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A beginners guide to British Airways Tier Points

New BA Gatwick lounges

A few weeks back, I promised to take a look at Tier Point runs – which, alongside hotel mattress runs, are some of the more extreme lengths that people will go to secure elite status with a particular loyalty program.

As I was putting that article together, it struck me that I’ve never really taken a proper look at British Airways Tier Points on Tricks of the Trade as well as the different tiers within the British Airways Executive Club.

If you’re already familiar with all there is to know about the benefits of the different BA status levels, feel free to skip this article.

I actually found writing this piece a useful refresher!

What are Tier Points?

The first thing to get out of the way is that Tier Points are entirely separate to Avios (points) – the loyalty currency used by British Airways.

While you can earn Avios via a huge range of non-flying methods, the only way to earn British Airways Tier Points is by flying on British Airways (BA) or one of their partner airlines.

Earn enough Tier Points and you’ll be upgraded to the next elite status level for the remainder of your current membership year as well as the following year. Your membership year is calculated based on the date you joined the British Airways Executive Club.

How many Tier Points will I earn per flight?

The easiest way to work this out is by using the ‘Tier Point calculator‘ on the BA website. Simply plug in the airline, your departure/destination airports and current BA status level and it will produce something like this:

For economy tickets, the number of Tier Points you earn can vary considerably depending on the type of ticket that you book. Some short-haul flights can earn as little as five Tier Points each way.

1.) BA short-haul flights:


2.) BA long-haul flights:


This does vary. Flights that are considered ultra long-haul such as Buenos Aires, Sydney and Tokyo will earn larger amounts.

3.) BA ultra long-haul flights:


British Airways Executive Club – Elite status tiers


This is the entry-level tier. There aren’t really any Blue benefits to write home about except that joining the Club allows you to earn and redeem Avios.


Equivalent to oneworld Ruby status.

Requires: 300 Tier Points + 2 eligible flights*/25 eligible flights.


*Eligible flights are:

Avios reward flights do not count.

You can find a full list of Bronze benefits on this page of the BA website.


Equivalent to oneworld Sapphire status.

Requires: 600 Tier Points + 4 eligible flights or 50 eligible flights


You can find a full list of Silver status benefits on this page of the BA website.


Equivalent to oneworld Emerald status.

Requires: 1500 Tier Points + 4 eligible flights


In addition to the above benefits, there is a range of added extras that are ‘unlocked’ on hitting further Tier Point thresholds:


A full list of Gold status benefits can be found on this page of the BA website.

Gold Guest List

In truth, Gold Guest List (GGL) isn’t actually a standalone tier, but rather a sort of ‘Gold plus’.

Requires: 5,000 Tier Points to qualify initially. You then require a minimum of 3,000 Tier Points to requalify in subsequent years.


As well as all of the standard Gold benefits…

Further rewards are available upon passing 6,000, 7,000, 8,000 and 9,000 Tier Points respectively.

You can find more info on Gold Guest List membership via this excellent guide on Flyertalk.

Any other key bits?

Lifetime membership

On logging into your BA account, you’ll notice a Tier Points total as well as a section for Lifetime Tier Points. For the most part, the lifetime total doesn’t matter too much.

There are two exceptions:

  1. At 35,000 Lifetime Tier Points, you’ll earn Gold for Life or Lifetime Gold status. This means that you will retain Gold status each year and all of the associated benefits, irrespective of whether you reach 1500 Tier Points or not.
  2. At 100,000 Lifetime Tier Points, you’ll earn Gold Guest List for Life status. As with Lifetime Gold status, this means you no longer need to maintain at least 3,000 Tier Points each year. Gold Guest List for Life status also comes with a Concorde Room card.

Keep your status during maternity/paternity leave

Back in 2017, BA revealed an enhancement (a genuine one that is) for new parents, to ensure taking maternity/paternity leave needn’t mean dropping down the status ladder.

It allows members to put their account on hold for a year, protecting hard-earned Executive Club Bronze, Silver or Gold status.

To qualify, members just need to provide a letter from their doctor, a birth certificate or documentation relating to the adoption or paternity leave and email it to, along with their Executive Club membership name and number.

As a further bonus, if you use this benefit, BA will award 1,000 bonus Avios to your new addition when you add them to your British Airways household account.

Is it worth chasing (BA) elite status?

Some people don’t get to make that choice. Their work travel patterns dictate that they spend a large part of their working week up in the air.

While perhaps unavoidable, if you find yourself in such a situation it does make sense to at least pick one frequent flyer program and stick to it where possible – allowing you to build up a high level of elite status over time.

For others, it’s entirely subjective. It will largely depend on the value you attach to the benefits of the next tier and whether you are able to access those perks via other means or not.

Here’s a couple of examples where it might make sense:

1.) You fly a lot of short-haul economy trips (work or otherwise)

If that’s the case, lounge access and the ability to select your seats at the time of booking would be valuable benefits. Valuable enough to make you think about pushing to reach BA Silver status.

2.) You want to redeem Avios around peak periods where availability is scarce

If so, the extra economy seats available to Gold members or the option of booking a Gold Priority Reward would be very useful.

The bottom line is that cost has to be a major factor. You may decide that Gold status would be beneficial for you, but if you’re sitting on 1100 Tier Points and those remaining 400 Tier Points are still some way off, earning them is likely to cost you a substantial amount.

And that’s why Tier Point Runs, which in essence, look to bring in the highest number of Tier Points at the lowest possible cost, can be so enticing. More on that to come…

What’s your approach to tier points and BA elite status? 

Header image credit: Stuart Bailey / British Airways



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