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As Tom pointed out a few days ago, there are some good deals in the current British Airways Sale, including some excellent Club Europe prices to places like Malta. Combining the sale with BA’s temporarily boosted ‘part pay with Avios’ offer means that you can pick up British Airways Silver status for under £300.00!
What is British Airways Silver Status, and why would I want it?
As you can see, Silver status is where things start getting interesting, as it equates to Oneworld Sapphire and grants you free lounge access when flying in Economy on Oneworld airlines, as well as free seat selection, additional baggage allowance and 50% bonus Avios.
If you fly quite a bit in Economy on Oneworld airlines, having Silver status would make your travels considerably more pleasant!
How do I get Status? – What are ‘tier points’?
When you fly on British Airways (or credit other Oneworld flights to your BA Executive Club account) you earn both Avios (which you can redeem for flights) and Tier Points. The amount of Tier Points you earn in each membership year (365 days from when you signed up to BA Exec Club) decides what status level you have for the rest of that membership year and the next.
So, for example, if you joined BA Executive Club today (19th June 2016), and earned Silver status by next month (July 2016), you would retain Silver status all of this membership year (until 19th June 2017), and next membership year too – so until 19th June 2018.
The number of tier points you earn per flight is determined by the distance, the class of travel and the fare bucket. It’s a bit complex, so BA have a calculator to help.
As a basic rule though, flying in Economy won’t get you very many tier points at all (unless you happen to book into expensive flexible fare buckets).
To earn meaningful amounts of tier points, you need to be travelling in Business Class really, and BA’s relatively cheap short-haul ‘Club Europe’ fares are a decent way to rack them up.
The slightly longer short-haul routes to places like Helsinki, Athens, Istanbul, Marrakech and Malta are of particular interest because they earn 80 tier points each way (160 Return) in Club Europe, as opposed to just 40 each way (80 Return) for shorter flights. Head For Points has a useful list of which Club Europe routes earn 80 tier points here.
British Airways Silver status requires earning 600 tier points in a membership year, so 4 Club Europe returns to any of the destinations that earn 80 tier points each way would be more than enough (160 x 4 = 640).
British Airways Sale Prices
There are some good Club Europe prices in the current sale, starting at under £100.00 each way.
Even better is that there are fares to Malta for just £111.00 each way – and flights to Malta earn 80 tier points each way. In other words, four Return flights to Malta in Club Europe will earn Silver status for ~ £888.00.
Boosted ‘Part Pay With Avios’
Running alongside the the current sale, BA have once again boosted the discounts they offer for using Avios towards the cost of flights.
You can normally use 15,000 Avios to save £100.00, but until 12th July, that is boosted by 50% to £150.00.
Put it all together…
Using the Malta example from above then, using 15,000 Avios brings the price for Return flights in Club Europe down to just £71.52!
That is a remarkable deal in itself, when you consider that to book the same flights as a normal Avios redemption would require 34,000 (off peak) or 40,000 (peak) + £50.00!
It’s actually even better than that though because you earn Avios back on paid flights, even when part paying with Avios, which you do not on normal award flights.
As you might be able to see at the bottom of the screenshot above, a British Airways Executive Club member without status would earn 3,844 Avios for a Return to Malta in Club Europe.
Bronze status would be earned after the second Return though, so the second two Returns would get 25% more Avios – 4,805.
The total cost for British Airways Silver status would therefore be £286.08 + 42,702 Avios (60,000 – 17,298).
If you want Silver status but don’t have that many Avios (or value them at more than 1 pence each), you could pay the full price of £886.08 and earn 17,298 Avios. Alternatively, you could choose to do something between the two extremes – the ‘Avios neutral’ option (where you earn back the same number you spend), would leave you about £710.00 out of pocket, for example.
The sums work out even better for people who already have Silver or Gold status and are looking to requalify, because of the Avios bonus that comes with status.
A Silver member (50% bonus) would earn 5,766 Avios per Return, so their net cost would be £71.52 + 9,234 Avios per Return.
A member with Gold status would earn 7,688 Avios per Return, so their net cost would be £71.52 + 7,312 Avios.
Flying to Malta and back four times just for British Airways Silver status is stupid
Yeah, I actually completely agree – but believe me when I say people have gone to much greater lengths!
I’m not seriously recommending this as a way to earn status from scratch, but a quick trip to Malta is always great and the price is really good – if it meant earning enough tier points to push you up to Silver too then that’s an excellent bonus.
If you are tempted to earn status from scratch in this way, personally, I would have a look at what other Club Europe routes are cheap in the sale too and maybe plan some long weekends in a few different places!