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Will British Airways extend your Executive Club Gold, Silver or Bronze status due to coronavirus?

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British Airways has just announced the measures it is taking to ensure you may still be able to enjoy your status benefits once travel restrictions lift.

To be honest, it’s not good enough.  But it’s a start.

Here is what will change:

The number of tier points you need to earn or retain status will be reduced by 30% for members due for renewal on 8th April, 8th May and 8th June

If your membership is due to renew from 8th July onwards, there is no concession (yet?).  You will need to earn the full number of tier points to renew or gain status.

The requirement to have flown four BA cash flights (on top of earning the necessary tier points) is waived

All 2-4-1 vouchers and Gold Upgrade Vouchers will automatically be extended by 6 months (which we already wrote about here)

If your membership is up for renewal in April, May or June you should expect an email outlining the changes.

This page of ba.com has more details.

what are the British Airways Executive Club tiers?

How does the British Airways status extension work in practice?

The British Airways tier point thresholds will now stand at 210 tier points for Bronze, 420 tier points for Silver and 1050 tier points for Gold.

Assuming your membership year renews on 8th June, you will have missed out at least two (April, May) but more likely three (March) and possibly four (February) months of regular flying.  Assuming three months, and if you earn an equal amount of tier points every month,  you would be missing out on 25% of your annual tier points. Under this extension your status would renew, since the reduction of tier points required is greater than your lost earnings.

However, this is only on the assumption that you earn an equal amount of tier points every month. For most flyers, this is unlikely. 

The majority of people who are currently Bronze, Silver and Gold earn their status through only a handful of flights – it can take as little as one long haul return flight and a few short hauls to qualify for British Airways Silver status, for example.

Reducing the tier points required by 30% is unlikely to have an impact on these flyers, as they are likely to miss out on key bookings they made due to travel restrictions. These people will face a soft landing to the next tier down.

Because British Airways has refused to credit travellers with the tier points they would have earned from flights which were booked but then cancelled, some people will fail to earn or retain status even though their cancelled flights would have tipped them over.

Whilst this update protects some of BA’s corporate clients – people who commute to work, or have a weekly or monthly trip to US for example – it falls short of protecting many other status holders. These are customers British Airways is at risk of losing if it does not enact further concessions.

It is not clear why British Airways is choosing not to simply extend status.  Qatar Airways and Virgin Atlantic have announced they are rolling over status for an additional six months, no questions asked.  Qantas is going one step further and extending status by a whole year.  Hilton also announced a similar move yesterday – in fact, Hilton went further by saying that anyone who has recently dropped down will be reinstated.  This seems like a simpler and more effective fix than what BA is proposing here.

It also seems odd to apply this change from April onwards, given the levels of disruption to flying that happened in the weeks up to 8th March. If your membership renewed this month there is a chance you may not have re-qualified for your tier, and these changes do not offer any help.

We will have to wait and see if British Airways goes further than what it has announced today. I suspect it will have to, given the amount of people who will be losing out.

You can find out more on this page of ba.com.

Comments (155)

  • Mike P says:

    This is not either terribly helpful or generous by BA. They will eventually have to do much more and I suspect blanket extensions will follow in due course. Those of us who re-qualified in March, for example, are largely unable to fly currently so will have far fewer tier points during this collection year.

    For example, I re-qualified for GGL/CCR on March 8th but currently have almost nothing booked. I would normally be accruing tier points at around 500 per month so this will quickly have a large effect on how my tier point collection year will look.

  • Shoestring says:

    It is not clear why British Airways is not choosing not to simply extend status.

    Ahem! 🙂

  • Graham says:

    My tp year is July 8th. I am seriously unhappy about this. Are BA just trying to drive us to other airlines? Because it’s working. Currently sitting at 1070TP and was due to hit Gold by May. Unable to now as our flights were cancelled this past weekend and the trip to the US mid May is unlikely to go ahead either.

    So frustrating.

  • Shoestring says:

    I think an automatic extension of 6 months to your MOT with no need to take the test at 12 months (must by 18 months, though) was a very simple decision to take and BA could EASILY have done something similar

    +6 months, here you go everybody, we value your loyal custom

  • Thegamebird says:

    Interestingly, this will affect me, and benefit me. My re-qualification is June 8th. I currently have 1060TPs with cancelled future bookings amounting to a further 700-odd, so this will benefit me in that I should qualify for Gold. HOWEVER, after spending the last 6 months in Australia and NZ all of my TPs have been earnt with Qantas and Qatar. Of the cancelled flights coming this month and next month, all of them were on BA metal, thus meeting (and exceeding) the x4 flight requirement. I wonder whether, taking x2 random return flights around the country to have the necessary 4 flights on BA metal would be considered by Boris as necessary journeys!

  • Henk says:

    It works for me – I’m on around 1100 with april renewal. And about 600 TPs worth of cancelled flights. So I’m not complaining

  • Neil says:

    Well that’s me finished with BA. All of the flying that would have got me 1500 TP’s is done in Apr-Jun (most of which now cancelled or postponed). I’m at 605 at the moment but had enough flights booked to take me well over 1500 by my 8th July renewal date.
    Apart from anything else I’ve been loyal to BA for years. And all they could come up with was this lousy proposition.
    I’m finished with them. Star Alliance or Skyteam is easy enough for me to swap to. Just have to decide which one now!

  • L D says:

    This is a very poor response by BA.

    In contrast Qantas has extended all their memberships by the full 12 months.

    From their notice:

    What does status extension mean?
    To provide peace of mind when it comes to your Frequent Flyer status, Qantas will ensure that eligible Qantas Frequent Flyer members with a membership year anniversary date between March 2020 and February 2021 will automatically retain their current status, even if they have not already retained in their own right.

    Full details are at:
    https://www.qantas.com/au/en/frequent-flyer/status-and-clubs/status/status-extension.html

    Maybe BA might learn!