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Earning elite status with British Airways Executive Club can be easy or excruciatingly difficult, depending on how much business (or paid long-haul in a premium cabin) travel you do. Status is determined over a personal 12-month period and requires the following number of “Tier Points”:
- Gold –> 1,500 Tier Points + 4 BA / Iberia flights
- Silver –> 600 Tier Points + 4 BA / Iberia flights
Shortly, I will be soft landing to Silver for the first time in many years. I’m sure that no reader will shed a tear for me, but perhaps my research of the differences between Gold and Silver status will become a useful resource for some…
Gold members receive access to additional reward inventory when booking reward flights using their Avios. I believe this books out of ‘V’ class inventory.
Gold members can also book a Gold Priority Reward by spending double the usual amount of Avios. This opens up every Economy seat on the flight. There are other restrictions involved.
Silver members see the same reward space as everybody else… 🙁
Gold members earn a 100% mileage bonus. Silver members earn a 50% mileage bonus.
This bonus only applies to paid flights on British Airways, Iberia, American Airlines and Japan Airlines. In practice this means that a Gold member will earn a 500 Avios “Tier Bonus” on a short-haul flight to Europe, whilst a Silver member will earn 250 Avios.
Both Gold and Silver members can pre-select a seat for free at the time of booking. However, Silver members cannot pre-select the following seats on British Airways:
- 1A / 1K in First Class long-haul
- Exit row seating in World Traveller long-haul
- Select preferred seats in Club World / Club Europe
Gold members can use First Class check-in counters where available. Silver members can use Business Class check-in counters.
Additional Baggage Allowance
Neither Gold nor Silver members receive any special treatment on BA’s hand-baggage-only Basic fares. However, they do receive additional baggage on every other Oneworld partner airline, even when booking a hand-baggage-only fare.
Gold members receive an additional free checked bag in any travel class. This applies to everyone travelling on the same booking. When flying British Airways, Gold members also receive an increase in their weight allowance from the standard 23 kg per bag to 32 kg per bag.
Silver members also receive an additional free checked bag in any travel class, up to a maximum of two free pieces. In practice this means that Silver members flying in Business or First Class will rely on the baggage allowance of their ticket, not their elite status.
Fast Track Security
Gold members are usually invited to use fast track or priority security queues with their guest(s). This includes the First Class wing at London Heathrow’s Terminal 5.
Although not officially entitled to fast track security across the Oneworld alliance, Silver members will often receive an invitation from British Airways to use a fast track security queue.
Gold members are allowed to access First Class lounges before their flight, with the exception of the Concorde Room at Heathrow’s Terminal 5 and New York’s JFK airport. (and select Qatar Airways lounges as well)
Silver members are allowed to access Business Class lounges.
In practice, most airports served by British Airways do not actually offer First Class lounges so Gold and Silver members will be using the same lounge.
Both Gold and Silver members are entitled to bring 1 guest into the lounge.
The last few times I’ve flown on British Airways, it has seemed to me that the new “group-based” boarding process – read here – has been quietly dropped and the gate agents have reverted to a “everybody is elite, so nobody is elite” system where Gold, Silver and Bronze members receive Priority Boarding. Depending on the route, that means that almost everybody joins the priority queue.
Contacting Executive Club
When calling British Airways Executive Club, Gold members are supposed to call a different phone number – log in to your account and look for “Contact Us” – that will entitle them to priority status in the queue.
Op-ups, IRROPs Handling, etc.
These mysterious benefits cannot really be quantified in any way. In theory, Gold members receive the best treatment BA can manage when things go wrong. However often that treatment doesn’t actually feel substantially different to the service being provided to every other BA customer in times of irregular operations.
Upgrades are even more mysterious. Most airlines only upgrade passengers when their booked cabin is oversold. Notionally, Gold members have a higher CIV score (Commercial Individual Value I believe…) and should receive higher priority for operational upgrades. In practice, Silver members have reported receiving upgrades, even when travelling with work colleagues enjoying a higher level of status. YMMV…
Is there much of a difference between Gold and Silver with British Airways Executive Club? I’m not sure – when I write it all down it doesn’t seem so… What do you think?