British Airways Executive Club is considered one of the best frequent flyer programs in the Oneworld alliance, especially when it comes to quickly attaining status. With its Tier Points system, a single well-planned trip can be enough to achieve Sapphire status with a minimum one-year validity.
To start the week, British Airways announced changes to the status acquisition. In contrast to the current regulation where qualification periods start and end depending on when you joined the program, they will become standardized by April 2025. So time for a sigh of relief: For now, there will be no changes to the current Tier Points system or status thresholds.
Universal Qualifying Year from April Through March
Members of the Executive Club always have 12 months to accrue the necessary Tier Points. Currently, the year is based on the member’s enrollment date. For example, my year runs from October 9, 2023, to October 8, 2024, but for other members, it could be from August to August (or any of the other 10 months). The date here varies depending on the account.
This is about to change. British Airways has announced that the qualification year will now run from April 1 to March 31 of the following year. This standardization will come into effect from April 1, 2025. Consequently, there will be no immediate changes for bookings already made. However, there will be a transition period, which may complicate matters slightly, similar to the transition from the old to the new system.
Depending on your travel routines, the change may have positive or negative implications for you. For instance, families traveling together must currently pay attention. Despite identical flight behavior, it is possible that one person (A) achieves Silver status, while the other (B) does not. On one hand, this is disadvantageous (if B does not otherwise attain any status), but on the other hand, it can be advantageous (B’s status may still be valid even after A’s has expired).
This change has further implications:
For new members to the Executive Club, it will be more challenging to achieve elite status in the future. The 300/600/1,500 Tier Points must be earned within a few months instead of over the next 12 months. You can avoid this by signing up in April or May.
Additionally, it will no longer be as easy for new members to instantly attain status for 24 months. Previously, this was achievable by creating an account shortly before the flights which earn enough tier points.
Also, there currently is an almost two-month grace period during which a status remains valid despite not meeting the requirements. In the future, this will be reduced to a single month.
Let’s assume a qualification period that ends on August 8 for this example. That means that the following regulations will apply:
- July 9, 2023, to August 8, 2024: Regular status qualification as previously possible.
- April 1, 2024, to March 31, 2025: Qualification possible with transitional regulation.
- April 1, 2025, to March 31, 2026: Qualification according to the new regulation (the same for everyone).
In this case, Tier Points earned between August 8, 2024, and March 31, 2025, will count towards both the August 8, 2024, and March 31, 2025, period. Those who reach the necessary 300/600/1,500 Tier Points during this period could enjoy a status validity until March 2026 (instead of the regular September 2025). Here’s an example explanation from the BA website:
On the FAQ page, British Airways explains this and other details. An already achieved status will not be cut short by the changes. However, there are still uncertainties regarding the soft landing. Silver members who fail to re-qualify currently drop to Bronze for a full year. It is conceivable that this will now be shortened to a few months
The change itself is not a bad thing and leads to the Executive Club functioning similarly to, for example, Miles&More. There are a few big winners and losers, but by and large, not much changes.
However, there is already speculation about whether British Airways is planning a complete long-term overhaul of the Tier Point system. Oneworld partner Finnair already went through with one, awarding status points based on the ticket price. For those who value budget travel, it would be sad to see another loyalty program shifting its focus from frequent flyers to frequent spenders.
Translated by Carlos