Now even cheaper: Earn British Airways silver status in just one trip to Europe from only £467
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The only way to earn valuable elite status with British Airways Executive Club is to fly with British Airways and/or partner airlines, including American Airlines, Qatar Airways and Iberia.
Normally, you would either need to fly a lot of cheap flights or be spending some serious money on premium cabin flights to earn this status.
However, because of the pandemic, it’s never been easier or cheaper to earn the coveted Silver status and you can do it in just one trip to Europe thanks to BA Holidays.
In 2020 I did exactly this, enjoying a wonderful shoulder season break in beautiful Greece.
The offer has been extended for travel until 31 October 2022, meaning you have almost a year (including the entire European summer) to plan how you will earn your way to the following benefits with British Airways Executive Club Silver status:
- Free seat selection at the time of booking.
- Priority check-in, security, boarding and baggage delivery.
- Extra checked baggage.
- Worldwide lounge access.
- Bonus Avios for every revenue flight you take.
The trick is to depart from a regional U.K. airport, connecting in London on British Airways in both directions in Club Europe to “far Europe” destinations like Greece, Albania, Bulgaria and Romania. Alongside this, making sure you have either accommodation or car hire for at least five nights.
Previously, you don’t need to book accommodation or car hire for your entire trip if it’s longer than five nights if you don’t wish to, provided you’ve booked a minimum of 5 nights. However the rules have since been tightened and you must book accommodation or car hire for the duration of the trip and it must be at least five nights. The four flights give you 480 Tier Points with the double Tier Points offer — more than enough for Silver status from just one trip.
The best news is that with new sale fares from British Airways, it’s now cheaper than ever.
Following a tip-off from the Premium Fare Deals thread on Flyertalk, I’ve found BA Holidays fares from various U.K. airports to Sofia (SOF), the capital of Bulgaria for various dates in 2022 from as low as £467 per person, return, that includes the four Club Europe flights and five nights accommodation. These prices are for solo travellers — it will be even cheaper for a couple sharing the accommodation or car hire, and you’ll both earn the status and thousands of Avios for your travel.
This is a significantly cheaper price than I paid for my Greece trip last year.
Note British Airways are only operating three flights to Sofia until late March, increasing to daily flights from then on. I’m seeing the cheapest prices in the months of May and October this year.
The cheapest options include accommodation in Borovets, which is a mountain ski town roughly one hours drive from Sofia’s Airport. Between May and October there won’t be any snow, however with infrastructure already in place for their busy ski seasons, it makes for a charming mountain getaway year-round. I visited Bankso, Bulgaria’s — other main ski destination — in winter before the pandemic and it is astonishingly good value. Especially compared with mountain towns in Austria, Switzerland and France.
If you don’t fancy hiking and fresh mountain air, for less than £100 more you can book your accommodation in Sofia only. Sofia is a lovely city break option — elegant, easy to get around, great restaurants and bars and excellent value for money.
Note that with British Airways flights to Sofia departing in the mornings, you may need to overnight in London, depending on which regional airport you are departing from. If so, make sure you count your Bulgarian accommodation nights correctly — you must book five nights of accommodation as part of the BA Holidays booking.
If you don’t do this you won’t receive the double Tier Points. It’s also worth noting that you may need to be away for six nights if you need to overnight in London on your first night.
Some departure points like Newcastle (NCL) can provide you with a same-day connection to Sofia if you don’t mind a very early start. Scottish airports are equally very easy to transfer in or commence your trip from. I would avoid Manchester (MAN) airport wherever possible — their airport experiences I’ve had there have been subpar, a sentiment shared by many other U.K. travellers.
If you choose car rental instead of accommodation you are not obligated to drive the car for the full five days you’ve booked it for — you can return it early provided you have paid for it in full.
For my Greece status run trip I didn’t even drive the car out of the carpark — I told the staff at the desk exactly what I was doing and that I didn’t need the car and they didn’t mind at all — I think they appreciated not having to do the paperwork.
To book, head to BA Holidays and book your flights + hotel, flight + car hire, or all three together. The website can be a bit fiddly — it might be worth checking Google Flights first to find the flights you want — then check prices through BA Holidays. After that, you’re all set to earn your double tier points.
Featured image by Todor Tsvetkov via Getty
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