Having status is good, but maximising the amount of time you will have that status is even better.
This isn’t as simple as it seems with British Airways because your membership year is fixed on the day you join Executive Club. This can impact your plans for achieving status.
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 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.
How can you maximise your BA Executive Club status?
Let’s imagine that your British Airways Executive Club tier point year ends on 8th September. You 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 earn Executive Club Silver status as quickly as you can after 8th September 2021. This requires:
450 British Airways Executive Club tier points (usually 600 but reduced due to the covid dispensation) and
four British Airways or Iberia one-way cash flights
Historically the most pleasant way to earn 560 Executive Club tier points was a Qatar Airways business class flight to Asia. As well as being cheap (c. £1,250 in a sale, possibly less if you start in Continental Europe) this option has the advantage of getting you a great 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.
For obvious reasons, this strategy is unlikely to be a runner for a while.
There are cheaper options for getting 450 tier points. Just three short breaks in Club Europe on routes which earn 160 tier points like Athens or Malta would do it. This is arguably less fun and certainly less comfortable than a Qatar Airways holiday, but is also more realistic in the current environment.
Here is a worked example
In our example, your British Airways Executive Club membership year starts annually on 9th September.
Let’s assume that you manage to do three short breaks on 160 tier point routes in September 2021, with no trip earlier than 9th September. The pre-covid list of BA routes earning 160 tier points in Club Europe is here.
This will get you to 480 tier points which is enough to hit Executive Club Silver status given the current reduced tier point threshold.
Let’s imagine that you have a very busy month and achieve all of this by 30th September 2021.
How long will my British Airways Silver status last?
You’ve done very well. You will be Silver from:
late September 2021 until 8th September 2022 (your current membership year)
9th September 2022 until 8th September 2023 (your following membership year)
9th September 2023 until 31st October 2023 (your run-off period as Silver)
You then get your guaranteed soft landing to Bronze. You will be Bronze from:
1 November 2023 to 8th September 2024 (your membership year)
9th September 2024 to 31st October 2024 (your run-off period as Bronze)
Only on 1st November 2024 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 September 2021 to 31st October 2023 (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 November 2023 to 31st October 2024 (main benefit is free seat selection from 7 days before departure)
How much would this cost?
Your total cost to ‘earn’ this is probably around £900. This is the cost of three Club Europe return flights at £300 each to cities which earn 160 tier points.
We’re obviously excluding hotels, covid testing etc, but we are also ignoring the fact that you will get three pleasant short breaks for your £900.
BA’s Low Fare Finder, click here, currently shows Athens at £285 return in September 2021. Catania is £266, Corfu is £400, Kalamata is £315, Reykjavik is £340, Sofia is £226, Marrakech is £256, Tenerife is £300 etc. These are all 160 tier point routes.
From next year, the threshold for Silver status is likely to return to 600 tier points. Even at this level, you can permanently retain Silver or Bronze British Airways Executive Club status with a short burst of premium cabin flying every three years.
If you must have lounge access, and so you need to remain Silver at all times, you are looking at a short burst of flying every two years.
This strategy won’t suit everyone. However, if you enjoy Business Class holidays and enjoy British Airways lounge access and the other perks whenever 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.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (December 2022)
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.
There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open 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.