Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

How to time your promotion to British Airways Executive Club Silver status to maximise benefits

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Having status is good, but maximising the amount of time you will have that status is even better.

This isn’t as simple as it seems with British Airways because your membership year is fixed on the day you join Executive Club.  This can impact your plans for achieving status.

What we are looking at here is how to time your flights to ensure that you retain your Executive Club status for the longest possible period.

How to time your promotion to British Airways Executive Club Silver status

Let’s remind ourselves of a few key rules regarding your British Airways Executive Club membership year:

  • All tier point years end on the 8th of the relevant month
  • You cannot – under any circumstances – change your British Airways Executive Club year end date.  This is a major pain for couples who can take identical flights to find that only one of them earns status due to the way flights fall across membership years.
  • British Airways Executive Club has a GUARANTEED ‘soft landing’ – however few flights you take, you will only drop one level if you fail to retain your current status

When you earn British Airways Executive Club status, you retain it for:

  • the remainder of your current membership year, and
  • all of the following membership year, and
  • until the end of the month following your tier point anniversary (so if your tier point year ends on 8th March, your existing status will continue until 30th April)

We will look at this in a worked example below.

How to time your promotion to British Airways Executive Club Silver status

How can you maximise your BA Executive Club status?

Let’s imagine that your British Airways Executive Club tier point year ends on 8th MarchYou can’t change that so you need to live with it

If your goal is lounge access and free BA seat selection for as long as possible, your goal should be to earn Executive Club Silver status as quickly as you can after 8th March 2023.  This requires:

  • 600 British Airways Executive Club tier points, and
  • four British Airways or Iberia one-way cash flights

The most pleasant way to earn 560 Executive Club tier points is a Qatar Airways business class flight to Asia.  As well as being relatively good value in a sale, this option has the advantage of getting you a great holiday as well.

Any flight on a British Airways partner airline earns 140 tier points if it is over 2,000 miles.  Europe to Doha is usually over 2,000 miles in Business Class, as is Doha to Asia.  A return flight is therefore (140 x 4) 560 tier points.

You are still 40 tier points short but these can be easily picked up via short haul flights.

If you want to head west, a Business Class trip to the US west coast with an aircraft change on the east coast would also get you two flights in each direction of over 2,000 miles. You’d be flying either a mix of British Airways and American Airlines or just American Airlines.

If you only want to fly short haul ….

There are also easy short haul options for getting 600 tier points.

Just four short breaks in Club Europe on routes which earn 160 tier points like Athens or Malta would do it.  This is arguably less fun and certainly less comfortable, flight wise, than a Qatar Airways Business Class holiday, but is also easier. It can also be cheaper.

How to time your promotion to British Airways Executive Club Silver status

Don’t forget the great BA Holidays ‘double tier points’ promotion

Remember that, if you have the time for a 5+ day break, you will earn double tier points in the current BA Holidays promotion. This would allow you to hit 640 tier points with just two x 5-night short breaks on 160 tier point Club Europe routes.

Details of that offer are on here.

The example below assumes that you do NOT use this promotion as your stays will be under five nights.

Here is a worked example

In our example, your British Airways Executive Club membership year starts annually on 9th March.

Let’s assume that you manage to do four short breaks on 160 tier point routes in March and April 2023, with no flight earlier than 9th March 2023. The list of BA routes earning 160 tier points in Club Europe is here.

This will get you to 640 tier points which is enough to hit Executive Club Silver status.

Let’s imagine that you have a busy few weeks and achieve all of this by 30th April 2023.

How long will my British Airways Silver status last?

You’ve done very well.  You will be Silver from:

  • late April 2023 until 8th March 2024 (your current membership year)
  • 9th March 2024 until 8th March 2025 (your following membership year)
  • 9th March 2025 until 30th April 2025 (your run-off period as Silver)

You then get your guaranteed soft landing to Bronze.  You will be Bronze from:

  • 1st May 2025 to 8th March 2026 (your membership year)
  • 9th March 2026 to 30th April 2026 (your run-off period as Bronze)

Only on 1st May 2026 will you drop back to Blue.

How to time your promotion to British Airways Executive Club Silver status

This means, if you time it right:

  • You have British Airways Executive Club Silver status for 25 months, from late April 2023 to 31st April 2025 (lounge access, free seat selection, priority security, priority check-in, priority boarding etc)
  • You have British Airways Executive Club Bronze status for a further 12 months from 1st May 2025 to 30th April 2026 (main benefit of Bronze is free seat selection from seven days before departure)

How much would this cost?

Your total cost to ‘earn’ this is probably around £1,250.  This is the cost of four Club Europe return flights at £300ish each to cities which earn 160 tier points. You’d need to stay away over a Saturday night to get these fares.

We’re obviously excluding hotels, transfers etc, but we are also ignoring the fact that you will get four pleasant short breaks for your £1,250.

BA’s Low Fare Finder, click here, currently shows Athens at £308 return in March 2023.  Catania is £366, Sofia is £226, Tirana is £278, Marrakech is £465, Bucharest is £372, Tenerife is £384 etc.  These are all 160 tier point routes.

If you must have lounge access, and so you need to remain Silver at all times, you are looking at a short burst of flying every two years.

This strategy won’t suit everyone.  However, if you enjoy Business Class holidays and enjoy British Airways lounge access and the other perks whenever you travel, this is a good model to follow.  The key is timing it to trigger your Silver card as quickly as possible after the start of your membership year.

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (May 2024)

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:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

Get 25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £15,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points. These points convert at 1:1 into Avios.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

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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.

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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.

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40,000 points sign-up bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

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Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

Comments (83)

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

  • riku says:

    >>you are looking at a short burst of flying every two years. ..if you enjoy Business Class holidays and enjoy British Airways lounge access

    This sounds like status for the sake of status. In this “short burst” in business class you get lounge access anyway. The main reason for getting silver status is to benefit from it when you are flying and those flights will also earn tier points but you’ve explained how somebody who hardly flies can earn silver status for £1,250 by taking business class flights where you get most of the benefits from silver anyway.

    • lumma says:

      The point is spending this £1250 quickly so you can fly in BA short haul economy for the rest of the time you’re Silver and get 99% off the benefits of Club Europe without paying for it. I’d prefer to choose an exit row for free as Silver than sit in most Club Europe seats, even with the empty middle seat and food and drinks in Club.

      It can also make Long Haul economy decent with lounge access and free choice of extra legroom seats.

      • Polly says:

        Plus as bronze, if you get soft landing, you can check in at business class. (We were bronze end of Sept to Dec 22, but had pre booked any Y exit seats we needed when silver) This really helps in intra Asia with long Y queues on MH or CX. Mostly lucky to find J say on 3hr plus flights. Def worth getting the timing right.

    • BA Flyer IHG Stayer says:

      Baggage allowance is a major benefit

      If I just fly Club then the allowance is 2x 23KG. With Silver then that’s 2x32kg and that plus an extra bag if Gold.

    • HH says:

      Yes and no. I do this because I spend every other weekend in Switzerland, and while I’m fine with doing the one hour flight in Economy, I’m not fine doing it without fast track security, lounge access, priority boarding, early seat selection (inc exit row)… So as soon as I drop below Silver, I book all my flights in CE for 3 months or so until I’m back to Silver for another 21 months.

      • jjoohhnn says:

        Maybe you should time when you book those flights in CE so you don’t drop below silver!

        • HH says:

          The main point of this article is that if you time it just after collection year resets, you keep your status for almost 2 years. If I wanted to never lose it, I’d have to do it every year, with virtually no added benefit but twice the cost!

  • His Holyness says:

    I’d guess the going rate for a gifted Silver from a GGL is nowhere near £1250…

  • Save East Coast Rewards says:

    After reading the tier point run thread on FlyerTalk I managed to tweak one of the runs mentioned on there to suit our needs and with the BA Holidays double tier point offer it will get each of us 1560 TP which is enough to renew gold and for me is halfway to GGL renewal. It cost around £2100 got some interesting flights and a trip to Vegas+SF

    One key to this was to split the cost of the car among us. Assuming you’re hiring a regular sized car you can share the car with up to five people. You pay BA.Holidays one deposit and then for paying the rest each person can do that online through MMB before the payment deadline.

    If you don’t want the car and are just doing it for the extra points then you’ll probably get away with not collecting it, but we decided it would be useful.

    The basic route is JER-LAS//SFO-MAN (we’re using the car to get between LAS and SFO and spending six nights with the car starting in Vegas and then visiting other places enroute to San Francisco (actual itinerary when there still to be decided)
    The full route is:
    Everything except LAX-LAS is booked on BA codes so gets double TP, starting in JER is considered UK by BA in terms of the double TP offer but is not part of the UK so avoids the APD bill.

    Others on FT managed JER-LHR-HEL-JFK on the way out but there wasn’t the availability for 4 on the days I checked. Both LHR-HEL and LHR-MAN earn 80TP per leg and that’s doubled if booked on BA codes.

    As for flights it lets us fly some decent aircraft. LHR-JFK there and back is in club suites. Then we have the AA transcon J to cross the US both ways. LHR-HEL is on a Finnair 350 and HEL-MAN is on an Embraer. Much more fun that flying lots of Club Europe to earn the points.

    • Thomas says:

      Thx ECR, I was looking at that thread as it’s time I do my first TPR to reach Gold for the first time, but don’t have a clue how to go about it. Can I ask you what method/class of travel to JER, (your start point) you intend? Thx in advance.

      • Save East Coast Rewards says:

        To get to JER I’m not sure yet, if I’m still in Italy at that point I’ll have to fly BLQ-LHR-JER and so probably will book that with Avios unless the rate is good. If I’m back in London I’d likely just book a single in Economy and upgrade to CE if a good offer comes along.

        As for booking the main trip you can’t do that online as it’s too complex for BA’s IT but if you have every step of your trip planned you can work through it leg by leg with them (ask the agent if they would like you to email the itinerary through to them as some will prefer reading it on the screen)

    • mvcvz says:

      Six adults plus baggage in a regular size car? I don’t want to travel with you. Did you all share the same single hotel room as well?

      • Save East Coast Rewards says:

        Four of us are going on the trip (me + three others) but you can book a car for up to five people. We decided to use the car, but not everyone wants to use it, it’s a way of triggering the double tier points but also allows you to pay a deposit and the full amount later.

  • Jane says:

    The Qatar option to Asia is good but don’t you still need 4 BA flights?

    • Polly says:

      Yes you would need to factor in x 2 short trips Y/CE. Or, 1 or 2 of your QR sectors could be on BA, if you are lucky. Then you only need 1 CE/Y trip to complete your 4 BA sectors, and final 40 TPs.

    • Nancy says:

      Depends. If the Qatar flights are booked with a BA flight number then these count as eligible flights.

      • Jonathan says:

        You could also take a BA flight LGW-DOH

        • Jane says:

          I’ve done that in both directions and what a mission to collect points and avios!! Luckily I have a BA friend

  • Just Nick says:

    @east coast. How do you actually book such complex routes. Is it through the BA website or do you have to use an agent?

    • BA Flyer IHG Stayer says:

      I use BA Hols multi city / leg tool and add in one night at a hotel.

      The flight only version is absolutely pants. BA also seem not to accept pass through from google flights for multi city anymore.

    • The Original Nick says:

      @Just Nick, probably using ITA Matrix.

    • Save East Coast Rewards says:

      The one I booked was too complex for BA’s website so I spoke to an agent. They gave me their email address, I sent the booking details to them and they worked through it. You will need to call BA Holidays, if you dial the gold or silver line you can get through to BA Holidays by pressing the right buttons (make a booking, then including flight/hotel), once you get through ask them if they prefer you to go through line by line or to email the details to them (if you email the details to them make sure you include everything from the ITA Matrix including fare basis).

      I’ve used “BA Flyer IHG Stayer”s method of booking most complex journeys using the multi city holiday planner (but remember for the double TP you’ll need 5 nights hotel or car to trigger the bonus) but this particular run was too complex for that.

      Once this promotion ends (or single TP is enough for you needs) it’s still worth considering BA holidays and throwing in a night in a cheap hotel or a car for a few hours you don’t intend to use as BA Holidays gives you the opportunity to pay a deposit and the rest later

  • T Martens says:

    I’m just 20 points short – can I purchase a single flight to earn the required number but not actually fly?

  • BA Flyer IHG Stayer says:

    “If you want to head west, a Business Class trip to the US west coast with an aircraft change on the east coast would also get you two flights in each direction of over 2,000 miles. You’d be flying either a mix of British Airways and American Airlines or just American Airlines.”

    This is a good strategy (which I’ve used) but one which needs careful planning.

    There are only a handful of AA operated routes that have lay flat seats between the east and west coasts.

    They only have 4 JFK-SFO flights a day and half dozen or so twixt JFK and LAX and it can be tricky to find one with a relatively short connection off a TATL to do it all on the same day (and if you do it’s all going to get rejigged anyway by AA anyway).

    There are plenty of Jet Blue flights with AA codes but they won’t earn you BA TPs even with an AA code.

    Also do it as an ex EU and you’ll be over the 600 silver threshold and likely save some money.

    I’m doing DUB-LHR-JFK-SFO return in March for £1500 as a BA holiday with one night in the Sofitel LHR booked last October. Would have been closer to £ 1350 if I’d chosen a cheaper LHR hotel.

    There are other 2k miles / 140 TP routes to Hawaii but only a small number of flights with lay flats.

    • Polly says:

      Yes on the HNL run, you have to fly via DFW HNL, as AA have the flat beds on that route

    • lumma says:

      It’s hardly the end of the world if you end up in regular AA Domestic First for the transcontinental flight. It’s not as if it’s a economy seat with a blocked middle

  • Stuart says:

    My year is exactly this. Ends on 8th March then 4 x SOF J flights (B2B nested) in March for less than £1K (total) giving me Silver for next 25 months.

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