How To Get British Airways Silver Status For £311…

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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.

BA Club Europe

How to get British Airways Silver status for £311

Step 1:

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).

Step 2:

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...

Step 3

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.

Bottom line

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!


    • Joe Deeney says

      Theoretically, probably (for example, you’d have 1:10 in Sofia). The issue for the foreseeable though is schedule changes/cancellations for all sorts of reasons, so I would personally just make plans to enjoy a quick overnight stop. If time is a massive factor, I would probably look at paying a bit more to start elsewhere in UK to rack up another 80 TPs per return.

  1. ColinJE says

    Good article Joe, especially your point about offsetting the Avios earned from the cost. 300 quid for silver is indeed a bargain.
    I’m a bit hazy about when the BA 25% reduction ends? My status year ends October (and Silver status has been extended by BA to Oct 2021), so by when would I have to earn 450 tier points to get another year, extending it to Oct 2022?

    • Joe Deeney says

      Cheers Colin!

      Yes it is a bit confusing (and I would recommend getting it in writing from BA just to be certain). As far as I understand it,the rule is that the reduced tier point thresholds will apply to all membership years which end on or before 8th July 2022. So, you’re definitely fine up until October 2021, but I’m not completely sure what would happen after then for your account. If your account year ended in July rather than October, you’d be good all the way through to July 2022, but I’m unsure if you would benefit from that period between Oct 2021 and July 2022.

      • ColinJE says

        Thanks Joe
        That’s great. My interpretation then is that so long as I earn 450 TPs by Oct 2021 I’ll be good for Oct 2021-22. And if I earned 450 TPs between Oct 2021 and June 2022 I’d retain silver until Oct 2023.
        If I was being canny I’d not book any Club seats until Oct 21 then only fly Club and get my 450 TPs between Oct 21 and June 22.
        Seems like the reduced TP scheme is really aimed at those wanting to go up a tier, rather than those just wanting to retain one. The status extension rather undermines it.

        • Joe Deeney says

          Yes, status extension (and the fact everyone has different membership years) makes it pretty confusing. I would personally double check your interpretation with BA directly, just in case – always best to get this stuff in writing.

    • Joe Deeney says

      😉 I think you’d be surprised about the value people put on airline status. It’s not something I’ve ever chased myself actually (I tend to use convenient LCCs for short haul and points/miles for biz/first long haul), but there are many thousands of BAEC members who care passionately about it.

      Put it this way: IF BA sold Silver status for say £500 straight up, there would be no shortage of buyers.

      • ColinJE says

        I suppose if you don’t use a lounge, don’t like to prebook a seat and don’t want extra Avios then status I’d pointless. Otherwise I’d value the lounge and seat reservation for a couple to be worth about £100-120 fir a return trip in Europe… assuming lounges are open of course.

        • cinereus says

          Hmm. Would have thought most people have lounge already, would never pay for a seat and would lose at least £50 paying BA premium for most routings so on average, even if you fly more than most and lounges are open, rationally it all comes out in the wash.

          Of course, some people like the idea/”status” even if it costs real money and time. I’m nit sure I’d make a run to Sofia for just a few hundred eitherm…

      • ColinJE says

        I suppose if you don’t use a lounge, don’t like to prebook a seat and don’t want extra Avios then status is pointless. Otherwise I’d value the lounge and seat reservation for a couple to be worth about £100-120 for a return trip in Europe… assuming lounges are open of course.

        • Craig Sowerby says

          Yes. Seat selection has value because I will nearly always pay for it on Ryanair, Vueling, etc. to get emergency exit. Free on BA, IB, AA, etc…

          Likewise the lounge has value and I’d argue that airline lounges are usually better than third party lounges you pay for.

          And extra Avios is pure value… You earn more Avios from your status than from the ticket itself in many scenarios…

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