. I’ve gone off lounges mostly. If you’re flying every week though status does help. Long haul if you’re not in J it does help. Getting off the plane quicker due to front seat really makes a difference if there’s only 1 train left to complete your journey same day.
        Getting out of plane quicker helps with non-Schengen immigration queues too that can waste lots of time.

        Luggage helps too, HBO is just not comfortable unless you’re a “credit card traveller” that buys stuff instead of carries it.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      The point isn’t to STOP flying OW it’s to keep flying but in Eco/WTP and get better checkin / lounge etc or even if it’s premium free seat selection, extra bag and 32kg allowance. Plus earn more Avios while doing it all.

  7. Peter Mc says:

    My membership year matches up nicely with when I need to use up my remaining annual leave allowance. This year I booked a short break in Granada flying out on the 9th connecting in Madrid each way to get my four flights while I still have a silver card.

  8. Shoestring says:

    O/T [Markets are braced for more turmoil this week after news yesterday that China’s economy, hit by the coronavirus, suffered a record slump last month.
    It will add to fears about the impact of the virus on the global economy, with experts suggesting that it could wipe more than $1 trillion (£760bn) off global GDP — reducing world economic growth close to the 2% rate that is normally associated with recession.
    China’s purchasing managers’ index for manufacturing slumped to 35.7, the weakest reading on record, well below the 50 level that marks the difference between expansion and contraction. The non-manufacturing PMI was even weaker at just 29.6.
    Economists at ING called the figures “astonishingly weak”, adding: “The worst China manufacturing PMI in history will shock the market on Monday.” Mohamed El-Erian, chief economic adviser to Allianz, described the manufacturing PMI as a “shock number”.]

    hold tight for more cheap Business fares coming right up

    • But their air quality is increasing markedly…lives saved as a result might exceed lives lost to Covid-19. Now there’s something to reflect on.

      • It all depends on how successful the attempts to contain the virus are at this stage.

        • I think what is interesting is that it hasn’t really spread in the hot SE Asian countries at all, almost all cases there were carried in. So hopefully as things warm up elsewhere that will be a big help. Not sure about the air conditioning you mentioned earlier. If that were true I think we would be seeing effects in SE Asia.

    • Shoestring, it must then be a good time coming up to increase my ISA Investment Portfolio ?

      • Shoestring says:

        yes indeed – not right now though, hold fire (but please decide all this stuff for yourself)

  9. Russ 😷 says:

    Given there’s never going to be a right time to say this ‘just buy business class tickets you tight b$*trds!

  10. BJ, I have been upgraded from J to F three times in the last year on BA, presumably due to my Gold status. That is out of a total of 12 long-haul flights, so 25% of the time.

    Of course these may have been Op-Ups but, even so, I was probably chosen over others because of status.

    • That’s a good result Tom. Just to be clear, I don’t grudge anybody their benefits, the system is the system and people work to obtain their TP just the same as I work to obtain my avios. I just get frustrated by overcrowded lounges which I perceive to be caused by too many elites flying economy but really that is not due to pax but to BA and others lacking sufficient capacity some places and times. Just remembered I did get an upgrade from CW to F from BA last summer, and that was on a redemption as bronze.

  11. Steven says:

    Just a thought for an article Rob if it hasn’t already been covered – benefits of family members traveling with one person who has status and to what extent the benefits can be enjoyed by family members as well.

    Did have a look just now but couldn’t find an article covering this.

    • Fair point but in many cases the rules are not written down. How many people can a Gold get through fast track security or get into the priority boarding line? It’s not stated.

      Only the First Wing in Terminal 5 has very strict (and enforced) rules, eg 1 guest per Gold member. Don’t pitch up there with your wife and two kids and only one Gold card. This is done because you get direct lounge access so they have to follow the lounge rules.

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