Is a Tier Point run worth it for British Airways Silver status?

Nov 5, 2019

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For those who are new to the points and miles hobby, Tier Point running is when you take flights with the sole purpose of earning Tier Points and therefore British Airways Executive Club elite status. For people who fly often with BA, status can become a worthwhile — and even necessary — investment.

BA’s second-highest level of status is Silver, and with it you can get some great benefits. But when is it worth it?

Silver benefits

The benefits of Silver status make for an improved journey as well as having the potential to save money. In order to get Silver status, you need to take four qualifying flights and earn 600 Tier Points in your membership year or take a total of 50 British Airways flights. But what are the best benefits?

Money saving

At the time of booking, you are able to select seats free of charge for yourself and anyone on the same booking. Without Silver status, you’re looking at anywhere from £26 to £82 to choose an economy seat for a long-haul flight, and from £14 to £30 for a short-haul flight. One exception to the rule is exit row seats on long-haul flights, for which you’ll still charged.

Passengers with Silver status are also entitled to a second free piece of checked luggage with increased weight limit of 32kg. This policy doesn’t apply to hand-baggage-only fares. Prices for extra luggage varies per flight, so to check how much you might have saved for a particular flight, you can head to BA’s baggage price calculator page here.

(Photo by Ben Smithson/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Ben Smithson/The Points Guy)

Experience enhancing 

Before boarding a flight, just getting through the airport can leave you tired and stressed. As a BA Silver elite member, that all changes, as you gain access to a number of experience-enhancing extras that are usually only available to premium cabin passengers. Silver members get access to dedicated Club Europe/World check-in desks where the queues will likely be significantly shorter. In addition, many airports have a fast track security queue to save you even more time.

Once you’re airside, the benefits continue. As long as you’re flying on a British Airways or Oneworld airline, you have access to lounges all over the world that accept Oneworld elite members. For more information including locations, the Oneworld website has everything you need to know. Free food and drink for you and one guest each time you fly can save you from paying for airport food. Some of the best Oneworld lounges are actually very close to home, with Heathrow Terminal 3’s Cathay Pacific and Qantas lounges being firm TPG U.K. favourites. The final perk before getting on the plane is being able to skip ahead of non-elite passengers when boarding, as you’ll get priority boarding. Do note, however, the priority boarding is not available to Silver members at London City Airport (LCY).

Other bonuses

There are a couple of other benefits that shouldn’t be forgotten about. The first comes in the form of earning 50% bonus Avios on all American Airlines, British Airways, Iberia and Japan Airlines flights. The bonus means you can mean more Avios quicker, speeding up your next reward redemption.

The second — and probably a slightly lesser-known perk — is that as a Silver member, you are guaranteed reservation assurance on full-fare economy tickets even if the flight is full or overbooked.

Cathay Pacific lounge in LHR Terminal 3. (Photo by Daniel Ross/The Points Guy)
Cathay Pacific lounge in LHR Terminal 3. (Photo by Daniel Ross/The Points Guy)

So, is Tier Point running for BA Silver status worth it? 

Ultimately, if BA Silver is worth it comes down to a case-by-case basis, as there are a few things to consider. For example, if you only fly once or twice a year, or do most of your flying with low-cost carriers to destinations where BA or Oneworld airlines don’t fly, then it’s probably not worthwhile. On the other hand, if you fly a mixture of short- and long-haul with British Airways or Oneworld carriers a few times per year and you’re already Bronze status, then it might be worth strategically planning out your travel to bump yourself up to the next level.

It might mean paying for premium economy for one of your return flights instead of economy. In total, that might set you back an extra few hundred pounds, but over the course of a year where you would have Silver status, it could be worth the small investment to save you money in the long run and improve your experience. If you’re just a few Tier Points short of status, a small Tier Point run could set you over the edge and be worth it. Alternatively, if you’re starting from scratch and want to jump right to — or close to — Silver, consider booking a return flight from Scandinavia to Asia, Africa and Australia with Qatar Airways. You could earn Silver in the most comfortable way possible — by flying Qatar Airways’ Qsuite.

Going on a Tier Point run doesn’t have to break the bank. In 2018, I’d flown quite a lot, but mostly in economy, meaning I hadn’t racked up a ton of Tier Points. I worked out that all I needed was 160 Tier Points to retain Silver for another year. It just so happened that a return in Club Europe to Malta (MLA) earned exactly that amount, and flights were going for just over £210. Given that I travel with Oneworld carriers quite a bit, it was a no-brainer to do my first ever Tier Point run. I managed to visit a good friend, get in some sightseeing and kept Silver for another year, so the £210 was amazing value for me.

Ultimately, whether or not Tier Point running for Silver status is worth it will depend entirely on your travel patterns and goals. The value of Silver — including when flying with families — can be best spelled out by doing some maths. By adding up what the different benefits will get you in return, you could get you closer to a decision on whether or not a Tier Point run is worth it for you.

Bottom line 

All in all, Tier Point running for Silver status is relatively simple to do and definitely doesn’t have to break the bank. It’s far easier to maintain compared to Gold and has excellent benefits. As always, if you’re in the points and miles hobby, it’s all about being flexible, planning as far in advance as possible and keeping up-to-date with the latest from The Points Guy U.K.

We love hearing stories of when our readers have points and miles successes or even mistakes so we can help other people learn from your experiences. If you have any interesting, quirky or fun Tier Point running stories you would like to share, we’d love to hear them and feature your story on the site.

Featured image by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP/Getty Images

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