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Forums Frequent flyer programs British Airways Executive Club Paid for seat reservation or Tier Point run for silver worth doing?

  • Jonathans 128 posts

    I dont travel for work and I rarely (never) usually pay for BA flights as everything i do is generally redemption earning points from my BA Amex PP spend ot CoT credit card. We are a family of 4 and my tier point clock resets in July. I have 4 sets of return flight redemptions (for all 4 of us) next year which all depart from London with destinations ranging from Austria to Florida meaning seat reservations for the four of us range from £40 per flight to £500. There is a good chance there will be 2 or 3 return flights in 2025 too with BA.

    Should I pay the circa £2k for all the seat reservations, leave it to luck or aim to get silver really quickly by doing a tier point run? I currently have zero tier points so it would mean starting from scratch. I don’t really want to spend any nights away from home but day trips would work, I looked at 4 day trips to Malta (but they seem to need an overnight stay) or Sofia for example. OR 8 returns to Amsterdam, or 1 really long multi sector journey but not sure how feasible this is.

    What is the collective wisdom to this scenario please?

    Thanks

    Luca M 391 posts

    Probably worth few TP runs, particularly using BA holiday double TP offers: it would work something like this, just as an example:

    Booking 1: 5 days RTN CE + car rental LHR-SOF (day 1 to day 5), pick the car and park it somewhere, need 1 night sleep though as need to actually collect the car. 320 TP
    Booking 2: RTN CE SOF-LHR (day 2 to day 4), on day 5, pick the car from where it was parked, return it at the airport, fly back with return leg of Booking 1. 160TP.
    For around £500 should return 480TP.

    Booking 3: positioning flight in CE to a domestic airport. 40TP
    booking 4: RTN Domestic in CE, 80TP

    Not Long Now... 98 posts

    How much do you value being able to choose seats? Thankfully BA aren’t yet resorting to Ryanair tactics of deliberately splitting seats for bookings, so would probably end up together if not in ‘preferred’ seating. And of course, even reserved seats aren’t guaranteed…
    If you really want to pick and choose, and have the time to do it, TP runs would seem the better option as you’d generate a few Avios too, and of course Silver would get you and a guest into the lounge if the ticket doesn’t, but then if there’s 4 of you, maybe not so useful…
    Personally, paying nearly £2000 to attempt to sit where you want, especially if including short hauls, seems crazy.

    MrWhite 50 posts

    Agree with Not Long Now…

    £2K seems crazy to reserve seats, but if you’re cash rich, time poor then it may work for you. Just doing TP runs is a lot of time – do you really want to be doing Sofia in a day just to bag some TPs and the cost of the tickets too.

    Getting to Bronze gives you seat selection 7 days in advance which is useful as long as everyone else isn’t silver/gold on the flight!

    John 1,051 posts

    Yes, spending £2000 on seats seems crazy when other families of 4 would spend less than £2000 on their entire holiday.

    Spending 4 full days and a big chunk of £2000 going somewhere you don’t want to go (which a different family of 4 would probably happily accept as their whole holiday), just so you can go somewhere you do want to go, is also crazy.

    If you travelled in economy and used taxis everywhere plus nicer hotels and day rooms at airport hotels to compensate, that might cost less than £2000 extra.

    As mentioned, Bronze is a good half-way point. You could also pay for Expertflyer to inform you about how the flights are filling up, or just keep an eye on what seats remain available for payment.

    While it’s too late now, were there no other mileage programmes you could have targeted to redeem on airlines that don’t charge for seat selection?

    NorthernLass 8,270 posts

    £2k is bonkers for seat selection. People complain about CE and CW but I’ve just done 2 Ryanair flights squashed between 2 strangers in each direction and BA business class is so far beyond that experience it doesn’t matter which actual seat you are in! Also, I have never paid for a seat in CE or CW and never felt my experience was substantially poorer because of it (and always ended up seated with the family).

    Having said that, I am impressed enough by Silver to want to retain it next year. If it’s a toss-up between paying for seats and getting Silver, try for the latter by booking some travel you will actually enjoy and get something from. I’m spending next summer and autumn visiting LYS, OPO and ATH and genuinely looking forward to trips as well as the TPs they will bring.

    DJP31 96 posts

    Spending £2k on seat selection does indeed sound crazy, but IMO it’s even crazier to spend that money just travelling purely for the sake of tier points. If you can go somewhere and get some value out of the time spent then fine, but to actually waste the most precious commodity we have – time, is utterly bonkers to me.

    I’d rather pay the crazy £2k for the seats and spend the time I would have wasted doing something I enjoyed.

    Bervios 37 posts

    Also worth mentioning if your booked CW flights have club suites there are no really bad seats and given the layout of them there are no real benefits of sitting together.

    Jonathans 128 posts

    Also worth mentioning if your booked CW flights have club suites there are no really bad seats and given the layout of them there are no real benefits of sitting together.

    Some of my flights are on the older Yin-Yang style seats which with my 4 and 7 year old kids are actually more preferred for our family. Otherwise i totally agree with the club suite it doesn’t really matter but again i would want to ensure i am with my little ones. We couldn’t book seats back from BGI earlier this year as they were all taken, and whilst BA did excellently to reseat passengers for us between check-in and boarding so we were all in a line, i do feel that expecting that every time will lead to us being disappointed at some points.

    Jonathans 128 posts

    Probably worth few TP runs, particularly using BA holiday double TP offers: it would work something like this, just as an example:

    Booking 1: 5 days RTN CE + car rental LHR-SOF (day 1 to day 5), pick the car and park it somewhere, need 1 night sleep though as need to actually collect the car. 320 TP
    Booking 2: RTN CE SOF-LHR (day 2 to day 4), on day 5, pick the car from where it was parked, return it at the airport, fly back with return leg of Booking 1. 160TP.
    For around £500 should return 480TP.

    Booking 3: positioning flight in CE to a domestic airport. 40TP
    booking 4: RTN Domestic in CE, 80TP

    I like this idea and never thought about booking 5+ nights but taking alternate flights in the middle. I have just looked up LHR>OTP for 7 nights + car hire for £514. Doubled up with BA double TP offer would be 320. Then doing the same in reverse OTP>LHR +car hire leaving later in the day on day 1, and returning earlier on day 7 for another 320 points for €514 i’m there for under a grand and only wasted 2 days of my life. But would bring me silver until Aug 25 which will cover at least 4 long-haul and 3 short-haul returns so i’m feeling this is a worthy investment at around £1.50 per TP.

    APPL 25 posts

    Double TP on BA Holidays only works on ex-UK flights, so won’t work for OTP-LHR with car.

    NorthernLass 8,270 posts

    Yes, check the Ts and Cs as they are quite prescriptive and also changed recently. Trip has to start and end in the UK, I think.

    The real Swiss Tony 700 posts

    Going back to @Luca M’s well laid out example…

    Why not enhance that by starting in, say EDI

    So EDI-LHR-SOF, 5 days car, then SOF-LHR 200TPs at 2x on BA Holidays deal – 400 TPs
    nested SOF-LHR-SOF flight 160TPs
    One way LON-EDI = 40TPs

    I feel the OP’s pain – about to lose silver and with a family of 5, it has been very useful. Upshot is though that it disincentivises me from booking future family trips on BA.

    Ladyshopper 124 posts

    Is it silver I’d need to get to in order to get extra luggage allowance on Qatar through the matched one world schemes? I find it quite tricky knowing how the schemes are matched and what you get.

    Lyn 187 posts

    If you did reach Silver but didn’t maintain it, you should get a soft landing to Bronze the following year. This would still let you choose seats 7 days ahead.

    If any of your flights are in economy or premium economy, the other benefits of Silver or Bronze such as priority check-in and boarding, and extra luggage could also be useful as a family.

    Lady London 2,140 posts

    Depending on when the bookings are that you’re looking to cover seat reservations for, it could be worth you making sure your earning falls just after your year renewal. That would then give you almost 2 years of Silver as you get rest of same year then 1 whole year, then in 3rd year you drop to Bronze.

    Remember also that kids up to about 12 I think, still legally have to be seated with a parent, I think it can be same row or not quite next to you but still very close.

    This whole question where you’re such a clear cut case does just show up how high seat charges are.

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