British Airways Executive Club emailed all members yesterday – including, in my case, family accounts that have been untouched for over five years – to remind them about the removal of reduced tier point thresholds on 31st December.
This was a sensible move, since my own inbox is living proof that people have struggled to understand how this works. It isn’t surprising given that different members are under different rules depending on when their membership year ends.
I want to run through the current situation again. This is especially important because the BA email was vague and ba.com is currently showing incorrect (or only partially correct) information for some people on their targets.
The official information is on ba.com here.
Before I go on, I want to stress that British Airways is now done with status extensions and extensions to American Express companion vouchers.
I would imagine that BA is keen to see the number of elite members fall because – with passengers still arriving far earlier than usual at airports – lounges continue to be creaking at the seams.
How many tier points do you currently need to earn or retain British Airways status?
Here is what you need to do if you want to earn or retain British Airways Executive Club status this year.
The following tier point rules apply until 31st December 2022:
- Bronze status will require 225 tier points or 18 eligible flights
- Silver status will require 450 tier points or 37 eligible flights
- Gold status will require 1,125 tier points
The requirements for each tier have been reduced by 25% until the year end.
Whilst we don’t normally cover it, Gold Guest List thresholds have been reduced to 3,750 tier points to earn it and 2,250 tier points to retain it.
From 1st January 2023, the normal thresholds apply:
- Bronze status will require 300 tier points or 25 eligible flights
- Silver status will require 600 tier points or 50 eligible flights
- Gold status will require 1,500 tier points
You can confirm this on ba.com here.
Here is the important thing to understand: the thresholds above apply regardless of your membership year end. Your target is going to change part way through your membership year.
Let’s assume you are currently Silver and your tier point year ends on 8th February 2023. To requalify you must EITHER:
- earn 450 tier points by 31st December 2022, or
- earn the full 600 tier points by 8th February 2023
However, let’s assume that you are currently Silver and your tier point year ends on 8th December 2022. To requalify this year, you need to earn 450 tier points by 8th December 2022. To requalify for the following year you must EITHER:
- earn 450 tier points between 9th December 2022 and 31st December 2022, or
- earn the full 600 tier points by 8th December 2023
Clearly people in this position won’t get much use out of the 450 tier point threshold for the 2022 calendar year.
I think British Airways could have made this clearer in their emails yesterday. It wouldn’t have been difficult to have one email go to, say, Gold members with 9th November or 9th December year-ends, and a different email go to all other Gold members.
Your tier points still reset to zero on your renewal date
Some people have mistakenly thought that BA has stopped resetting your tier points to zero on your anniversary date. It hasn’t.
If you currently have 400 tier points, are pushing for Silver status and your membership year ends on 8th November then:
- you need to earn an extra 50 tier points by 8th November, or
- your tier points will reset to zero on 9th November and you then need to earn a further 450 tier points before 31st December 2022, or
- your tier points will reset to zero on 9th November and you then need to earn a further 600 tier points before 8th November 2023
How can you earn British Airways tier points quickly?
This HfP article shows you the number of tier points you earn by route and by ticket class when flying on British Airways.
If I had to summarise my suggestions for hitting your target:
Need up to 45 tier points?
Book a return flight to ‘near’ Europe or a UK domestic, flying one way in Economy (5 tier points) and one way in Club Europe (40 tier points).
If you book Club Europe for your outbound flight, you will have to pay business class Air Passenger Duty but, on the upside, can benefit from the lounges at Heathrow plus fast track etc. If you book Club Europe for your return, your ticket will be cheaper but the business class perks when departing may be fewer.
Need 50 to 80 tier points?
A Club Europe return to a UK domestic destination or ‘near Europe’ will earn 80 tier points. The list here clearly shows cities earning 40 tier points each way.
Need 85 to 160 tier points?
These routes (click) are the longer Club Europe routes which earn 160 tier points for a return trip. Even better, because these are mainly holiday routes, they can be cheaper out of season than some 80 tier point routes. How about a break in Malta, Athens etc?
Need more than 160 tier points?
Normally I would suggest a long haul Club World flight on British Airways (280 tier points return, fewer if you mix classes) but these are expensive at the moment.
It may be easier to earn what you need via multiple long weekends in cities on the ‘160 tier points’ list.
Needs up to 560 tier points?
The ‘best value’ way to earn up to 560 tier points is a long-haul flight on Qatar Airways to Asia or further. As long as each flight is over 2,000 miles, your trip will be treated as four long haul flights for tier point purposes (eg UK to Doha, Doha to Bangkok, Bangkok to Doha, Doha to UK).
This earns (140 tier points x 4) 560 tier points return.
Remember that your trip is likely to be cheaper, and earns the same tier points, if you start in, say, Amsterdam and go Amsterdam – Doha and onwards. Unfortunately you are unlikely to see any good deals over the World Cup period.
And don’t forget ….
Don’t forget that you cannot earn British Airways status purely from partner airlines such as Qatar Airways. You still need four one-way British Airways or Iberia cash flights in your membership year to earn Silver or Gold, or two for Bronze. Reward flights do not count.
You still have two and a half months to earn or retain status under the reduced thresholds ….. why not see what you can do?
PS. Don’t forget that British Airways Holidays is still offering double tier points on 5+ night bookings. The bonus tier points are now posting promptly, around 14 days after your flight.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (September 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:
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.
EDIT: Applications for this card are temporarily suspended due to IT issues with the British Airways On Business SME loyalty scheme.
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.