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British Airways extends Executive Club elite status – but only for some

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British Airways has announced another 12 months extension of elite status for some Executive Club members.

The screw seems to be tightening, however. The initial extension in 2020 covered all members. The previous extension in March 2021 covered half of the membership base. This extension only covers a quarter of members.

There will be no extension to American Express 2-4-1 companion vouchers or any other vouchers. With 2-4-1 vouchers starting to expire next month, I think we have to assume that there will be no more extensions offered. You should start planning your flights accordingly.

British Airways Executive Club status cards

Who gets an extension?

We should say first that British Airways is NOT calling it an ‘extension’. It is calling it ‘protection’.

This not just semantics. It will make a difference for some people, but not others. For example, my Gold status run until 31st October 2022. I will NOT receive an extension until October 2023. However, if I was due to be downgraded on 31st March 2022 I would benefit.

Only members with a tier point collection end date between the 1st January 2022 and 31st March 2022 will receive protection / an extension.

If your tier point year ends during this three month period, your existing status level will be rolled over automatically for another year.

For clarity, your tier points will still reset to zero at the end of your current membership year. BA is not extending the time period you have to earn the necessary points for requalification.

Unlike Virgin Atlantic, which has been able to extend status in three and six month increments, the way that Executive Club is set up means that it can only process 12 month extensions.

This means that British Airways has chosen to limit the status extensions to those whose status was set to expire in Spring 2022 – ie. those whose membership year resets on 8th January 2022, 8th February 2022 or 8th March 2022.

BA’s view, I assume, is that members with a year-end between 8th April 2022 and 9th September 2022 should be able to renew under their own steam. Remember that tier point thresholds have also been reduced.

To be honest, it is questionable – to put it mildly – how many people with a year-end after 8th March will manage five long-haul return business class flights to retain their Executive Club Gold status.

What are the reduced tier point targets?

For the 75% of members whose status has not been extended / protected today, you may still be able to make the most of the 25% reduction in tier point requirements for each status tier.

BA has never been totally clear about how this offer worked. My impression is that the published deadline of 30th June 2022 applies to everyone, irrespecitve of year end.

If this is correct, it means that you will renew on the reduced threshold if you earn enough points by 30th June, but from 1st July to 8th September (if you have an 8th September 2022 year end) you will need the full tier point rate.

The reduced thresholds are:

  • Bronze status will require 225 tier points (was 300 tier points)
  • Silver status will require 450 tier points (was 600 tier points)
  • Gold status will require 1,125 tier points (was 1,500 tier points)
British Airways BA Amex American Express cards

What about American Express 2-4-1 companion vouchers?

There are NO extensions to companion vouchers or Gold Upgrade vouchers.

With the first batch of vouchers due to expire in October, I think we have to assume that it is not going to happen. Time to book an Autumn break …..

Conclusion

Today’s changes do not go far enough, by a long way. I think most people will agree on that.

Only 25% of members will receive a status extension.

The remaining 75% are being told that they must reach the reduced tier point threshold by 30th June, or earn the full standard amount of tier points if their year-end is later than that.

This is happening despite rumours from the United States that border restrictions may not be lifted until after the midterm elections in November 2022, because relaxation is seen as a vote loser. There is also minimal progress on lifting restrictions in Asia. Even if all restrictions were lifted tomorrow, I doubt any business would immediately bounce back to its pre-covid level of travel.

Don’t despair though. It is commercial suicide for British Airways to deliberately strip their (ex-) top customers of status, just months before they are likely to start picking up their travel. Virgin Atlantic, SkyTeam and Star Alliance will be waiting in the wings with status match offers if there is any sign of this happening. At a time when every full fare business traveller counts more than ever, is BA really likely to let them slip away?


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Comments (150)

  • KBuffett says:

    I think it’s very important to note that BA has deliberately made it as difficult as they can to process refunds, change flights or even contact them since Covid.

    To Fly, To Serve – BS

    • Journeying John says:

      You’re wrong, it’s not BS, they just forgot to mention that it’s exclusively the exec and shareholders that they serve…

  • HBommie says:

    Nov 2022?!
    What is the testing regime for US citizens returning after a European trip? Does vaccination status have an impact?

    • John says:

      Preflight test and no

      • tony says:

        The UK government really need to retaliate here. With those NFL games coming up, a ban on US visitors to coincide with that would presumably get the lobby in Washington focused.

        • John says:

          The government has decided that the only way to ban visitors is using the red list (visitors were never banned from March to November 2020) but they can’t put the US there because there wouldn’t be enough hotel space.

        • Jeff Greene says:

          Good idea but we’ve been America’s poodle for the last 20 years with minimal benefits and big costs. It would be nice if johnson said “no fat Americans allowed in the U.K. if you don’t let Brits in to America” but the U.K. doesn’t have the guts to do that unfortunately

    • NigelthePensioner says:

      Quite – what is the difference between a double vax UK citizen with a negative test flying to the USA and a US citizen returning from the UK to the US with a negative test? Quite ridiculous……..but then it is dozy ol’ Joe in charge!

    • Anna says:

      Why does Europe pose a threat but not South America, the Caribbean or the Middle East?!!

      • VerdantBacon says:

        Pretty sure we all know it’s not about what poses a threat, but where voters want to go. Staying closed to Europe is heavily favoured by Americans, Biden won’t change his mind until the voters do.

  • Save East Coast Rewards says:

    It should be made clearer that the 25%(*) of members that are getting an extension are the 25% who have only had one extension so far.
    50% have already received two extensions, those with year ends between July and December
    The remaining 25% (April, May, June) were able to get discretionary extensions when asked for if they had to cancel flights due to covid.

    (*) based on roughly equal monthly split

    • John says:

      I’ve only had one covid extension and my end date is November

      • Bob says:

        November 2020 was extended to November 2021 and then November 2022. The exception is if you had already retained status before everything went kaput in March 2020 in which case you only received ‘one’ extension. But the majority will have received two.

        • John says:

          Yes I retained in Nov 2019 to end 2021.

          I guess I did make a bit of use of my status as I flew more than most people in summer 2020 when there were no stupid restrictions around Europe at least

    • Bob says:

      But these same people also had the initial reduced thresholds to see them over the line. And given that they didn’t have many restrictions in place for a lot of the year (especially those with an April collection) then they should have been ok – unless they left all their collecting to the last weeks of their year!

      • Save East Coast Rewards says:

        A lot of people do leave status renewal to the last minute or depending when your travel pattern is you may earn more points at different times of the year.

        • John says:

          It doesn’t really make sense to leave renewal to the last minute with BA (before covid at least) unless you are getting it with 25 economy flights

          You might as well do it in the first seven weeks of the new year and if you are paying for J or F there is not that much difference to doing it with status or without status.

          • Save East Coast Rewards says:

            For some it might be just the time they’re travelling the most for business or leisure reasons (e.g. some might want to do a TP run at Easter so they can take advantage of the holiday meaning less annual leave needs to be booked). Now I agree the best way to do it is in the time after the end of your membership year but before the card expires, then you can get continuous status without needing to renew it every year.

    • Ron says:

      Im silver and year ends in May. Our US summer trip was cancelled and now rebooked in summer 22. It would be great if I can request my status extended till Aug22, so I can select our seats for free. Do I need to call or email for discretionary extension?? Thanks.

  • Ukgeorge says:

    Without the US opening I have zero chance of retaining Gold by June. I see this latest move as a kick in the teeth by BA. I was just about, i.e this morning, to move yet another BA flight to the US with a cancelled sector to next year but I’m just going to take a refund now and see what the opposition are offering in the Black Friday sales for my flights next year.

    • Save East Coast Rewards says:

      BA will renew people on a case by case basis and I assume if Biden continues this crazy policy they will extend the dates covered.

      BA have been *very* flexible during this pandemic. So nearer the time if there’s no extension for you just contact them.

      I had dropped to silver before the pandemic because I was working almost two years in Bournemouth so I wasn’t hopping on a plane most weekends. When my contract finished in April 2020 my plan was six months of travel. I also hoped to get GGL/CCR status. Over the course of 2020 I had over 2000TP in flights cancelled, many booked before March. They upgraded my status because of that – which I appreciated as the gold line made contacting BA easier.

      This year I was set to renew without the extension. It was helped along with so many BLQ-LHR cancelled I was often routed via Madrid.

      • Alan says:

        Glad they treated you well, I must say that’s the first time I’ve heard of BA being in any way flexible around their policies!

  • John says:

    I mean, I’ve not flown since Feb 2020 so I’m not exactly making use of my status, but I definitely fall into that “full fare business traveller” bucket – I earned my status through transatlantic trips in business, usually bought at relatively short notice and expensive.

    Many of my colleagues already swear by Virgin. I’ll certainly look a bit closer at other options if my status drops.

    Perhaps the airlines will be looking at other ways to compete for business travel? Or maybe they’re gambling (rightly?) that this marks is never going to recover to the same levels as pre-COVID.

    • Alan says:

      Reviews of JetBlue Mint are also very positive and might be worth a look too!

    • Doug M says:

      If you’re in London then leaving BA is near impossible. I earn Avios on LH and tend to spend on SH. If you use VS then your SH options mean seeing a lot of CDG and AMS.
      VS are OK, but overrated in my opinion. The Clubhouse is a superb lounge, but that flip over seat I find inferior to old CW, I know many talk of climbing over, which I think is an exaggeration, regardless if you have BA status you probably got one of the nicer easy access seats anyway, courtesy of BA seat fees and status protecting the nicer seats.

    • Paul Pogba says:

      Virgin would be a lot more interesting to me if you earnt tier points on AF/KLM, I’d never gain status on Virgin, Delta and Virgin Australia alone.

      • Matt says:

        You do earn on AF and KLM now. Didn’t know you earned on Virgin Australia (if they still exist!)

        • Paul Pogba says:

          Now I’ve had a closer look, you seem to earn tier points on all their partner airlines, although I’m unlikely to use many of them regularly (if ever). AF and KLM have the caveat “on VS marketed AF/KLM flights” which makes me doubt you earn anything on a AF/KL ticket.

  • Alan says:

    Ah well, cheerio BA status for now then (apart from Bronze soft landing!) – given I have no travel booked so far and haven’t been abroad in 18 months I can see zero chance of having enough flights by April!

    • Gruntfuttock says:

      Ditto Alan, my CE flights to MLA in early April and TIR in early May look like I am caught in purgatory, Status date 8th April 🤣🤣

  • ChrisW says:

    I doubt business travellers are using their status much anymore so don’t care that much about when it expires…

  • ChrisW says:

    I totally read that bit about the Biden travel ban as “until November 2021” and thought “well that’s only a few months” and then realised it was 2022. Yikes!

    • Save East Coast Rewards says:

      I read it as the same then again my whole sense of time is messed up! I was no fan of Trump, but one of the last things he did was remove the restrictions on UK, Ireland and Schengen (not EU as non-Schengen EU countries like Croatia can visit the US just fine!) then Biden immediately put it back.

      At the time I didn’t have a problem with this, expected it just to be for a few more months, but it’s ongoing. But it’s ridiculous as many countries that have worse COVID problems but nobody gets added or removed from the US list.

      • Doug M says:

        To be fair Trump removed it so Biden had to make a decision and carry the can for that decision. Who knows when it’ll change, it’s politics now, science and logic left the building.

        • ChrisC says:

          Trumps decision was made from pure spite and various of his officials confirmed that at the time.

          If trump had won the rescinding of of his executive order would not have been on the cards.

    • Alan says:

      At least it did turn out to be Nov 2021 after all!

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