Can you buy British Airways tier points and so buy elite status?
Today I want to take a look at this issue, which often confuses people who are not clear about the difference between British Airways tier points and Avios points.
Avios and tier points make up the two different scoring systems that British Airways uses to reward loyalty.
Avios is the reward point currency. These can be used to pay for free flights (called ‘redemptions’, taxes and charges will apply) or to upgrade to a higher cabin. You can also spend them with British Airways partners, including on car rental, hotels, wine and travel experiences.
Avios points do not expire as long as you earn or spend at least one point every 36 months.
Tier points, however, cannot be spent. Unlike Avios, which you can earn in many different ways, tier points are only rewarded for eligible British Airways and partner airline flights. Additionally, tier points expire at the end of each membership year.
So what are British Airways tier points used for?
Tier points determine your elite status with British Airways. There are four different tiers of membership with Executive Club – Blue, Bronze, Silver and Gold – and each comes with its own list of benefits. Your membership level is dependent on the tier points you hold.
The threshold for Bronze status, for example, is 300 tier points during a given membership year. This article lists each British Airways route and the tier points you earn.
Can you buy British Airways tier points or Avios?
You can’t buy British Airways tier points.
You CAN buy Avios – take a look at this page of ba.com.
Can you swap Avios points for BA tier points?
No, you can’t swap your Avios for British Airways tier points, or your BA tier points for Avios.
The two schemes are totally separate. Tier points are used to determine your BA status from year to year, whilst Avios is a reward currency which you can collect over multiple years to get free flights.
Is there an easy way of getting the additional tier points I need quickly?
Yes. If you are short of tier points, take a look at this article which shows European flights on British Airways which just fall into the higher 160 tier points bracket for a return flight in Club Europe. You can occasionally buy these flights for under £300 which is a cheap way of renewing or gaining British Airways status.
Can I get a tier point year extension?
Yes. You should know what British Airways will give you a two week grace period if you call and request one. If your tier point year ends on 8th May, for example, BA will arrange it so that your tier points from 9th May to 22nd May are counted in the previous year and not the current year. This might give you the extra time you need.
This is official BA policy, by the way, so don’t feel as if you are begging when you call! Simply say that you would like the extension and it will be added to your account.
(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. )
(Head for Points is the UK’s biggest frequent flyer website with 2.4 million monthly page views. Want to learn more about earning and spending Avios? Click here to read our latest news stories, click here to join our email list and click here to read our ‘Avios Redemption University’ series.)
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (October 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:
There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.
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.
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.
EDIT: Applications for this card are temporarily suspended due to IT issues with the British Airways On Business SME loyalty scheme.
There are also good bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These are available to sole traders as well as limited companies.
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.