Will British Airways extend your Executive Club Gold, Silver or Bronze status due to coronavirus? This is what’s happening.

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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.

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  1. Do hope they extend this to other members too. Due for requalification in July! Think that a lot of people probably had Easter plans that had to be cancelled.

  2. My tier point year end is November. I’ve acquire 34p points so far, but March was my main holiday and TP run to Istanbul which I’ve had to cancel so that’s lost me 440 TP in March and other trips to Europe in May have taken out another 160, so that 600 points down in 3 months and I very rarely travel in the peak holiday season, so looks like gold is off the cards for me this year now

  3. Pascal says:

    That’s disappointing. They gave a status extension of two years as a sorry for the IT issue fail (different subject of course but shows there is a way to do this and somehow a willingness).
    To protect their business once things resume its definitely the best to just keep the loyal customers and grant them status? I can’t imagine that status chasing flights make a big percentage of the revenue?
    Especially as there’s not even a benefit from this now. No one can book in additional BA flights if they renew in June or before. The move doesn’t make sense at all to me.

    • Yes, but do you really think that a two year extension was really justified? I suspect they regretted that decision and the data gathered from that may well be informing their handling of this.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Also that was BA’s meltdown and it only affected a small number of members.

        • Pascal says:

          No, I don’t think it was justified, but doesn’t seem to be in balance. One weekend disruption vs now no chance to actually Re qualify or use the benefits. Plus they need to make sure people stay loyal.

  4. oliver says:

    “The requirement to have flown four BA cash flights (on top of earning the necessary tier points) is waived.” – This would be key for me living in South-East Asia with limited access to BA flights but plenty of partner airlines (assume this is for each Tier, 2 for bronze 4 for silver etc).

  5. I wonder what will happen to those who, with the 30% reduction in requirement, would be eligible for promotion to the next level? For example those with 1320 TP and year end of April 8.

  6. Federico says:

    Considering BA extended status by 2 years for people who were caught up in the IT meltdown….it seems unreasonable they are unable to do so!
    I know someone who had their silver status extended to December 2020 from whenever they meltdown happened…bank holiday 2017 or 2018?

  7. A blanket extension will have more consequences. Extend my status by a year and I have no motivation this year to fly (renewal Feb). This allows greater flexibility going forward to adjust based on the current situation.

    Furthermore, although the example is based on missing out on 3 months of flying. There will be some who missed out on less than a month when the real travel restrictions came into force. For these people this is very generous as they are less likely to have retained their status.

    Let’s be fair there are winners and losers here. The losers will complain, but will the winners refuse the extension of their status that they were not going to renew?

    • Well let’s compare to Hilton – the only losers are people halfway through a status challenge who can’t finish it. The BA policy is needlessly complex and arbitrarily chooses who wins and loses.

      Why would you have no motivation to fly this year? Do you fly solely to achieve status?

      Similarly I no longer need to stay at any Hiltons until 2021, and will remain Diamond. But I will stay in 2020 if possible. Because I want to and because they created goodwill by being flexible. (Though it’s slightly different from an airline as the individual hotels who had to be dragged kicking and screaming to comply with Hilton’s policies have lost goodwill.)

      Everyone is a loser from this crisis. Why not make as many people winners as possible?

  8. Stuart says:

    Very poor compensation from BA, I am glad I ditched them last year. As a frequent traveler on the London to Moscow route I decided to move to Aeroflot and they have extended my Gold status for 2 more years due to this crisis. Fair play to Aeroflot

  9. Surely the fairest thing to do is to honour the Exec Club Tier Points for (at least non changeable)flights that had been booked (confirmed) up to the anniversary date of the Cardholder, and then give the appropriate tier? Luckily my wife and I have the tier points and flights in the bag already for continued Gold from our anniversary in September.

  10. Alex W says:

    “How does the British Airways status extension work in practice?”

    Erm there is no extension. To be honest I can see the logic in what BA has done, however it does look stingy compared to what other airlines are doing.

  11. Nordic_Moose says:

    This is a pathetic response from BA and expected nothing less. I for one will be switching all my travel in future if my Gold status lapses as a consequence of Covid.

    Clearly, the assumption that all travellers split their travel pro rate on a monthly basis is absurd.

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