What Are the Differences Between Gold and Silver Status With British Airways Executive Club

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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…

Reward Inventory

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…  🙁

Bonus Avios

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.

Seat Selection

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

Priority Check-in

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.

Lounge Access

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.

Priority Boarding

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?


  1. Adam says

    For a while I contemplated some TP runs to gain silver. Status is a great freebie if you were travelling anyway on cash paid tickets or on paid business flights.
    If you have to pay out of your own pocket to manufacture TP’s To gain Silver, you really need to sit down and work out what value you would get for all the expenditures, inconvenience factors etc.

    • Craig Sowerby says

      Indeed. After spending years advising people along the lines of “if you don’t earn status organically, then you aren’t using it enough to make it worthwhile to pay for it”, I’m finally taking my own advice. I suspect I’ll get around to writing a post about it.

      That said, if you are flying regularly to the continent on cheap 5 TP fares, then you are quite likely to find the value in a TP run or AUP to get Silver or Gold…

  2. Adam says

    There is value even in purposely flying to generate TP’s, e.g: LHR – HEL x 4 I found the cheapest route in CE @ £222.50 per RTN. However, you would need to fly at least 3 x LH in CW to get your money back by being able to preselect your seats for two people RTN’s.
    This value calculation above included travel costs to & from LHR & overnight stays in HEL as they were last in & first out in the morning flights.
    Pods @ HEL came in at £35 per night, car parking at LHR or 4 x train tickets.
    If you were to suddenly become a regular flyer in E then the biz class lounge access would come Very handy.

  3. Sharat says

    Gold has a few distinct benefits – First class check in at T5- best fast track check in experience , additional economy flights on Avios and book any flight with double Avios! All these are worth , if you can stay on Gold by just an extra effort – like I book long haul first class with BA sales, when prices are down by several hundred pounds!

  4. Tim says

    I was going to drop from gold to silver last year but BA comped me gold. (Nothing to do with IT meltdown). I’ve burned through my Avios the past year. I’ll be silver on 1st October. My plan is to keep on burning through Avios. Then post 8th August 2019 go for gold in a month. I was debating Star Alliance – but Finnair plus LCY flights are still civilised. And I can justify forking out 2000 GBP in August 2019 for 2 years of gold and one of silver – which is my plan from now on.

    • Craig Sowerby says

      I might be seeing you on a TP run in August / September 2019 then. That’s precisely my plan…

      I’ve been wondering whether BA will comp me another year of Gold after roughly 15 years straight of Gold. But I’m not holding my breath, as it’s been a rather long time since I was a valuable customer to the airline itself.

      • Tim says

        9 years in Brussels. I moved back to UK just prior to last year. I was a bit surprised about the comp as previous year I was working down the Avios and spent little. Previous 8 years did see quite a bit of cash flow through BA though. Have you checked your BA order items?

  5. Mr Roos says

    For someone Avios rich the extra availability and double gold priority reward is useful when points are no issue, this is also useful for seat selection in advance but to gain status from scratch would end up costing a fair amount so unless you are planning on a lot of points redemption within the period that you would get the status it might be worth considering paying for the seats etc and use Avios+cash.

    As my membership year resets shortly I am thinking about it as it would mean I could get status for nearly 2 years (if I am correct in my thinking that you get the status for the next year)

    • Craig Sowerby says

      Yes. You have a 7-week window (between the 9th and the end of the following month) where your status hasn’t dropped yet, but you are in a new TP collection year. Do your 600 / 1500 TPs during that window and you get nearly 2 years of the relevant status out of it.

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