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What does British Airways elite status get you, and how do you earn it?

Jan. 02, 2021
8 min read
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Editor's Note

This story has been updated.

British Airways elite status is one of the most valuable things if you travel frequently with the carrier. It's the way that British Airways rewards you for showing loyalty to it and its Oneworld partner airlines. Each tier, from Blue to Bronze, Silver, Gold and Gold Guest List, offers upgraded levels of priority and benefits.

The ladder is climbed by collecting Tier Points within each membership year. Tier Points are earned by flying on British Airways and its partner airlines.

Status is achieved at the following levels:

  • Bronze — 300 Tier Points
  • Silver — 600 Tier Points
  • Gold — 1,500 Tier Points
  • Gold Guest List — 5,000 Tier Points (3,000 to retain)

Once you hit a certain status level, you will retain that level for the remainder of that membership year, and the whole of the following membership year. You will also benefit from a soft landing down from one level to the next. For example, if a member hits Gold but then earns no Tier Points in the following year, they will automatically drop down to Silver once the Gold membership year expires.

However, the global pandemic led to British Airways shifting the goalposts to compensate everyone being stuck on the ground for much of 2020. In June 2020, BA announced that it would extend the status of Executive Club members by a full year, for members whose Tier Point collection year begins in July 2020 through to June 2021.

Related: British Airways extends Executive Club elite status by 12 months and reduces thresholds for all

BA is also reducing the Tier Point thresholds to requalify for status until July 2022 by 25%. These are the new lower thresholds:

Bronze — 225 Tier Points
Silver — 450 Tier Points
Gold — 1,125 Tier Points
Gold Guest List — 3,750 Tier Points (2,250 Tier Points to retain)
Concorde Room Card — 3,750 Tier Points

So what exactly does each tier of status earn you? I'll take you through the benefits of each.

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Blue status

Blue is the entry-level tier and available to anyone who signs up to the Executive Club. It's free to sign up on the BA website, and is a total no-brainer.

Blue Benefits

(Photo by Nicky Kelvin/The Points Guy)

Bronze status

Bronze is your first taste of the good life. Bronze is well within reach for the semiregular traveler. One return business-class ticket with a domestic connection on British Airways is enough to hit this level.

Bronze benefits

Silver status

Silver is where things start to get really nice, and you will feel the love. This is something worth chasing, especially for the lounge access, but also is within reach of many travelers. It can also be a huge money saver, especially for families. The best part is that with just one good flight deal, you might be able to achieve Silver status in a weekend.

Silver benefits

  • All the Bronze benefits
  • Priority check-in
  • Free seat selection at the time of booking
  • 50% bonus Avios when flying with BA, Iberia, American Airlines and Japan Airlines
  • Additional baggage allowance (2 x is 70 lb bags in economy)
  • Business class lounge access when flying BA and partner airlines (with one guest)
BA's Galleries Club World lounge at LHR's Terminal 5
BA's Galleries Club World lounge at LHR's Terminal 5

Gold status

Gold takes things to the next level. The benefits really make you feel more like a VIP, and for a regular traveler, time and cost savings and improvements in comfort are very noticeable. Gold does take some work to achieve, and the sort of trip that might earn you Silver would have to involve far more complicated routings and multiple trips.

For those rolling in this world, Lifetime Gold, earned after collecting 35,000 Tier Points with no limit on the amount of time you can take to collect, affords you Gold status for life.

Gold benefits

  • All the Silver benefits
  • Free seat selection at the time of booking including exit row seats and exclusive access to 1A and 1K in first class
  • 100% bonus Avios when flying with BA, Iberia, American Airlines and Japan Airlines
  • Additional free checked bag and in any class and a weight allowance of 70 lb per bag (applicable to everyone on your booking)
  • First class check-in desk and lounge access when flying BA and Oneworld airlines (lounge access includes one guest)
  • Use of BA arrivals lounges after a long-haul flight (no guests)
  • Access to Gold Priority Rewards, which allows you to force an Avios reward ticket by paying double Avios for flights (you must book more that 30 days in advance)
  • Additional reward availability in economy
  • Gold Upgrade Voucher for two (at 2,500 Tier Points in one year)
  • Two Gold Upgrade Vouchers for one (at 3,500 Tier Points in one year)
  • Transfer Avios for free
The First Class Wing check in at London Heathrow's Terminal 5. (Photo by Nicky Kelvin/The Points Guy)

Gold Guest List status

Gold Guest List is the holy grail of British Airways elite status. You will have to travel lots and lots to achieve this status — you only have to look at the travel schedule of TPG U.K.'s very own General Manager Christian Kramer to understand how much. It is doable, though, and the benefits are undeniable.

For the ultra loyal, Gold Guest List for life is yours after earning 100,000 Tier Points.

Gold Guest List benefits

  • All the Gold benefits
  • First class lounge access when flying BA and Oneworld airlines (with up to five guests for BA-operated lounges)
  • Access to Gold Guest List redemptions, also known as Jokers, which allow members to get BA to open up Avios redemption seats (for up to five passengers) provided certain bookings classes are still up for sale
  • Priority assistance helpline
  • Concorde room card (on earning 5,000 Tier Points) for access to the Concorde Room at LHR and JFK (with one guest)
  • Use of BA arrivals lounges after a long-haul flight (with one guest)
  • Further lucrative benefits at 6,000, 7,000, 8,000 and 9,000 Tier Points (such as further upgrade vouchers, jokers and 50,000 Avios)
  • Hilton Honors Diamond status
  • Upgrade to Business First on the Heathrow Express
  • Gift one Gold and two Silver partner cards each membership year

Bottom line

Depending on the frequency and the way in which you travel, status can vary from being a nice thing to have, all the way to a route to huge improvements in your travel experience and a ticket to saving hundreds — if not thousands — of pounds on extras like seating and baggage costs.

Arm yourself with knowledge on how status might help you. If you already have it, ensure you are making the most of it, and if not, then consider whether it's worth going the extra mile to achieve it.

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TPG Editor‘s Rating
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Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

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Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
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Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
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  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

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  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
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Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023