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How do you get a British Airways Executive Club Premier card?

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Most people think that the British Airways Executive Club tiers are Blue, Bronze, Silver and Gold.  There is also Gold Guest List – see here for how you get that – but it is a subset of Gold and does not have its own membership card, unless you count adding the letters ‘GGL’ to the corner of a normal Gold one.

There is, however, another elite tier you may not know about – British Airways Executive Club Premier.

This is the card you get:

How do you get a British Airways Executive Club Premier card?

How do you get a British Airways Executive Club Premier card?

This information is taken from official British Airways guidelines I saw, although the guidelines are now a few years old and may have been updated.

The aim of Premier is to keep on the good side of people who control the travel budgets at British Airways’ largest corporate accounts.

In order to get a British Airways Premier card, you need to control a travel budget which spends at least £2 million per year with British Airways.

Importantly – and this is taken verbatim for the guidelines – giving someone a Premier card:

“will not always reflect the revenue generated for British Airways by the company, but should be based upon the individual’s ability to influence travel policy”

How do I apply?

You don’t.  Based on the guidelines I have, you need to befriend a member of the British Airways board or a key sales manager.  They will submit an application on your behalf.

Five other BA executives (specified people, not random staff) must ‘second’ the application, including the British Airways Chief Operating Officer, currently Jason Mahoney.

(I heard an interesting story on Friday night at a media dinner in Helsinki.  For legal reasons I don’t want to repeat it, but if you know any bloggers with a Premier card, drop me an email …..)

British Airways Premier status

How many British Airways Premier cardholders are there?

850, at the time of publication of the guidance notes I saw.  However, Alex Cruz made a decision to cull the ranks when he was CEO and last time I heard the number was nearer 450.  The card was allegedly removed from various high profile celebrities and sports stars who had no commercial value to the airline.

What do you get if you are a British Airways Premier cardholder?

What you DIDN’T get, interestingly, was tier points according to the BA guidance, although I believe that this has changed.  Perhaps introducing lifetime status criteria meant that Premier members still wanted to track their points?

As a Premier, you receive all of the benefits of British Airways Gold membership plus:

use of the Special Services team at key airports

access to British Airways lounges at all times, even if the member is not flying on British Airways

ability to bring two guests into a lounge (a Gold member can only bring one guest)

access to The Concorde Room at Heathrow Terminal 5 and New York JFK, irrespective of class of travel

ability to give Gold status to a friend or partner

an annual upgrade voucher, allowing a single cabin upgrade for two people – this is the same as the Gold Guest List GUF2 voucher

Anecdotally, from crew reports on Flyertalk, British Airways will remove paying passengers from a flight if a Premier member wishes to travel on it, and will hold flights if a Premier customer is delayed.  BA ground staff are also known to reseat other passengers if a Premier has not been able to select their favourite seat in advance.

Not a bad deal if you can get it …. but don’t get your hopes up!

PS.  If you want to know more about the ‘standard’ Executive Club status levels, we have a number of articles of interest:

Note that the tier point thresholds mentioned in those articles are higher than the actual numbers in place until 31st December 2022 due to pandemic mitigation measures.


How to earn Avios points from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (June 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.

Until 18th July 2022 there is an astonishing special offer on these cards. You get 50,000 Avios on the Avios Plus Mastercard and 10,000 Avios on the free Avios Mastercard. You can apply here. We strongly recommend getting the Avios Plus card whilst this offer is running.

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

50,000 Avios for signing up (A CRAZY SPECIAL OFFER!) and an upgrade voucher for spending ….. Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

10,000 Avios for signing up (SPECIAL OFFER) 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:

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable card perk – the 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

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.

SPECIAL OFFER: The sign-up bonus on Amex Gold is increased from 20,000 Membership Rewards points to 30,000 Membership Rewards points until 19th July 2022. This card is free for the first year.

American Express Amex Gold

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of 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 10,000 Avios.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

10,500 points bonus – the most generous Avios Visa for a limited company 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 card

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.

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits 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.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for our latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios this month from offers and promotions.)

Comments (77)

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

  • Mouse says:

    Ooooh so one of your competitors has a Premier card? Ouch!

    • Andrew J says:

      Presumably that’s the point of this rather random article full of out of date information and anecdotes – to find out if the rumour is true.

      • riku says:

        first rule of running a blog site .. push out regular content even if that means repeating previous articles.

        • Rob says:

          I’m still smarting from the comment the other day complaining that I’d updated an article published in 2016 rather than doing totally new from scratch ….

  • Dominic Barrington says:

    Looked at rationally, it is not very different from GGL, given that likely Premier members are hardly going to be traveling at the back of a plane on any airline. Indeed, in a year when I do well on the GGL front, I get more than one upgrade voucher, and I think I can guest more people into lounges.

  • Stephan says:

    I do wonder with with all this partly towards BA how long until they devalue their BA avios given inflation in particular fuel. I have feeling all my avios will soon feel like the ruble…

    • Charles Martel says:

      We have just had a stealth increase in redemption charges, whether it’s enough given the relentless rise in the oil price – who knows? I’ve said this before but a huge devaluation in flight redemptions (however they slice it) might have to happen in tandem with a change to the Nectar exchange rate else we all just cash out and use for groceries, hotels and chinese toasters from Argos. The whole picture is further complicated by the future ability to transfer Avios to Qatar and redeem there.

      • Rob says:

        In some ways you need to separate Avios (which is an IAG Loyalty product) from BA. IAG Loyalty is happy to go off and negotiate its own deals even if it means stuffing BA. Once you can redeem Dublin to the Maldives for £70 of charges by moving Avios to Qatar Privilege Club, the urge to redeem on BA – unless you have a 241 – will be slim.

        • Jonathan says:

          So that means don’t bother with new Barclaycard Avios Plus card then ? 😜

          • Rob says:

            No, I’m saying that IAG Loyalty will go out of its way to ensure you can get good redemption deals for your points even if BA is not playing ball.

        • rob keane says:

          You’ve been able to redeem avios on Qatar out of dublin for much reduced taxes for quite some time now in fact since qatar starting flying out of dub. Currently its 62K+£160 on BA.com for a 1-way dub-doh direct in biz, 124K+£340 return

          Using an amex 2-4-1 (which now allows starting outside uk) 2 people on BA is 130K + £580

  • Ash Raj says:

    “British Airways will remove paying passengers from a flight if a Premier member wishes to travel on it”

    That’s really shameful behaviour from BA. To ruin someone else’s plans to accommodate someone who hasn’t planned ahead.

    • Lady London says:

      It’s practical business.

      Of course we’re very lucky we have EU261 and UK261 to oblige minimum levels of care and compensation for those downgraded or offloaded in favour of someone whose business is important to the airline.

      This goes on all over the world and is perfectly logical behaviour for the airline.

    • Jonty says:

      On most flights there will be some passengers who will gladly volunteer to be offloaded for a bit of compensation. I’ve happily spent an extra night in Paris with a free hotel and a few hundred euros. I’ve also been on a mainly business passenger flight to LCY where nobody was taking up an offer but I think that’s rare in normal times

    • novelty-socks says:

      I have always assumed that people get bumped for status holders sometimes anyway, TBH.
      Flying from Seattle to London via Vancouver, I was moved to an earlier connecting flight (to make my long-haul connection) when there were major delays.

      The flight was packed, so at the time I assumed someone had been bumped so that I could travel (flying in Business, was Star Alliance Gold at the time),

    • Jonathan says:

      I thought the David Dao incident on that United Express flight should’ve been a wake up call to airlines across the world not to tell people to get out of their seat, you’re not on this flight anymore

    • CarpalTravel says:

      That’ll certainly feed the people who suffer with the ‘Nick Clegg syndrome’…

      “Do you know who I am???”

  • Nick says:

    “The aim of Premier is to keep on the good side of people who control the travel budgets at British Airways’ largest corporate accounts.”

    An interesting situation, and one which any individual and/or corporation would need to be very careful about with regards to The Bribery Act 2010. However, I’m assuming that any such individuals and/or corporations would be very well read up on this, as the act states that, “…will not commit the offence of failing to prevent bribery if you can show that your organisation had ‘adequate procedures’ in place to prevent bribery.”

    • Thywillbedone says:

      My exact thought. Can’t see how this passes the ‘smell test’ (or any test for that matter!) and gifting a couple of bottles of decent wine to a client doesn’t …

    • Jon says:

      Yep I thought that too. I’m pretty sure the people who handle travel where I work wouldn’t touch this with a 10 foot pole

    • ChrisC says:

      There was a discussion on this ages and ages ago on flyer talk (why I can remember stuff like this but not my phone number …)

      Consensus was that as there is no direct correllation between the awarding of a contract and the granting of the status it’s not bribery.

      That’s on the basis that there are sufficient checks both at the company concerned before the contract is awarded and by BA before the status (if any) is awarded by the board afterwards.

      There isn’t a quid pro quo situation.

      • Thywillbedone says:

        As I said, can’t see how it passes the sniff test …corporations don’t usually give things away with no expectation of a return.

      • Mr(s) Entitled says:

        Then if there is no correlation, it is a waste to award them to company’s and BA should focus on ultra high net worth individuals. And yet BA does award them to company’s so you suspect that they disagree with the FT keyboard warriors.

      • Ben says:

        Pretty sure that’s not true with most (publicly listed) companies these days.
        Certainly for who I work for if you accepted this card on this basis (ability to influence) it would be grounds for dismissal and a breach of the business integrity rules. Whether you actually “influenced” or not would be seen as irrelevant.

        • Stu N says:

          Yep, no way anyone in our organisation (large financial sector group) would be allowed to hold a Premier card.

          • Rob says:

            The whole anti-bribery stuff in financial services now is rubbish. I have never, ever, got to go to anything funky as a guest of my banker wife. There’s no fun anymore!

            Luckily she has the option of joining me at the high quality events I get asked to – a particular highlight was an invite from Virgin Atlantic to watch the World Darts Championships from their box at the O2, meaning you’d be 0.5 miles away from the oche.

          • The Savage Squirrel says:

            We once got a corporate invite to what they – rather hilariously – described as the “luxury” area of the darts arena floor. Surely this is the ultimate oxymoron? Might have even been tempted as it’s a stupid spectator sport on every level but the monumental p**s-up that is the floor of a darts arena could be a life experience to have once (and only once), but as Mrs S was heavily pregnant at the time thought it very much wisest not to go 😀

      • Jeff77 says:

        Wouldn’t be allowed at my company (others might be different. Whether or not it’s bribery is irrelevant, it just wouldn’t be allowed given how it could “look”

        • Mike says:

          I used to work at a business were the postroom were instructed to poke holes in people’s parcels to check for corporate gifts around Xmas time. Anything over £20 was then appropriated and raffled. Luckily, the postroom staff weren’t very good at spotting expensive pens though assumed any booze like a bottle of wine was over £20. It’s really not nice tell tell a supplier who bought you a bottle of wine a) you didn’t know about it when they ask you if you liked it and b) that it had probably been nicked by corporate policy.

        • lumma says:

          Seeing as the World Darts Championship is at Alexander Palace, I think you’d be more than half a mile from the oche

          • Rob says:

            May have been The Legends of Darts Masters actually, having done a quick Google. I made Anika go instead of me!

    • Lady London says:

      Those calling a Premier card bribery might want to look at Frequent Flyer programs as just the same, only on a lower scale.

      At one investment bank I worked for some idiot even wrote “must be fully flexible” as his reason for refusing a ticket on the corporate travel deal that got very few miles. There was no real reason proffered by this employee and in case of justified need the company was perfectly willing to pay the £200 change fee as this was a small fraction of the difference between corporate fare and fully flex.

  • Cranzle says:

    David Beckham has one

    • Scott says:

      That would be a reason not to fly BA for me.

      Not quite sure what commercial value he brings to BA.

      Is that Emma whats-her-name tennis player one as a brand ambassador, or whatever?

      • Mike says:

        Emma Raducanu. It’s her name, which deserves not to be dismissed as “difficult to spell/say/remember”. Especially if, as I would venture to guess, you are perfectly capable of remembering how to spell Aberystwyth and how to correctly pronounce Worcestershire. Please check your unconscious biases at the door.

        • Lady London says:

          Was that the antifemale bias, or the anti-Roumanian bias?

      • Cranzle says:

        Given the size of his family, and the fact they travel a lot, especially when they were living in LA, I would think he bring a lot of commercial value to BA.

        I’m sure they will happy to lose you as a customer and keep him.

  • Richie says:

    Other bloggers bragging? What a surprise.

  • AK says:

    Does it also get you priority access to the toilet on board, and, if it’s occupied, will the crew forcibly vacate it for you? If not, i’m not interested.

    • Peter K says:

      Not sure how many flights I’ve been on with just “the toilet” on board. Is this on a private jet charter? 😁

      • aseftel says:

        F cabin on the 789? 😉

      • Colin MacKinnon says:

        Try First on a 787?

      • Rob says:

        Most small private jets don’t have a toilet (see HfP content passim) – you get a portaloo and a curtain to pull around whilst using it.

        • Optimus Prime says:

          Just a curtain? So you better pray nobody has to do a #2?

          • Mike says:

            Oh, please google the story of a first-time private jet flyer who, on the return leg of a trip to close an M&A deal, found himself in this exact situation. After a night of celebratory wining & dining. In front of several business colleagues.

          • The Savage Squirrel says:

            I was just thinking of exactly this. Can’t remember where I read it but I’ll bet the link was from here 😀

          • Russ says:

            There’s a story about this in a book called “Straight to Hell” – a word of warning, it’s one of the tamer stories…

        • Lady London says:

          An invitation to join the CEO of one company I worked for on the private jet was always dreaded. They all preferred to fly First.

          Trouble was, often the cost of the private jet could be justified if people took it instead of First.

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