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Getting British Airways Silver Status

Getting British Airways Silver Status

Background:

I lived for about a year in the USA, and shortly before moving there joined the American Airlines’ loyalty programme. As I was travelling a lot, I quickly attained status with them, and by default with all the other Oneworld Alliance airlines. Having the benefits of status made travel so much better that I made sure I have never been without it since.

This year though, I moved back to the UK. At the same time American Airlines have devalued their loyalty programme, making it more difficult to maintain status with them. So, I asked myself the fundamental question, “what is the most important factor for me in joining a loyalty programme?” I determined that the status was more important to me than the miles. Now that I am based in the UK again, I will be taking a lot more short flights around Europe, and the ability to check-in at business class counters, use the lounges and have priority bags is important, especially as I would generally never pay for a business class seat on a short flight.

With that in mind, I looked at what would be the easiest way to get the status I needed. My decision was to go with British Airways – see the reasons below.

Reasons I chose British Airways Executive Club

  1. Silver Status with British Airways gives me the status perks that I am looking for.
  2. With my travel plans, reaching Silver Status through British Airways was possibly the easiest option of all the frequent flyer programmes I looked at.
  3. Living in the UK means I could take out an American Express credit card and earn avios for every £ I spend, and bonus points when buying tickets on British Airways.

Requirements to reach silver status

  •  Collect 600 Tier Points during your Executive Club Year
  • Fly at least 4 flights on British Airways

Silver Status Perks

  • 50% bonus Avios
  • collect Tier Points
  • save details and preferences
  • Member-only offers
  • priority check-in
  • priority boarding*
  • free seat selection from time of booking*
  • access to business lounges
  • additional baggage allowance*

 *Some restrictions apply

Collecting 600 Tier Points

When you fly with British Airways or a Oneworld partner airline you earn Tier Points – these count towards your status. Understanding the difference between Tier Points and Avios is one of the most complex issues for new mileage collectors to understand – click here for our attempt to explain difference! The higher the fare class the more Tier Points you earn. So if you take the cheapest economy flight you can find, you earn the lowest number of Tier Points. If you splurge on First Class the most Tier Points you earn. If you plan ahead, and look out for specials you can earn great Tier Points for not too much money. The difference in the Tier Points you earn between a cheap economy ticket and business class can be vast.

So I need to collect 600 Tier Points. At the beginning of the year Qatar Airways had their usual big worldwide sale. I had been planning a trip to Thailand and had waited for the sale. As usual though, ticket prices from the UK were considerable more expensive than from other destinations. I checked all the fare from the UK, Paris, Amsterdam, Madrid, Frankfurt, Copenhagen and Oslo to Bangkok. The cheapest were the fares from Oslo. I was flexible with my dates and found a great price in March. I then checked with British Airways for connecting flights from Heathrow to Oslo and back to connect to the Qatar Airways flights.

I won’t be staying in Bangkok though. I am going to spend a few days in Kuala Lumpur and then onwards to an island in the extreme south of Thailand, most easily reached from Langkawi. So I also bought tickets on Malaysian Airlines Kulala Lumpur – Langkawi return.

In the end this is what I bought:

  1. Qatar Airways return business class ticket Oslo to Bangkok (the flight goes via Doha where you change planes) – £790.04
  2. British Airways return economy class ticket London to Oslo – £174.51
  3. Malaysia Airlines return economy class ticket Kuala Lumpur – Langkawi – £64.39

 Total: £1,028.94

  1. London to Oslo – British Airways economy class (Q class) – 5 Tier Points
  2. Oslo to Doha – Qatar Airways business class (I class) – 140 Tier Points
  3. Doha to Bangkok – Qatar Airways business class (I class) – 140 Tier Points
  4. Kuala Lumpur to Langkawi – Malaysia Airlines economy class (v class) – 5 Tier Points
  5. Langkawi to Kuala Lumpur – Malaysia Airlines economy class (v class) – 5 Tier Points
  6. Bangkok to Doha – Qatar Airways business class (I class) – 140 Tier Points
  7. Doha to Oslo – Qatar Airways business class (I class) – 140 Tier Points
  8. Oslo to London – British Airways economy class (Q class) – 5 Tier Points

 Total : 580 Tier Points

In May, I will be heading to Athens for a few days. As it should be warmish and I am only there for a couple of days, I have opted for the British Airways Hand Baggage Only fare. It is a restrictive fare, and because you cannot choose seats in advance (even with status) you could well end up in a middle seat, but the fare is great.

  1.  British Airways return economy class ticket London – Athens – £123.11
  2.  London to Athens – British Airways economy class (O class) – 10 Tier Points
  3. Athens to London – British Airways economy class (O class) – 10 Tier Points

 Total : 20 Tier Points

  •  Total Spend: £1,152.05
  • Total Tier Points: 600
  • Total number of flights on British Airways: 4
  • Status achieved Silver!

As my British Aiways executive club year starts and end in November, I will have all the benefits of Silver Status until November 2007.

Top Tip: Always look at the options of flights from cities outside of the UK, especially when looking at Business Class tickets, the savings can be enormous. In the example above, even with the added cost of the ticket from London to Oslo return, the overall cost was still more than £1,000 cheaper than flying from London. As there are two of us flying that is a considerable saving, and there is the added bonus that we have added a weekend in Oslo on the way back, and still saving a fortune. If you are a die hard British Airways fan, this is even more true, flights from nearby cities can save you a lot of money. On a random search (done on the 28th febraury 2016) for a return business class ticket London to Cape Town departing on the 20th May and back on the 6th of June, the price on British Airways was £3,884. By choosing another departure point the savings were considerable. Flying from Paris was £2,588, from Dublin was £2,576, from Oslo was £2,208 and from Amsterdam was only £1,966, that is a saving of £1,918.00 per ticket, and you are still flying on the same plane from London to Cape Town, and you are getting two extra business class flights included Amsterdam - London - Amsterdam. Obviously it is more complicated, and means you have to buy a seperate ticket London - Amsterdam and back to connect, but that should only be around £120.00. And why not add a night or two in Amsterdam as part of your trip.

Warwick