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.
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)
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 …..
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?
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.