Confessions of a British Airways Tier Point Runner

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BBC Radio 4 recently ran a 30-minute segment that is well worth a listen or two. Without actually naming the airline – ahh… Auntie Beeb and her “let’s not be commercial” attitude – the programme took a peek inside the world of those who choose to chase British Airways Executive Club status through so-called Tier Point runs.

The programme is spot on with its gentle mocking of the chase for elite status, although some liberties are taken – especially with the descriptions of First Class, which any frequent flyer can clearly recognise as Etihad‘s version rather than BA‘s…

You can listen to the programme by clicking here.

I promised a confession… It’s been a couple of years since I’ve done a Tier Point run although the temptation remains strong! But here’s my personal best (admittedly done with overnight stops in hotels sprinkled in to avoid insanity…)

Vancouver – Phoenix – Las Vegas – Los Angeles – San Francisco – Charlotte – Atlanta – Washington DC – Miami – Panama – Miami – Charlotte – Raleigh Durham – Washington DC – Pittsburgh – New York JFK – Phoenix – Vancouver.

1,240 Tier Points and 37,000 Avios for £800.

Can you beat that? Are you willing to admit to any crazy TP runs yourself? Let us know in the comments section…


  1. Hasim says

    All on QR business
    Cmb-jnb rtn £450
    Cmb-lhr o/w £350

    So 840 TIER points + 22k air miles. The o/w was an extravagance. For positioning bought a ex-eu ey y fare for less than 200, and upgraded with 55k ey points, from cc, Oz trip and compensation.

    Definitely there is better to be had but for my first foray into flight deals, I was happy. Safari in SA and amazing trip to Sri Lanka. Booked end of 2015.

    Back in the day .. Dub-lhr-jfk-lax-las rtn for slightly less than 1k with first class transcontinental flatbed.
    40+140+210+60 x2 = 900. Amazing service, and using first qantas lounge at lax.

    Some great holidays in 15/16. Always in business and first 😉

    Last year lhr-hnd not bad for 500 pounds, sake deal.
    Some great deals on star alliance as well. Can’t forget OSL-Sea for £500

    • Craig Sowerby says

      I’ll have to remember CMB for my next TP run window in mid 2019. Cheap J fares and somewhere I want to visit. Two birds with one stone… Thanks for the reminder.

  2. Adam says

    Listened to the broadcast last week and was surprised to hear one guest admitting to spending £35,000 in TP run fares to acquire lifetime gold.
    Is this really good value?

    • Craig Sowerby says

      I do wonder that myself; I really struggle to think of much difference between Silver and Gold besides the quality of food/champagne in London lounges and the bonus Avios on paid BA/AA/IB flights. And if you’re not travelling enough to earn Silver organically, then you probably aren’t using your Gold status enough to accumulate sufficient value.

  3. Adam says

    I worked out I could do 4 x European TP runs to gain silver for approx £298 but then that was when the BA sale was on.
    Can anyone document what value you get with gold over silver which backs up needing all the extra TP points.
    I’m interested in the differences in the values of each tier towards the amount of points required or cash outlay for the flights.

  4. Joanna says

    the most valuable perk for Gold vs silver are not only free upgrades (E+ to B and even couple of time B to F)
    but additional availability of one way tickets when emergency strikes.
    (we on YVR-LHR-LYS route back and forth, organically).
    so at least once a year we take vacations flying AA to places like Costa Rica or Panama
    trying to chose the most convoluted route possible

    but nothing close to your crazy run mentioned in the original post

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