Get British Airways Elite Status Without Stepping on a BA Plane!

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As much as BA is maligned in the press and the blogging community, British Airways Executive Club remains one of the best Frequent Flyer Programs for UK based flyers, and British Airways elite status can be well worth pursuing.

Back in April, Joe outlined how to use the regular Qatar Sales to achieve BA Silver Status – which is precisely what I will be doing this year. Normally I wouldn’t get anywhere near BA Bronze let alone Silver as I only travel for leisure, but this year I bagged a return Business Class trip from Brussels to Tokyo for €600 in their Travel Festival (yes- seriously!). So I started looking at how to achieve the remaining 40 Tier Points and 4 BA Flights I’d need to qualify for BA Executive Club Silver.

British London Airways

One of the biggest criticisms I could level at BA is their (almost) complete lack of direct services from the regions outside London. They have created their fortress hub at London Heathrow and seem to have little interest in expanding to the regions beyond a domestic shuttle services to London and a few infrequent leisure routes using tiny aircraft, at inconvenient times, that they’re having to bribe people to take, whilst London City Airport is closed over the weekend.

Luckily there are options for those of us who choose to live outside the M25…

BA Codeshares!

At the bottom of the information page outlining how many Tier Points you need for each level, is a very important bullet point defining what counts towards your “4 BA Flights” for Silver or Gold – “Codeshare flights on other carriers with a BA Flight Number”.

This means you’ll have to book through, but can fly direct from your local airport without the hassle and expense of first travelling to London!

In the example below for a random weekend in September, you could pop from Birmingham to Paris for £57 each way on BA’s LCC sister airline Vueling – earning 10 Tier Points and 2 qualifying flights for £114! Repeat and you’ve got your 4 Flights in the bag.

When booking Vueling flights through, you get a 23kg checked bag included as standard – this is why it might look a little more pricey than the headline price with Vueling direct which won’t include checked bags.

Checking this specific example, booking direct with Vueling the equivalent fare with baggage is £103. £10 extra, if you’re trying to qualify for BA status, is well worth it in my book!

Remember though, that if you already have British Airways elite status you won’t receive status benefits such as free seat selection on Vueling as it isn’t formally a OneWorld member.

Vueling is just one example

BA operates a number of codeshares with other OneWorld alliance partners, such as Iberia, American Airlines and Finnair – so wherever you want/need to go, you have plenty of options that will count towards your BA Status qualification. Just book via the BA website and ensure it has a BA flight number and it will count!


  1. Pangolin says

    BRU to TYO in C for €600 is absolutely phenomenal! If you see another one like that please do post it here 🙂

    If you’re travelling East rather than West from the UK there are generally much better options than BA. It’s only TATL that it becomes harder to avoid.

    Personally, I avoid BA like the plague but as I’m usually based on the continent there’s even less reason to consider it.

    • RichT says

      Pangolin, that Qatar rate was a flash deal that was only around for a few hours – and Joe did flag it!

      Best way to be informed about these type of deals is to follow @InsideFlyerUK on twitter and enable notifications!

      Luckily AA seems to have upped their game and are actually working towards improving their TATL services unlike certain others. I’m also interested to try preclearance at DUB maybe flying Aer Lingus as my two encounters with US Immigration last year both took over an hour due to humongous queues.

      • Ian Perry says

        I’ll be flying Aer Lingus BHX-DUB-BOS in a month, also largely motivated by poor immigration experiences at BOS previously (and cost!)

        • RichT says

          At LAS, we had some passengers who seemed to have perhaps drunk their duty free purchases before landing (cabin crew in F had reported they had closed the bar in Y due to some people taking it too far…) so had to stand with them behind us for nearly 2hrs and they seemed to have lost their sense of “personal space”.

          At BOS in May, it was mayhem with a Qatar, Emirates and Hainan flight in front of us. The VERY confusing lane system they use in terms of Red, Green and Blue which confused EVERYONE, leading to people cutting backwards and forwards between them. Once we then made it to the automated machines, it did not like my finger print which meant I had to go and get in a secondary queue to see one of their human agents who had less personality than the machine.


  2. Craig Sowerby says

    Iberia Express is also an option for those outside of London. Wikipedia says that they serve Birmingham, Manchester year-round, with Cardiff and Edinburgh as seasonal destinations.

    A weekend in Spain, connecting in Madrid to another Spanish airport… there’s your 4 flights, but on Iberia…

    • RichT says

      I concentrated on Vueling so people still feel like they’re getting that “enhanced” BA service and product 😉

      • Craig Sowerby says

        LOL. I’m pretty sure that Iberia Express is just as “enhanced”, except that nobody ever started out with great expectations for an Iberia low cost product…

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