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Following on from yesterday’s post about how to get British Airways Silver status for £311, I thought I’d quickly run the numbers on how to (cheaply!) earn British Airways Gold status too.
If you read yesterday’s post, you will find all the same elements below – the idea is just extended further.
BA is offering extremely good Club Europe fares at the moment. Thanks to those fares, it is possible to earn British Airways Gold status for just £677.
How to earn British Airways Gold status for £677
The first thing to understand is that the requirements for earning status have been reduced by 25% from the usual 300/600/1500 Tier Points to the following:
- Bronze: 225 Tier Points or 18 eligible flights
- Silver: 450 Tier Points or 37 eligible flights
- Gold: 1125 Tier Points
We are going to concentrate on British Airways Gold status here. Gold status comes with lots of excellent benefits, including access to BA’s First Class lounges.
Flying in Club Europe is good way to rack up Tier Points affordably and quickly. The longer short-haul routes to places like Sofia, Athens, Istanbul, and Malta are of particular interest. That is because they earn 80 Tier Points each way (160 return) in Club Europe, as opposed to just 40 each way (80 return) for shorter flights. Head For Points has a useful list of which Club Europe routes earn the higher amounts here.
To earn British Airways Gold status, you need 1125 Tier Points at the moment. That means just 7 return flights to destinations that provide 160 Tier Points is very nearly enough (7 x 160 = 1120). For the final 5 Tier Points, literally any BA or partner flight will do – including Economy, or even domestic flights.
There is no shortage of excellent Club Europe fares at the moment, including destinations that earn 160 Tier Points (like Malta, Istanbul, Reykjavik and Bucharest) for well under £200 return.
The very cheapest destination though is Sofia, where dates are available for as little as £144.81 return!
Seven return flights would therefore set you back £1,013.67. Add ~£15 for a one way in Economy and let’s call the total £1030.
The good news is, we can actually reduce that by quite bit …
To earn British Airways Gold status for £677, you need to take into account the Avios you will earn from the flights too.
As a rule of thumb, it is reasonable to value Avios at about 1p each. A BA Executive Club member with no status would earn 3,798 Avios for a return flight to Sofia in Club Europe. At a value of 1p per Avios, that is worth roughly £38.
After completing your second trip, you would already have Bronze status. Therefore, you would receive a 25% Avios bonus on your third flight. This means that you would earn 12,343 Avios in total from your first three flights.
For the remaining flights, you will have Silver status and therefore receive an Avios bonus of 50%. The four Club Europe return flights to Sofia would each get you 5,697, so 22,788 in total. You would also earn at least 187 Avios from the single Economy flight.
Add all the above together, and you would earn a grand total of 35,318 Avios – worth £353.
Subtract £353 from your out of pocket cost of £1,030 and your ‘net’ cost to earn British Airways Gold status would be £677!
If you are unsure about whether it is fair to value Avios at 1p each, it is worth noting that on these actual London-Sofia Club Europe flights, you can redeem 3,000 Avios to knock £30 off:
If you already have British Airways elite status, your ‘net’ cost would be even lower, due to the higher Avios earning rates that come with having elite status.
A member who already had Gold status, for example, would earn a total ~53,400 Avios from the flights listed above. That would reduce their ‘net’ cost for re-qualifying down to just £496!
As I’ve explained before, I’m not suggesting for a second that now is a good time to travel. By next Spring though (the example dates used), the situation will hopefully be different. BA’s ‘Book with Confidence’ policy (latest terms can be found here), ensures that changing or cancelling your flights for a voucher isn’t a problem if required.
In reality, you would probably want to mix things up a bit and pay a little more to visit a number of different destinations, rather than going to Sofia and back seven times(!). The point of this article is simply to show what is possible.
Remember that British Airways operates a policy of so called ‘soft landings’ for elite members. So, even once your Gold status eventually expired, you would still have another year Business Class lounge access and other perks, thanks to Silver status.