Which flights count as ‘qualifying flights’ for British Airways elite status?

Mar 7, 2020

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The British Airways Executive Club programme has four different elite status levels, each with a different number of Tier Points required to be flown to earn that status:

  • Blue — The level where everyone starts;
  • Bronze — Achieved after 300 Tier Points earned in a membership year;
  • Silver — Achieved after 600 Tier Points earned in a membership year; and
  • Gold — Achieved after 1,500 Tier Points earned in a membership year.

Related: What does British Airways elite status get you, and how do you earn it?

Like some other airlines, the British Airways Executive Club also has two additional levels of status that aren’t published:

  • Gold Guest List — Achieved after 5,000 Tier Points earned in a membership year and maintained in subsequent years by earning 3,000 Tier Points in a membership year; and
  • Concorde Room Card — Achieved after 5,000 Tier Points or more in a membership year.

Once a year, Tier Points balances are reset to zero and earning for the next year starts from anew. BA does not use calendar years, but instead, each membership year is based on when someone joined the British Airways Executive Club (it always comes on the 8th of the month).

Related: What happens when you earn more Tier Points in a year than you need

While you’ll need to take an awful lot of cheap Euro Traveller sale fares to earn a high status level in the Executive Club programme, there are some affordable and very comfortable ways to reach status faster by flying premium cabins on British Airways partner airlines like Qatar Airways and American.

While this can be a secret ‘hack’ to reaching those Tier Point goals faster, Executive Club has a small but very important requirement before you can earn that status:

  • For Bronze status, you must take two ‘qualifying flights’ as well as earning 300 Tier Points;
  • For Silver status, you must take four ‘qualifying flights’ as well as earning 600 Tier Points; and
  • For Gold status, you must take four ‘qualifying flights’ as well as earning 1,500 Tier Points.
Image by Christian Kramer / The Points Guy
(Photo by Christian Kramer/The Points Guy)

Qualifying flights are defined by Executive Club a “those flights marketed or operated by British Airways and those flights marketed and operated by Iberia”. This includes:

  • Any flight operated by British Airways metal — i.e. a British Airways plane with British Airways crew, even if you booked this flight as a codeshare flight through one of its partners. Included are BA-operated flights to and from the U.K., as well as fifth freedom flights operated by BA, and those flights by BA franchises like BA CityFlyer at London City Airport, Comair, based in South Africa, and Sun-Air based in Scandanavia;
  • Any flight you have purchased with a BA flight number, regardless of which carrier actually operates the flight. For example, British Airways has an extensive joint venture agreement with American Airlines, so you may purchase a codeshare flight from London (LHR) to say, New York (JFK) with a BA flight number, but the actual flight is operated by American Airlines; and
  • Any flight with an Iberia flight number that is also operated by Iberia. This means your ticket lists the flight number with an IB flight number and the flight is also operated by an Iberia plane with Iberia crew. This includes Iberia’s franchises Iberia Express and Iberia Regional. However, note if you purchased a codeshare flight through, say, Finnair with an AY flight number operated by Iberia, this would not count as it is not marketed and operated by Iberia.

These are fairly liberal requirements, especially if you have earned most of your Tier Points through flying partner airlines. There’s no minimum flight length either — a return hop from London to Manchester (MAN) on a British Airways-operated flight would count as two qualifying flights. Note that all qualifying flights must be paid revenue flights, so Reward Flight Saver flights, for example, would not count. A cash fare where you use Avios for part-payment would count as a qualifying flight though.

Related: The difference between British Airways’ Avios + Money and Avios Part-Payment

The Tier Points you will earn for the qualifying flights can count towards your status.

Bottom line

If you are planning how to earn elite status in Executive Club, keep in mind the small but important qualifying flights requirement that you will have to complete in order to earn the status. If you are U.K.-based, you may be flying British Airways and/or Iberia flights regularly anyway (that may be why you want the status in the first place!).

Featured image by Ben Smithson / The Points Guy

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