One idea occasionally mooted by readers as a way of improving British Airways Executive Club (although, to be fair, the scheme is competitive by global standards) is introducing Lifetime Silver status for long term members who hit a specific tier point target.
Whilst this sounds sensible, I am not totally convinced. Let me explain why.
British Airways already has Lifetime Gold status
To give credit to BA it is very simple. You need to earn 35,000 tier points. That’s it.
There are no restrictions on where those points come from (BA or partners).
Unlike some ‘lifetime’ schemes, there are no restrictions on how many years of Gold, or even consecutive years of Gold, you need to have on top of the points.
Hit 35,000 tier points and Lifetime Gold is yours.
Is it worth introducing Lifetime Silver?
If British Airways is happy to give out Lifetime Gold for 35,000 tier points, surely it would make sense to introduce Lifetime Silver at, say, 20,000 tier points?
Perhaps oddly, I’m not convinced.
The case AGAINST Lifetime Silver
I think the majority of people with Lifetime Gold would have been happy with Lifetime Silver instead. This is a problem for British Airways, because it doesn’t want people to ease off the throttle too early in their career.
For every person who spends a bit more in order to reach Lifetime Silver and who would never had a chance of getting Lifetime Gold, there will be someone else who has Lifetime Silver and no longer sees any benefit in pushing further.
For someone travelling 4-5 times per year in retirement on their own money, they are looking for the following benefits:
- lounge access
- free seat selection
- fast track security and check-in
Lifetime Silver would provide all this, if it was on offer. Lifetime Gold doesn’t provide much on top. For the sake of a handful of flights per year in retirement – or during later working life for occasional business trips – using the Galleries Club lounge versus Galleries First doesn’t make a major difference. Neither does using the First Wing versus standard Fast Track.
If these people could hit Lifetime Silver at 20,000 tier points, how many would stop there? Quite a lot, which is bad news for BA. The effort required to earn the extra 10,000 to 15,000 points may not be worth the reward.
The case FOR Lifetime Silver
Of course, this could be outweighed. There will be other people who – if on, say, 15,000 lifetime tier points to date – might start pushing money towards British Airways because Lifetime Silver is achievable, in a way that Lifetime Gold is not.
This isn’t really the British Airways way, however. It has been happy to add extra tiers at the top – Gold Guest List, Concorde Room cards etc – to butter up passengers who, oddly, may never have spent 1p of their personal money on BA in their life.
In the new post-pandemic world, BA may realise that throwing Gold Guest List status and Concorde Room cards at people who have never personally spent a penny with the airline counted for nothing. Their employers won’t let them fly as much as they did pre-2020 and they don’t spend on BA for leisure.
For the next few years, business class cabins are going to be filled more heavily with leisure travellers on attractive deals. Dangling the carrot of Lifetime Silver may persuade some leisure travellers who are nearing 20,000 tier points to book these cabins for the tier points. In reality, I doubt it would move the needle enough.
However …. there is another angle which might convince the airline. If BA announced Lifetime Silver, it would result in an immediate status upgrade for many who lost status after the pandemic due to reduced flying, a job change, new company travel policies, retirement or redundancy.
Having meaningful status again may encourage these people to put leisure spend to British Airways which may otherwise have gone elsewhere. The older you get, the more the benefits of an easy status-led journey through the airport appeal. Is there enough lounge capacity to cope with these people though?
If British Airways decides that, long term, it needs to target the premium leisure market over the business market to fill its premium cabins, there may some logic in launching Lifetime Silver status. Lifetime Gold will virtually never trouble anyone who pays their own way. Personally, I’m not convinced.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (December 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. These points convert at 1:1 into Avios.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive 30,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 30,000 Avios) with American Express Preferred Rewards Gold. You receive 25,000 points if you spend £3,000 in three months and a further 5,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive a huge 100,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 100,000 Avios) with The Platinum Card. You receive 75,000 points if you spend £10,000 in six months and a further 25,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold
Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY), FREE for a year & four airport ….. Read our full review
The Platinum Card from American Express
Crazy 100,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY) and a huge range of valuable 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 10,500 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.