The Most Comfortable Way to Earn British Airways Silver Status

Jul 17, 2019

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If you want to make your flights a bit more comfortable without necessarily paying for business or first class seats, airline status gives you many premium perks. The perks you get with status on the ground are usually the same as those associated with higher cabin tickets — premium check-in, fast track security, lounge access and priority boarding.

When it comes to British Airways, Executive Club status is earned by Tier Points. Within the Executive Club, there are four levels of status: Blue (where everyone starts), Bronze (300 Tier Points in a membership year), Silver (600 Tier Points) and Gold (1,500 Tier Points). There are also two additional levels of status, which aren’t published: Gold Guest List (5,000 Tier Points) and Concorde Room Card (5,000 Tier Points). As a reminder, a membership year with BA is not a calendar year, but it runs for 12 months from whenever you joined the Executive Club.

Though there are some minor benefits associated with Bronze status, things get more interesting and comfortable from Silver status. The benefits include:

  • Free selection of seats for everyone on the booking (which can save a lot of money if you’re a family travelling together)
  • Business class check-in
  • Priority baggage handling (as well as free extra checked bags with some carriers)
  • Fast track security (at certain airports)
  • Access to business class lounges
  • Priority boarding
  • Bonus Avios (called Tier Bonus) on flights

These Silver benefits apply even when flying economy and generally across the Oneworld alliance. For example, when flying American Airlines, Cathay Pacific or Iberia in economy.

Given the value of some of those benefits (and the fact that some save real money, such as seat selection and free extra bags which you might have paid for otherwise), it can make sense to try to achieve status in order to take advantage of those. We have outlined how and why in our ‘Tier Point Running‘ article.

Image courtesy of British Airways
(Image courtesy of British Airways)

In order to achieve Silver, you’ll need to either earn 600 Tier Points, or fly 50 flights with British Airways. Tier Points and status can be earned with flights from any Oneworld alliance partner, though in order to achieve Silver (or Gold), members also need to have flown four “eligible” flights, which include BA operated flights, non BA flights with a BA flight code and Iberia flights with an Iberia flight code.

Long-haul premium travel is an easier route to status, given a long-haul business-class flight earns 140 Tier Points each way, so 280 Tier Points return. Some ultra-long-haul routes of more than 6,000 miles earn 160 Tier Points each way, which would require 2.5 return trips to achieve Silver.

However, applying some Tier Point running tactics to your trip means there are ways of boosting the number of Tier Points you earn for a trip. This usually involves extra stops to maximise Tier Points. The classic example for this is to fly London to New York to Los Angeles to earn 560 Tier Points return, rather than flying London to Los Angeles nonstop, which would only earn 280 Tier Points.

The most attractive option for maximising Tier Points when travelling east from the UK or Europe is often Qatar — for a number of reasons. First, Qatar’s business class product is very good. And, if you’re lucky enough (or smart enough to plan it that way) to get onto a flight that has Qatar’s Qsuite, it’s not just a very good product, but an excellent experience.

(QSuite. Photo by Zach Honig/TPG)
(Qatar’s Qsuite product. Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)

Secondly, Qatar Airways very often has very attractive deals to Asia, Africa and Australia if you are willing to fly from Mainland Europe. I’ve flown all to way to the East Coast of Australia with Qatar in business class for £1,400. Flights to Asia can be had for less than £1,000 return during very aggressive sales, and typically less than £1,500 at most other times for travel from airports in Mainland Europe.

Finally, Qatar is a great option for earning Silver status because all flights connect in Doha. That means that most flights to Asia and beyond earn 560 Tier Points (four sectors at 140 Tier Points each), which is almost all that’s needed for Silver status. Of course, you’ll also need the four eligible flights as outlined above as Qatar flights don’t count towards this. Throw in a few Tier Points you might earn for positioning to the departure airport in Europe (i.e. the flights that might get you to Stockholm or Oslo to start your Qatar flights, which could also help with the four eligible flights requirement) and you can actually earn Silver status in a single trip.

A Qsuite meal. (Photo by Emily McNutt/The Points Guy)
A Qsuite meal. (Photo by Emily McNutt/The Points Guy)

If you manage to get a good business-class fare with Qatar on one of its Qsuite-equipped aircraft, it’s not just a great ride and value, but also the most comfortable way to earn a British Airways Silver card.

Featured photo by Patrick Fallon/The Points Guy.

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