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Old Feb 1, 10, 3:03 pm
Grand Union
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 100
Tiers and Tier Points

Most airline programmes work on the principle that if you fly “n” thousand miles in a twelve-month period, you’ll get elite status. BA’s programme doesn’t work like that – it essentially exists as a reward programme for those flying in premium cabins and on flexible tickets, rather than purely from accruing miles from flying. So instead, each flight, if it’s booked in an eligible fare class, will earn a certain number of points. Get enough points, and you get promoted to the next tier.

There are four tiers in the BA Exec Club;

Blue - entry level
Bronze - equivalent to oneworld Ruby
Silver - equivalent to oneworld Sapphire
Gold - equivalent to oneworld Emerald
Premier - invitation only level

Blue is the basic level and is what you start on. Once you reach the required number of points, you will be promoted to Bronze etc.

Premier is an invitation only level. There are only around a handful (low thousands) of Premiers worldwide. You can’t get to it by just flying a lot. They are generally given to people that BA consider are important, and each new Premier has to be approved by the board (BA’s Board of Directors, not the FT Board – would that it were so simple!).

Within Gold there are effectively two levels now; ‘Normal’ and ‘Gold Guest List’. So far, the information we have is that members are invited to join the Guest List based on the criteria of earning at least 3000TP’s in the previous 2 years. To remain part of the list you need to continue to earn 3000TP’s in each year going forward. There are two major benefits; a once per membership year (note this is GGL membership year not your EC membership year, they are not necessarily the same) redemption for up to 5 people (i.e. member + up to 4 others) booked into revenue classes (A, D, T, B) rather than award classes, and a dedicated priority service phone number with dedicated 24-7 support desk.

See also the relevant entry in the BA Wiki.

The promotion process is not as simple as it could be at first glance. First off, you need to have four flights on BA (or BA franchise partners) in your membership year that earn Tier Points. If you don’t have this, as your flights are all on partners, you will remain forever Blue!

The levels are given below.

Bronze          300     or 25 BA flights  
Silver          600     or 50 BA flights
Gold            1500

In addition to accruing the requisite number of tier points needed for promotion to the next membership tier or to retain your membership at an existing tier, you also need to fly four qualifying flights during your membership year, irrespective of whether they earn tier points or not.

Examples of criteria used to determine qualifying flights from non-qualifying flights
  1. BA metal + BA flight number = qualifying flight
  2. BA metal + oneworld carrier flight number (other than BA) = qualifying flight
  3. oneworld carrier metal (other than BA) + BA flight number = qualifying flight
  4. oneworld metal (other than BA) + other oneworld flight number (other than BA) = non-qualifying flight

Effective 2009, BA also introduced a further means of going from Blue to Bronze or Silver – by taking 25 or 50 flights on British Airways in your membership year, you can now move up. In practice, this helps those trudging up and down the country on cheap tickets each week – for whom lounge access is probably a welcome benefit!

The information below is no longer applicable and will be updated

When you reach or exceed the number of points required for promotion, your Tier Points will be reset to zero. Your membership year will also be rest immediately. This means that from that date you are promoted, you will have one further year to maintain your status.

So (for a UK member) to get to Gold from Blue, you will need at least 600 Tier Points to get to Silver, these will then be reset to zero, and you will need a further 1500 points to get to Gold. Once you hit 1500 points, these will again be reset and your new Gold membership year will commence. From then on, your points continue to build (for the next year) – if you exceed 1500 when you are already Gold, they do not reset (they continue to add up towards other perks such as the GUF2 or Partner Silver Card as mentioned elsewhere).

There are some additional pitfalls that you need to be aware of during the promotion process. For most people, it’s fairly unlikely that they will hit 600 points exactly. When I was promoted, I got to 680 points, which then got reset to zero. So what happens to those extra points over the 600 mark? Well, you lose them. BA will not credit them back to you. So if you’re on 580 points, and you take a First flight, you are effectively losing 160 points. As with most “rules”, there are some exceptions. A few people have managed to get these points credited so if you desperately need the points, it may be worth a try.

Secondly, the promotion process itself can take a few days. This means that you can get several hundred points over the promotion threshold. When you do get promoted, and reset to zero, you will lose these points as well. However, do not fret. You will need to contact BA, and they will put a note on your account saying that you are “owed” how ever many points got reset. When it comes to getting promoted or renewed, you will need to contact them for them to manually process things.

Provided you have the required TPs and have done the required 4 flights, promotion will happen – typically in 3 days, sometimes longer (if weekends are involved) so don’t fret about it. Only if it’s not happened after a week would it be worth contacting BA.

You have probably wondered by now whether – if you live in the UK – you could get promotion to Silver or Gold more quickly by changing your mailing address in your profile to one in Europe? Well, yes, you can! However, there are five things to remember if you are thinking of doing this:
  1. You can only have a BA AmEx if your Executive Club account is UK based. If you already have a card, it WILL be cancelled right away. There is one slight catch to this rule: if you are a UK based member and hold a BA AmEx card and then ‘move’ to Europe, your card should not be cancelled if you ensure that it has a zero balance, and stays that way whilst you are ‘living’ in Europe.
  2. You cannot transfer Tesco Clubcard points to BA if your account is not UK based. One way around this is to keep the paper vouchers (they are valid for 2 years) and move your account back to the UK for six months once every two years.
  3. You will not longer be eligible (or targeted) for UK-based promotions (although you will instead be targeted for promotions in your new region, which may work out better or worse – but either way, you can’t really complain!)
  4. The European address you give BA must exist, because they will send your shiny new card to this address. One subtlety is that if you move back to the UK just after hitting Silver/Gold, the new card will likely be sent to your UK address rather than your European address. This is a lucky loophole rather than a guarantee though, so don’t rely on it 100%.
  5. You can only change your address once every six months (i.e. you can’t just move, get promoted then return).

If your account is moved to Europe when you already exceed the next new, lower Tier Point threshold you require, you will automatically be promoted and your membership date reset to the day you move. If you move your address back you will retain your current status until the end of your membership year (for example a Euro Silver who has 500 Tier Points and a membership year end date of September 8th moves to the UK on March 20th and does not earn any more Tier Points – they stay Silver until September 8th when they get demoted to Blue for not having hit the UK renewal level of 600).

Renewal is fairly simple. Again, you need to achieve the required number of Tier Points and make four Tier Point earning BA flights within the year to maintain your status. The number of Tier Points required for renewal is exactly the same as the number required for promotion.

Gold card holders who do not retain their card benefit from a 'soft landing' in the first year - i.e. they will drop from Gold to Silver for a year and then either go back up to Gold or retain silver (if they reach the required number of points), or drop down to Blue the year after. The soft landing applies regardless of flying – i.e. even with zero flights and/or even if you don’t take 4 qualifying flights.

Earning Tier Points
Tier Points can only be earned on oneworld flights. Below is a table that shows how many points you’ll earn per segment:

Tier Point Earning

Cabin                                        Economy       Economy       Premium       Business      First	
                                             (Discounted)  (Full fare)   Economy

Domestic Spain	                             5             10            --            20            --
Domestic UK                                  10            20 (JYCDRI)   --	       --            --   
Domestic South Africa                        10            20            --            40            --           
BA short haul                                10            20            --            40            --
BA/AY short haul +                           20            40            --            60            --
Other short haul up to 2000 mi               10            20            --            40            60	
BA long haul up to 6000 mi                   35            70            90            140           210
Other long haul over 2000 and under 6000 mi  35            70            90            140           210
BA/other long haul 6000 mi and over          40            80            100           160           240
Club World London City                       --            --            --            210           --
OpenSkies                                    --            --            140           --            210
BA/QF Europe to Australia                    60            120           150           240           360	

For the purpose of Tier Point earning BA Domestic UK fare classes J Y C D R I qualify as Economy (full fare)
QF Premium Economy E class do not earn Tier Points
Tier Points are not generally earned on non-oneworld airline partner flights. 
BA/AY short haul plus apply to sectors between London and Antalya, Athens, Helsinki, Istanbul, Izmir, Kiev, 
Larnaca, Moscow, Paphos, St Petersburg, Thessaloniki, Tripoli, Tirana, Tunis, Varna.
A small point with the Australia flights; if you’re booked to travel to Australia, but with a stop over (i.e. booked as two flight numbers), it will count as two longhaul flights, so you will actually earn slightly more than it booked as a single flight.

What’s the cheapest way to get X Tier Points?
Threads along this line pop up regularly. The cheapest ways to get Tier Points is described are described below – exactly what suits you best will depend on your budget, how many TPs you need and where you are based. In general, for people based in the UK at least, the cheapest way to get any number of TPs under 80 is an R Class Club Europe LGW-AMS-LGW. For anything under 40 TPs, it is likely to be LGW-AMS-LGW priced up in economy with the return leg upgraded to Club Europe in I class at the time of booking (upgrade the return to avoid the extra ‘APD’ thievery the Chancellor hits you for on ex-UK Premium cabin bookings).

Note this also applies if you only need 20 TPs. You may think it’d be cheaper to book a H class one-way Domestic/shorthaul but invariably H class is priced higher than I class in Europe.

R Class
Within Europe, a good way to earn Tier Points is to take advantage of Club Europe’s cheapest (discounted, totally inflexible) fares. These book in to the R fare bucket so you will see ‘R Class’ referred to a lot on this board. These can be a great way to ‘just top off’ your account if you’re short of a threshold…and great fun for weekend breaks or even daytrips. Note, short haul R class bookings usually require a Saturday night stay. The list of destinations and the best fares is somewhat seasonal and will also depend on fare sales, offers, etc. However, LGW is usually better than LHR.

Passengers on the BA Club World London City Service will earn the tier points equivalent to travelling in First Class – this was a promotion when the route started which has been indefinitely extended.

Fifth Freedom Flights
Also, BA operates a number of short flights that do not originate, or travel to the UK, these are known as fifth freedom flights. The full list is below:

Abu Dhabi – Muscat
Antigua – St Lucia
Antigua – Tobago
Antigua – Grenada
Bahrain – Doha
Baku – Bishkek (operated by BMED – keep an eye out for developments on the continuation of BA codeshares/earning opportunities since it was acquired by bmi)
Bangkok – Sydney
Nassau – Grand Cayman
Nassau – Providenciales
Sao Paulo – Buenos Aires
Singapore – Sydney

These are available to book by anyone, and for the short flights, can be fairly cheap, sometimes as low as 300 for a return in First for BAH-DOH. The Asia to Australia flights aren't that cheap but BAH-DOH-BAH in First (for example) used to be a potential bargain for 360 Tier Points if you were already out there – however BA corrected this anomaly in Q1 2008.

Earning Tier Points on one-way oneworld Partners
Most oneworld flights (as long as they are in an eligible fare class) can earn you Tier Points. The only exception to this are flights with a oneworld airlines code, that are operated by a non-oneworld airline. For example AA put their codes on to Alaska Airline flights and these would not earn Tier Points but do earn miles since BA has a separate miles relationship with Alaska. A flight operated by VN with a CX code earns you nothing. There are (as there often are) some exceptions – but in general, treat it as a hard and fast rule and a ‘nice surprise’ if you get something unexpected when they post.

Below is a basic table that shows the Tier Points earned on oneworld flights. Later, in the oneworld section of this guide, I will document which exact fare classes for each carrier are eligible for points.

                         Economy           Premium Economy   Business          First
Flights < 2000 miles     20                --                40                60
Flights > 2000 miles     35                70                140               210
If you’re travelling on a discounted economy fare, you’ll received a lower number of tier points than shown above.

KUP (pronounced ‘Kay-Up’)
These are fares on American Airlines which carry an Economy (K) booking code but as soon as you book them, they actually book in to a confirmed First Class seat (normally P). The great thing about them from our point of view is, they earn First Class miles and Tier Points as above too. With this in mind, there are some real Tier Point bargains to be had with KUPs (e.g. if you’re in America already on another trip). Our friends over on the AA Board:

have lots more information. And there is a very useful tool on the FareCompare website where you can check what the KUPs are from a specific location:

If you’re new to these, see post number 4 in this thread:

for some additional useful information.

Note: Of course, you need your BA number in the booking for the points to post. The AA website will not let you do this, but if you call AA they can do it over the phone. If you put the AA Record Locator in to MMB on 24 hours or more after making the booking then BA’s systems should be able to actually find the booking and retrieve it. Once retrieved, you can add your BA number as usual. If all of these fail or you forget, the first you’ll notice is at check-in with AA when your status doesn’t show on the BP. They can (if they’re knowledgeable agents) fix this but if they have troubles, simply wait and get the AAngels in the Admiral’s Club to fix it – they know their stuff and can do it without fail, and re-print you a BP with your status and number showing.

Pro-active Online Upgrade Proposition (POUG)
BA typically offer short haul upgrade deals from economy fares on each way basis. These are subject to the availability of short haul I class inventory and this proposition will usually be presented to you via MMB after your booking has been confirmed and ticketed. POUGs are by no means not limited to short haul European flights. This proposition also applies to long haul in the form of a single cabin upgrade jump from WT, WT+ or Club World, irrespective of selling fare, and you earn tier points and BA Miles per the upgraded class of service. However, if you pay for an upgrade when the underlying fare is a redemption, no tier points or BA Miles are accrued. Note, unfortunately, at this time, POUGs are not possible if your ticket includes UK Domestic flights.

POUGs may also be offered at check in (either via OLCI or at the airport on the day of departure.

Important note: POUGs earn miles and Tier Points per the upgraded cabin. With last minute upgrades, it may involve a call to your local BAEC office to request manual credit correction.

Depending on the route, flight time, length of flight, etc. this can be a good deal and a nice way to earn extra TPs – though the ‘value’ of these upgrades is often hotly debated here, and in the end it’s a purely personal choice.

Last edited by Prospero; Mar 26, 12 at 11:44 pm Reason: Bits of update
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