Over the Summer, British Airways has been running a very interesting promotion for anyone who is chasing British Airways Executive Club status.
Very simply, if you booked a BA Holidays package, your flights would earn double BA tier points.
Tier point targets have already been reduced by 25% due to coronavirus. Put these two deals together and you can earn status for just 37.5% of the flights that would normally be required.
The deal has now been extended and tweaked so that solo travellers can also participate. You can find out more here.
How does the BA Holidays offer work?
The offer now runs into next Spring, which is good news.
When you travel on a BA Holidays package between 24th August 2021 and 31st March 2022, you will earn double tier points.
This only applies to tier points and not Avios. You only earn standard Avios from your flight.
You can make a booking up to 22nd March 2022 so you have seven months to ponder.
Is there a catch?
Yes, but one fewer than there was.
The rule that at least two people must travel together has been scrapped.
This has interesting repercussions. You may, for example, now be able to book longer business trips via BA Holidays and earn double tier points.
The other rules remain as they were:
- you must stay away for at least five nights
- you must pay for a car or hotel for the full length of your trip
- your trip must start in the UK
Do existing bookings count?
Yes – if they are BA Holidays bookings
No – if you have an existing stand-alone BA flight booking and were planning to ring up to add a hotel or car hire to it
Must I book my hotel through BA Holidays?
‘Flight and Car’ bookings count. You don’t have to book ‘Flight and Hotel’, or ‘Flight and Car and Hotel’.
Some people book a car but forget to collect it. I have seen some stories of the rental company fining people €50 to compensate them for the lost profit from overpriced insurance, but I reckon that is the worst that can happen.
Must I fly on British Airways?
Your flight must be BA operated or be a codeshare which carries a British Airways flight number.
How does the maths work here?
These are the current tier point thresholds:
- Bronze status requires 225 tier points (was 300 points)
- Silver status requires 450 tier points (was 600 tier points)
- Gold status requires 1,125 tier points (was 1,500 tier points)
The reduced tier point thresholds apply to all membership years which expire up to, and including, 8th July 2022 although BA appears to have quietly extended this deadline without telling anyone.
How many tier points will I earn?
In simple terms, looking only at premium cabins:
- Business Class to ‘near Europe’ – usually 80 tier points return, now 160 tier points
- Business Class to ‘far Europe’ eg Greece – usually 160 tier points return, now 320 tier points
- Club World return – usually 280 tier points return, now 560 tier points
- First Class return – usually 420 tier points return, now 840 tier points
Here’s an interesting tip
If you live in London, you may want to consider booking your Business Class trip from Manchester or another domestic starting point instead.
The extra short connecting hop in Club Europe would earn you an extra 160 tier points return.
A booking such as Manchester – Heathrow – Athens, return, in Business Class would earn you 480 tier points (80 + 160 + 160 + 80). This is enough for British Airways Silver status.
Remember that as well as earning enough tier points, you must take four British Airways or Iberia flights during your current membership year to be promoted. One return flight from London to New York would NOT get you Silver status from scratch, because whilst you would have 560 tier points, you would only have taken two flights.
I really want to do this but don’t want a 5+ day holiday
Whilst I don’t recommend this, you could nest your trip so it looks like this:
- you book a seven night ‘Flight and Car’ trip, Saturday to Saturday
- you fly out on British Airways on Saturday
- you forget to collect your car
- you fly back immediately on easyJet or another carrier
- you have a week at home as usual
- the following weekend you fly back on easyJet
- you take your scheduled British Airways flight home
I can’t think of any sensible reason to do this, especially given that covid testing would add to the costs and complications, but it should work. Personally I’d have a week long holiday – even if you were working from the hotel and not taking any annual leave – and do it properly.
What are the other benefits of booking with BA Holidays?
Even without this offer, there are many good reasons to book with BA Holidays:
- booking a ‘Flight and Hotel’ or ‘Flight and Car’ package can be cheaper than booking a flight on its own, since British Airways will often use BA Holidays as a way of quietly selling seats without cutting its headline flight prices
- you earn an additional 1 Avios per £1 for every £1 you spend at BA Holidays
- if you have the British Airways Premium Plus American Express card, you get double Avios via American Express if you use it to pay for your holiday
- you only need to pay a deposit now – which can be as low as £60 per person – with the balance not due until three weeks before departure
- you can change your booking, or cancel for a voucher, up to three weeks before departure – no excuses required
Removing the ‘two person’ restriction means that this offer is now interesting for the dedicated tier point runner as well as anyone simply looking to book a holiday.
Have you spent your life assuming that you would never earn a British Airways Silver card? You can now get one simply by flying Manchester – London – ‘far’ Europe in Business Class for a five night holiday. You can’t argue with that.
With the offer running until 31st March 2022, you could even lock in Gold status with a couple of trips.
Remember that status lasts for:
- all of the rest of your current tier point year, plus
- all of the following year, plus
- a stub period of seven weeks at the end
If your tier point year starts on 8th September 2021 and you booked a 450+ tier point trip after that date, you would earn and retain Silver status until 31st October 2023. This represents the rest of your current year, all of the following year and the stub period at the end.
You also get a soft landing. A Silver would drop to Bronze for the year to 31st October 2024. A Gold would get a year of Silver and a year of Bronze, locking in lounge access until 2024 and free seat selection until 2025 …..
Find out more
You need to do the maths to see if this offer works for you.
If you are not going to travel alone, don’t forget that your partner is likely to have a different Executive Club year-end date to you so a flight plan which fits around you may not work for them.
I strongly recommend you visit this special page of the BA Holidays website to learn more before booking.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.