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Thanks to the superb Club Europe fares BA is offering at the moment, it is possible to get British Airways Silver status for just £311.
How to get British Airways Silver status for £311
The first thing to note 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 Silver status here, as that’s when the good stuff (like lounge access, free seat selection, extra luggage allowance, etc) starts.
The number of Tier Points you earn per flight is determined by a number of factors. It’s a bit complex, so BA has a calculator to help.
As a basic rule though, flying in Economy won’t get you very many Tier Points at all.
To earn meaningful amounts of Tier Points, you need to be travelling in Business Class really. This means that BA’s relatively cheap short-haul ‘Club Europe’ fares are often a decent way to rack them up.
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 get British Airways Silver status, you need 450 Tier Points at the moment. That means just 3 return flights to destinations that provide 160 Tier Points is more than sufficient (3 x 160 = 480).
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!
Three return flights would therefore set you back £434.43 in total, but we can reduce that a bit...
To get British Airways Silver status for £311, 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, in total, you would earn 12,343 Avios (worth ~£123.43) from your three flights.
Subtract £123.43 from the cost of the three flights (which was £434.43). Your total cost to get British Airways Silver status becomes £311.
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.
I’m not suggesting for a second that now is a good time to travel. With a bit of luck though, by next Spring (the example dates used) things will be quite a bit better. 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 three times. The point of this article is simply to show what is possible.
I think there’s a good question as to whether elite status will be as valuable over the next couple of years as it has been historically. Low Business Class fares, reduced lounge offerings, etc, will all change the dial. That said, it’s hard to argue that £311 is expensive for three short Club Europe breaks + BA Silver status!