I really value my Silver status in the Executive Club program.
I first earned Silver status many years ago thanks to a cheap Qatar Airways business-class flight to Europe. Later, thanks to the double promo of double Tier Points for BA Holidays and the 25% Tier Point threshold reduction, I was able to requalify for Silver again last year after flying a single return trip to Greece.
British Airways Silver status comes with the following perks on BA flights:
- Lounge access.
- Free seat selection when booking.
- Priority check-in.
- Increased luggage allowance.
- Priority boarding.
- Priority luggage delivery.
- Priority security where available.
- Increased points earning for your flights.
- Priority phone support.
I appreciate all these benefits as a U.K.-based traveler, especially free seat selection and lounge access.
While the double Tier Points offer from British Airways Holidays has been generously extended through Sept. 30, the 25% Tier Point threshold ends Dec. 31, and BA has recently confirmed they will not be extending it.
This isn’t really a surprise. Status is designed for those traveling frequently, and with the pandemic travel restrictions now mostly over, there’s no real excuse not to travel if you want to earn status.
With only a few months before Tier Point requirements increase to normal thresholds, I — along with the TPG team and no doubt many of our readers — have been carefully considering how to maximize my status before the end of this year.
I will easily requalify for Silver status this year as I travel frequently with BA and their partner airlines for both work and personal travel. However, I have decided to stretch myself and go for Gold status for the very first time before Dec. 31 this year.
What’s the difference between the two statuses and why is it worth the time and cost commitment?
Here are five reasons I’ve decided to go for Gold.
It’s never been easier to earn Gold
I will only need 1,150 Tier Points by Dec. 31, to earn Gold. Starting Jan. 1, 2023, that amount reverts back to 1,500 Tier Points, meaning more travel and expense to reach it next year compared with next year.
Also, the BA Holidays double Tier Points offer means I can earn the Tier Points I need twice as quickly if I need to.
In simple terms: 2022 is a vintage year for points and miles. A rare sweet spot year where earning elite status is faster, easier and cheaper than it has ever, been and likely will be.
The timing works for me
My Tier Point collection year ends in April. This means if I reach a higher status level before April, I can enjoy the status through April, plus an additional 12 months. So, if I were to earn Gold status in December 2022, I would keep it until April 2024. As this would be close to 18 months of Gold status, this becomes more attractive than only thinking I will have the status for 12 months.
Ideally, I would earn Gold status just after April, and have the status for almost 24 months. However, as Tier Points reset every year (for me, each April), I would start from zero and then earn 1,500 Tier Points as quickly as possible, which would be very expensive, time-consuming and an insane amount of flying, even for me.
Eighteen months of Gold status seems like a reasonable time to enjoy it.
Soft landing to Silver
If I earn Gold status before April 2023 when my Tier Points reset I will keep it until April 2024. I would need to earn another 1,500 Tier Points between April 2023 and April 2024 which, with my current plans is unlikely given so many of my planned flights are booked with Avios which do not earn Tier Points (or Avios).
Fortunately, the Executive Club program offers a “soft landing” to members who don’t requalify for their existing status.
This means even if I didn’t earn a single Tier Point between April 2023 and April 2024, I would only drop from Gold to Silver in April 2024, with a year of Silver to April 2025.
Essentially this will be almost 2.5 years of at least Silver status if I can earn Gold by the end of 2022, which is an attractive and valuable proposition.
First-class lounge access
Beyond the calculations of Tier Point earnings, reset dates and soft landings, one of the main reasons I have wanted Gold for some time is because it provides more benefits than Silver status when I travel.
Silver is a great status and one I’ve been very happy with for years because it provides significantly more benefits than Bronze, the status below, which hardly provides anything. I’m not expecting Gold to provide as huge a jump in benefits as Silver does with Bronze, but it’s still enticing.
With Gold, I’ll earn additional Avios for every cash flight taken which will be a nice treat. I will also have access to Galleries First lounges when flying in any cabin with British Airways or their partner airlines. However, I’m not expecting these to be massively better than the Galleries Club lounges I already have access to with my Silver membership, based on reports from friends and colleagues.
The real prize for me is Oneworld Emerald status which I will automatically receive as Executive Club Gold.
Oneworld Emerald status allows me first-class lounge access to most Oneworld partner airlines around the world when flying in any class of service on a Oneworld airline. This includes the Cathay Pacific first-class lounge in Terminal 3 at London Heathrow. I am also flying back from Australia on Cathay Pacific at the end of the year and I should be Gold before this.
Although I am not flying in first class, I can access the spectacular Qantas first class lounge in Melbourne (MEL), and if they reopen in time, either the Pier or Wing first class lounges in Hong Kong (HKG). I’ve visited these lounges before and they are a real treat to access when not flying first class.
Also, when I’m in the U.S., I’ll enjoy access to American Airlines Admirals Clubs and Alaska Lounges when traveling on domestic flights. This is included with Oneworld Sapphire — included with Silver status — but worth mentioning regardless.
Additional Avios award availability
There are two neat published award availability benefits of Gold status over Silver. Firstly, Gold members can access additional rewards seats in economy at normal redemption rates. No need to call up, or enter a special code or voucher number. The additional seats show in Gold members searches, but not for Silver or Bronze members.
Second, if there is no availability on the flights I want, Gold members can redeem Avios for any cash seat by using twice the number of Avios required.
As someone who regularly redeems Avios for short-haul flights to Europe on popular summer dates, these two perks will be something I will definitely use.
As someone who writes about elite status, points and miles and general travel for a living, I spend a lot of time thinking about things like what British Airways status is best for me.
I’ve been very happy with all the benefits that come with Silver status but always had my eye on Gold for the extra perks. The timing for me works well to make the jump before the end of the year.
I probably won’t be able to retain it beyond April 2024. However, the soft landing to Silver is another reason to go for it right now.