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Earlier this month I wrote about a “Tier Point run” that I recently made in North America. Because of how I timed my flights, this will ultimately result in my receiving nearly two years of Silver status instead of the standard one. A couple of readers, however, have gotten in touch to ask for further clarification of how this little trick works, and I decided that another article might be a good idea…
The Difference Between Achieving and Renewing Status
If you already enjoy Gold or Silver status with British Airways Executive Club, you are probably looking to “renew” your current level of status. That requires the standard 600 or 1,500 Tier Points in your own personal Tier Point collection year. Once you surpass that hurdle, you will remain at your current level of status for another year.
Unfortunately I don’t have any magic tricks to make your Tier Points last any longer than your standard 12-month Tier Point collection year. Apart from the standard 2-week extension period that you can request from British Airways Executive Club…
But imagine that you are merely a Bronze member at the moment. Once you meet the 600 Tier Point criteria (+4 BA/Iberia flights), your account will be immediately upgraded to Silver status. This Silver status will be valid for the remainder of your Tier Point year. And because you have met the hurdle for “renewal”, you will receive Silver status for the entirety of your next TP collection year as well.
The same idea applies to a Silver member upgrading to Gold status. The moment you hit that 1,500 Tier Point number (+4 flights) you will be upgraded to Gold status for the remainder of your Tier Point collection year. And naturally those 1,500 Tier Points also are enough for you to renew another year of Gold.
So, in order to take advantage of “2 years for the price of one” you must accept falling to a lower level of elite status and start from zero Tier Points… which allows you to “achieve” your desired level of status and, in the process, “renew” it for another year on top. The faster you accomplish this after the start of your TP collection year –> the longer you will have Silver / Gold status.
In order to show who might want to attempt this trick and who probably simply wants to pursue a standard renewal, here are a couple of examples…
For simplicity purposes these examples will assume a Tier Point collection year ending 8 January, 2020. Therefore the next TP collection year would run from 9 January 2020 until 8 January 2021. And to avoid repeating this proviso, I’ll assume that the required 4 flights on British Airways or Iberia are not an issue…
Example 1 – Mary Buys Economy Tickets but Really Wants Silver Status
At the moment Mary is a Silver member and has accumulated 100 Tier Points since January 2019. She travels frequently in Economy – earning 5 Tier Points each time – but really wants to retain Silver status for the lounge access and free seat selection. As a result, she is willing to undertake a “Tier Point run”. Her options are:
- Earn 500 Tier Points before 8 January, 2020 –> thereby renewing her Silver status until 28 February 2021
- Do nothing now… but earn 600 Tier Points AFTER 9 January 2020 –> “qualifying” for Silver and at the same time earning enough TPs to renew, locking in Silver status until 28 February 2022
The key point here is that Mary requires a substantial number of Tier Points for a level of status that her usual travel patterns are insufficient to meet. But by delaying her “Tier Point” run, she will enjoy Silver status for a much longer period of time.
Example 2 – John is Close to Renewing Gold
At the moment, Gold member John has earned 1,300 Tier Points, but has no further business travel planned before 8 January. His options are:
- Earn 200 Tier Points before 8 January –> thereby renewing his Gold status until 28 February 2021
- Do nothing, accept the soft landing to Silver and earn 1,500 TPs as quickly as possible after 9 January –> “qualifying” for Gold and coincidentally renewing it until 28 February 2022
There’s nothing wrong at all with John deciding that Silver is “good enough” and hoping that his 2020 business travel will quickly return him to Gold status. Or it is entirely straightforward for John to decide that he is close enough to Gold that he ought to renew it if he can find a sensible way to earn 200 more Tier Points…
The Bottom Line
What is the difference between examples 1 and 2? Mary requires a large number of Tier Points, no matter what, so it can make sense to delay her “TP run” to a more advantageous time. John, however, needs a relatively small number of Tier Points before the end of his TP year, but starting from zero thereafter is a much more difficult proposition.
Of course there are countless other examples where the decision is truly difficult… But no matter what you choose, there’s no escaping the fact that on the 9th day of one month per year, your Tier Point balance will reset to zero, and you’ll have to work your way up the mountain yet again. The only question is whether you will be “achieving” a new level of status or merely renewing what you already enjoy…