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Should British Airways Executive Club introduce Lifetime Silver status?

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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 Executive Club status cards

British Airways already has Lifetime Gold status

This HfP article explains how Lifetime Gold status in British Airways Executive Club works.

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?

Conclusion

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.


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Comments (126)

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

  • James Wyatt says:

    This is quite a fun idea but totally ludicrous as BA would need tons more lounge space. I am a silver member of many years but I “hang on” by the seat of my pants every year. But it is a great perk – particularly as I have 3 (adult) kids – so lounge access and seat booking etc…. But lifetime? No. Makes no business sense at all

  • Gareth says:

    I’m in Robs camp, lifetime gold is no better than life time silver would be. But then again gold isn’t any better than silver. So if they introduce life time silver perhaps they can improve gold. As a twice a year CW leisure traveller only improvement I want is better Avios availability. As I don’t live near Hrow don’t use BA for short haul.

    Even the priority boarding is useless.

    As I did a lot of my flying before tier points. Then all before gold GL , miffed that my 80000 points gets me no more than 35000 would have.

  • Nigel says:

    Can lifetime gold be achieved by busines users too? I would never get to gold with my own money, even though I fly eight or so times a year in business or premium economy. Silver for life would be fantastic, as long as not too low.

  • TK says:

    I think you’re begging the question – what is the point of Gold if, for most people, Silver is good enough? Instead, they should enhance Gold so that people really want to go for it, and then make Lifetime Silver something worth pursuing but for those who don’t want the even better benefits of Gold.

  • Andrew says:

    The answer is simple:

    If you are Lifetime Gold, the answer is No
    If you are not Lifetime Gold, but would qualify (or are close to qualifying) for Lifetime Silver the answer is Yes.

  • NWMGC says:

    I have been travelling with BA and its predecessors since 1959, so a lifetime something would be welcome. As I have amassed fewer than 15,000 tier points in all those years I am unlikely to reach 35,000!

  • Steve Banham says:

    I achieved 29,000 tier points before I retired and have managed to earn another 940 and hang onto bronze (just) using BA for leisure trips. I never going to reach lifetime gold now but lifetime silver at say 30,000 tier points would certainly incentivize me to continue using BA whenever affordable. Inevitably I will lose bronze at some point in the future so despite being a good BA customer for many years the incentive to continue using them as my preferred carrier will be gone once I lose bronze status.

  • Steven Jack says:

    I think they should skip lifetime silver, especially as it would put significant pressure on lounges, but instead offer lifetime Bronze at 20k TP, the free seat selection 7 days before the flight is a valuable perk to shoot for but still worth going for gold as no fast track security and no lounge access

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

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