Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

How to time your promotion to British Airways Executive Club Silver status to maximise benefits

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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.

How do I time promotion to British Airways Silver status?

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.

British Airways Executive Club status cards

How can you maximise your BA Executive Club status?

Let’s imagine that your British Airways Executive Club tier point year ends on 8th SeptemberYou 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.

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 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 (January 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:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 21st February 2023, the sign-up bonus on the British Airways Premium Plus American Express card is increased to 35,000 Avios from 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

35,000 Avios (ONLY to 21st February) and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and unbeatable travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

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.

SPECIAL OFFER: Capital On Tap has increased its sign-up bonus to points worth 30,000 Avios if you apply by 4th February. This is exclusive to Head for Points readers. Click here to apply.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

Get a 30,000 points bonus, worth 30,000 Avios, until 4th February 2023 Read our full review

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.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

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.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

Comments (67)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • tom1 says:

    I’ve booked a Premium Economy flight and UUA to business class.
    I understand you get the tier points and Avios of the original booking class.

    I assume that the club Europe route, because doesn’t have premium economy, will only earn 5-10 tier points of economy in this case?

    • Save East Coast Rewards says:

      Yes however you may hit lucky and get the business class TP on all flights. If you do please do not mention anything. For example if you’re missing the last 40 TP but got club TP for each other leg then don’t try and claim the remaining leg as you’ll be worse off if they then correct it.

      But in theory you should earn PE TP on the long haul legs and what you’ll earn on the short haul connections depends what fare buckets you book into. Economy can be up to 20 TP on the shorter routes.

  • TimM says:

    HfP is always running ‘how much is an Avios’ worth articles and comments within articles. However, how much is a tier point worth?

    This article seems to supply the tier-point junkies who may be prepared to pay £900+ on unnecessary flights in order to obtain ‘status’ without comparing the cost of the similar benefits of said status commercially. One can pay for seat selection, if there is any benefit, and for lounge access, fast track etc.. What is the true value of ‘status’ and what is the break-even point in terms of wanted flights vs. points run flights?

    • Save East Coast Rewards says:

      That is a good point. Personally all the flights I take are because I enjoy them, although I’ll often take a longer routing to get more points.

      The value proposition is really hard though. If you spend £900 to reach silver but hated every moment of these flights then unless you think your time as no value then the ‘cost’ is over £900. But if you enjoyed the flights then you might have considered it worth it.

      Then you add the costs of any hotels, travel to the airport, etc. The hotel stays might also help keep your status in a hotel chain but it’s an additional cost

    • mr_jetlag says:

      You have to love the journey to do a TP run. I accept I’m a little weird for getting excited at the prospect of 1020TP runs to Phoenix. I doubt anyone who’s booking 160TP b2b SOF flights hates them, you have to take the flight after all. It’s not like a mattress run night where you don’t have to actually sleep in the hotel.

    • Memesweeper says:

      If you fly regularly on BA/oneworld in economy for work then Silver is very handy. Certainty worth making the effort to pay for a few club upgrades to maintain status.

      Flying multi-city across the states to B2B in Hawaii just for status…? that makes no sense to me even if I’m commuting on BA every week.

    • Rob says:

      Fair point, but the article is really about 3 x weekend breaks (which it would need to be on most routes to get the cheap CE pricing) so it’s not like you’re paying £900 in cash and getting status.

      As with spending £700 on a pair of Louis Vuitton trainers, there is also a status element to, well, having status which exceeds simple financial logic.

    • John says:

      There is a difference between a pure TP run and a “semi-TP run”

      In a pure TP run you don’t actually want to go anywhere, you do back-to-back flights or stay at the airport hotel and do nothing except moan about how it is a colossal waste of time.

      I’ve never done a pure TP run, only “semi-TP runs” as I always have some sort of reason to go to the destination even if it’s something like “looking at an interesting statue in person”.

      Or to put it another way there are some simple things on my bucket list that might only take a few minutes. Ordinarily it’s not worthwhile to spend £200 and 2 days going there in economy or on Norwegian or whatever. However if there is a TP run available then I can justify it.

      If I actually want to spend a few days there that’s even better, the cost of the TPs is more or less £0, or in some cases negative for example ex-EU flights. Nobody would do ex-EU just for the TPs if they weren’t also significantly cheaper than going directly from your actual origin.

      If you would have paid the cost of business directly, the TPs have a negative cost, otherwise the TPs cost the difference between the flights you would have taken had there been no ex-EU deal (in my case it would often be the economy or PE direct flight).

      Referring to the LV shoes example – if you already have shoes you are happy with, then yes the £700 is a waste of money, but if you actually need new shoes then you are spending £100 on shoes and £600 on the status factor. I think I’ve only ever taken a completely unnecessary flight once (needed a 4th BA segment so instead of Asia to UK I went Asia to mainland Europe to UK and didn’t leave the airport).

  • Niall says:

    What ever happened with the ambiguous wording on the reduced tier point requirements. I see the original article said for those who have a tier point collection year ending 8 June (as wording said before 30 June) and there was some confusion in comments. I assumed with my 8 July 2022 end I would not qualify, but in my account it shows 450 tier points needed to retain Silver. Was there an update on this I missed?

    • Niall says:

      Sorry, should have read previously. Looks like this took Rob by surprise also (and people on other forums), hopefully we’ll get a confirmation of reduced threshold for status ending after 8 June 2022.

  • ShawnR says:

    Keen on advice for (an expanding) family:

    My wife’s BAEC (Gold) year-end date is 8 Aug ’22. Our son was born Apr ’21, but still not added to BAEC Household Account (currently just on Friends & Family, i.e. no BAEC Membership Number yet)

    Should my wife try to fly before Jun ’22 (to benefit from the lower TP thresholds) and then apply for her BAEC account to be frozen for maternity from Aug ’22? Or wait until Aug’22 for heavy travel and freeze the account once travel complete?

    Also, is it fine to apply for the maternity freeze when the baby’s over a year old? Nothing seems to contradict that in the Ts&Cs

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