Bringing BA status within reach: Earn 160 Tier Points with these short-haul destinations

Dec 28, 2020

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Editor’s note: This story has been updated.

Instead of doing Tier Point runs, which essentially means just travelling to collect points, there are many destinations in Europe and parts of Africa that earn up to 160 Tier Points for a return trip in Club Europe ideal for a holiday in 2021 — once travelling has become part of our lives again.

But before we start, what does 160 Tier Points (TPs) even mean? Well, if you’re new to the game, that’s more than half the required Tier Points to reach British Airways’ Bronze status level, which comes with a number of benefits. BA has reduced the number of TPs needed to reach status by 25% in light of COVID-19, but in normal times, it’s 300 for Bronze, 600 for Silver and 1,500 for Gold.

For those 160 Tier Points, there are 29 destinations to choose from, spanning all corners of Europe and into North Africa. As the amount of Tier Points increases per the distance flown, you have to travel more than 1,000 miles to benefit from the full 160.

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Route map of BA destinations earning 160 Tier Points in Club Europe. (Image courtesy of Great Circle Mapper)

Greece

Greece‘s many stunning islands and Cyprus are about as far as you can fly east in Europe before getting into the Middle East and Asia. The distance means that flights in Club Europe to more than a dozen popular Greek holiday spots will earn you 160 Tier Points. You can choose from Athens (ATH), Chania (CHQ), Corfu (CFU), Heraklion (HER), Kalamata (KLX), Kefalonia (EFL), Kos (KGS), Larnaca (LCA), Mykonos (JMK), Paphos (PFO), Rhodes (RHO), Santorini (JTR), Skiathos (JSI), Thessaloniki (SKG) and Zakynthos (ZTH).

(Photo by Alexander Spatari/Getty Images)
The unmistakable blues and whites of Mykonos. (Photo by Alexander Spatari/Getty Images)

There’s only one snag — you’ll pay a premium. Flights to these popular destinations are often only seasonal and don’t operate seven days per week, which makes them considerably more expensive to get there in Club Europe than the other destinations on the list. For example, a return flight to Mykonos in Club Europe for a Thursday to Sunday in May can cost more than £1,000. 

Tourist spots

Other popular tourist destinations include the Spanish islands of Gran Canaria (LPA), Lanzarote (ACE) and Tenerife (TFS) in the Canaries, Dalaman (DLM) in Turkey, Funchal (FNC) in Madeira, Malta (MLA) and Reykjavik (KEF) in Iceland. Prices for these destinations vary per the time of the year. It’s worth watching out for flights in the off-season, especially to Malta, where I once bagged a return Club Europe fare for £209.

Blue Lagoon, Malta. (Photo by danilovi / Getty Images)
Malta’s beautiful blue lagoon. (Photo by Danilovi/Getty Images)

Off the beaten track

If you fancy trying something new, there are some destinations on the list that you may not have considered visiting before, like Tirana, Albania, where I spent 72 hours eating and drinking to my heart’s content. Not only are returns in Club Europe often cheapest to places like Tirana (TIA) and Sofia (SOF) in Bulgaria, it’s also very cheap when you get there — winner, winner.

Another 160 Tier Point destination in Europe you might not have considered holidaying in before is Catania (CTA) in Sicily.

North Africa

If you want to mix it up even more and head to Africa, a Club Europe return to the capital of Algeria, Algiers (ALG) or the popular Moroccan city of Marrakesh (RAK) will earn you those 160 Tier Points.

Marrakesh (Photo by Pietro Costanzo/Getty Images)
Marrakesh (Photo by Pietro Costanzo/Getty Images)

When is it worth it?

As a general rule, spending more than £300 on a Club Europe ticket just for the Tier Points might not really be worth it.

After monitoring these routes for a while, the destinations that often have the cheapest return flights in Club Europe tend to be Catania (CTA), Malta (MLA), Sofia (SOF) and Tirana (TIA). Sofia is a great example — we’re seeing return fares in the new year from as low as £177, which is really incredible value.

(Screenshot courtesy of BA)

When you’re looking for your value-for-money Tier Point fares, keep an eye out for places like Bucharest (OTP), Romania, from £182, Istanbul (IST) and Marrakesh (RAK), which we have seen for a low as £247. On the slightly higher end of the scale, the best prices around for Madeira (FNC) should start from around £315 and Gran Canaria (LPA) from £303 — as a rough price guide.

Read more: When does my British Airways Executive Club status expire?

Bottom line

Earning Tier Points doesn’t mean breaking the bank or doing unnecessary harm to the environment. Be flexible with your destinations and you just might nudge yourself into the next tier of status while discovering somewhere new and flying there in style — what’s not to love?

Featured photo by Daniel Ross/The Points Guy

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