British Airways Adds Bronze Elite Level

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Last month I wrote about some rumored changes to the BA elite program, including the introduction of a new elite tier – Bronze. BA just confirmed the details of this new elite status level:

“Bronze is our new tier between Blue and Silver. It will give you all the benefits of Blue with newly added benefits including:

  • Business class check-in
  • Free seat reservation from seven days before your flight departs
  • 25% tier bonus (1.25 Avios) for every mile you travel with us, Iberia and American Airlines
  • oneworld® Ruby status benefits when you travel with our oneworld partners

From 16 November, you can achieve Bronze status in two ways: by earning 300 Tier Points and taking two eligible flights, or by flying on 25 eligible flights in one membership year.”

Another key thing is changing – they are making their elite qualification more comparable to the US programs. Currently they reset your Tier Points once you hit an elite level and then you need to re-achieve the next. In the new program, it will be a cumulative year-long tally which will also let you enjoy your status longer if you earn it early in your qualification period.

“Rather than resetting your Tier Points when you reach a new tier, from 16 November, you’ll keep them until the end of your 12 month membership period. As a result, your point balance can grow more quickly, allowing you to move through the tiers faster. As soon as you have earned enough Tier Points for the next tier, you’ll qualify for all its benefits straight away. What’s more, you will also keep accumulating Tier Points towards the next level until the end of your membership year. Then your Tier Point balance will be reset to zero, but you will retain whatever status you finished the year with for your next membership year.

Overall, I think this is a smart move to bring in more leisure flyers and encourage them to make elite status when they normally didn’t think it was possible. While Business Class check-in may be a bit more crowded, I don’t think it will be enough of an impact to really ruffle the feathers of Silver/Gold/Premium flyers.

The biggest question for me and most North American BA Executive Club members is, “What are the new redemption levels for Avios?” BA has still been mum on exact details, so I hope they end up releasing that information before the first day of the program, November 16, 2011.

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