Understanding British Airways avios (miles), tier points and the magic American Express voucher

What are British Airways Avios? And Tier Points? And how do you use the American Express voucher?

If you read this blog often, or know me personally, there is no hiding that I am a huge fan of British Airways and its Executive Club programme, which earns you Avios, a fancy word for air miles. Before I moved to the UK, I used to be with Star Alliance, but even before I moved, I realised that the One World programme worked much better for me.

So over the past few years, I have ‘converted’ many friends. And more and more, I get questions from readers asking how it works. It is quite simple, to be honest, but you need to understand a few things. So I thought I would explain things (from my personal perspective).

The BA Club World seat before it turns into a flat bed

The BA Club World seat before it turns into a flat-bed


Executive Club – aka the frequent flyer programme

The first thing you need to do is get yourself a BA Executive Club (EC) card. You can get one on BA’s website and it is, of course, free. As you fly more, you start collecting two different things: Avios (aka air miles) and Tier Points (which lead to status on the programme).


What are Avios (miles)?

Avios (0r miles) will be your currency, so to speak, which you can subsequently use for get flights on any class, or upgrades. These are very valuable as you can imagine. Every time you fly, you get Avios based on your class of travel. If you have status (e.g. if you are a Bronze, Silver or Gold card holder), you get additional miles based on your status.

As an example, you need 15,000 avios (+tax) to book a return trip to Europe in economy (Euro Traveller) and 30,000 avios (+tax) to book a return trip in business class (Club Europe). You can also buy an economy ticket and upgrade to business class for 15,000 avios (but be warned as it depends on the fare you bought). I only use these when the fares are really high, because you can sometimes upgrade an economy ticket for £159 after you buy it on BA’s website, when flight loads are light.

On long haul, is where things start to get interesting. Despite which class you book, you are always allowed to upgrade one level up. So, if you buy can economy (world traveller) ticket, you can use your miles to upgrade to premium economy (world traveller plus). If you buy premium economy, you can upgrade to business class (club world) and if you buy business class, you can upgrade to first, aka heaven.

A return trip to the US costs 50,000 avios in economy, 75,000 in premium economy, 100,000 in business class and 150,000 in first plus tax. The upgrade cost is the difference is the fare, i.e. 25,000 to jump one class return (except from club to first, where the cost is 50,000). There are variations on other regions – e.g. to Asia it costs more, but you can check out all the details on the website.

A word on tax: for some reason, it is eye-watering expensive on long haul flights – not just the UK landing charges, but plenty of fuel and other extras. Be prepared to pay £500 in club/first. For that reason, I don’t find it very worthwhile redeeming miles on lower classes – making a lot more financial sense to use them in higher classes. I don’t like the tax, but there is nothing I can do about it – so in my mind, I am paying £500 for a club or first class trip to the US and it is not a bad deal (a real ticket would cost £2500-7500).


What are tier points?

The BA First Check-In area at LHR

The BA First Check-In area at London Heathrow T5

Many frequent flyer programmes are based on the miles you fly – and if you reach x or y, you will get status. Status means some recognition from the airline to passengers who frequently choose to fly with them. On the Executive Club programme, you have 4 tiers (to keep things simple, let’s not talk about the secret upper tiers):

– Blue (basic, no real benefits)

– Bronze – once you collect 300 tier points in your BA calendar year – you get to check-in in business class (despite the class you travel) and priority boarding.

– Silver – once you collect 600 tier points in your BA calendar year – check-in in business class, priority boarding, fast track, lounge access and an extra piece of luggage on any flight (for you and a guest, sweet). You also get pre-selection of seats, but not first rows, which is a Gold benefit.

– Gold – once you collect 1500 tier points in your BA calendar year – check-in in first class, priority boarding, fast track, First lounge access (different lounges from business class), extra luggage on any flight, more reward seats available when you use your miles (in economy only for some strange reason) and pre-selection of seats.

Differences between the tiers

Differences between the tiers

And how do you progress on those tiers? Well, it depends on the flights you take. Rule of thumb: a economy return flight within Europe will give you 20 tier points, where as a business class trip will give you 80 tier points. I recently discovered that destinations like Greece, Cyprus and Turkey give you double (e.g. 160 tier points on business class).

A premium economy ticket to the US or the Middle East, for example, will give you 180 tier points, where as business class will give you 280 tier points. So you just need to do the math. With 2 premium economy tickets to the US and a couple European flights, you are silver.

Also worth noting that when you reach a tier, it is valid for the rest of your ‘calendar year’ if you are halfway through your year (now counted from your membership start date) and the following 12 months.  And then you are welcomed into a very special club that speaks in code: people start asking you questions like ‘when does your year end?’. You see people fretting about ‘how many tier points til gold and only two months left’. Why? Because you only keep your status for your calendar year – so once you start your year, you need to start working towards the next one. It is a fun game to play.


Household Accounts

You can also do something quite nice now, which is to combine your miles with your partner and family by setting up a household account. Your status and avios will always be yours (personally), but if both (or more people) give permission, you can pool your points together and spend them together. I have been known for nicking some points from Mr. O’s account, but he never notices. Because he does the same to me all the time.


Boosting your points with the BA American Express Card

Just for fun, you can get a lot of avios, by signing up to the BA American Express Card. Avios obviously get you opportunities to upgrade and that is why it is worth it. Nothing wrong with having your Avios account only on 6-figures. I do get nervous when ours are not.

A lovely big mamma!

A lovely big mamma!

You have 2 different cards – the normal one (BA Amex, which is blue and has no annual fee) and the platinum one (BA Amex Premium Plus Card, which is black and costs nothing on the first year but then costs £150 per year). The difference is the miles you get per £1 spent and also the amount you need to spend to get the magic Amex Companion Voucher.

Yes, the magic Voucher. When you spend £20,000 (on the blue card) or £10,000 (on the black card), you are given a free companion voucher per calendar year (a bummer, should be per x spent no matter what), which can bring lots of lovely trips your way. It means that 2 people can travel on any BA operated flight (return), on any class, anywhere (subject to availability, of course), for the cost of 1 (in terms of Avios).

Personally, I never use it on European trips, it is not really worth it. But for 150,000 avios, Mr. O and I can fly to Los Angeles (for example) in First, and pay the £500 tax each. The cost of those tickets would be over £10,000, so it is a real benefit, and worth it.


So here you go. I hope this helps clarifying some questions you may have about the programme, and the card(s). I am a proud BA Gold and Amex cardholder – life without those two, would never be the same.

Happy travels!


Mrs. O


View Comments (143)


  1. Swisswife

    September 9, 2015 at 9:31 am

    Dear Mrs.O Like you I LOVE British Airways. I’m into my fourth year as a gold card holder which isn’t bad considering I have not worked for the last 10 years… I LOVE to champagne loungs at Heathrow, its the best perk . :) I might have to consider changing my UBS credit card for an Amex after reading this post….

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      September 9, 2015 at 10:16 am

      The champagne is fab!! And so is the Amex – the perks, the insurance… and the 2 for 1 voucher. And you dont even have to give up the other card 😉

  2. Annie

    August 12, 2015 at 1:37 pm

    Hi Anna,

    I have booked for Seattle later this year, travelling out on WTP and returning Business Class with my husband. The total points for that adds to 2 persons @ 90 points for the outbound and 2 @ 180. So a total of 540. We are also travelling with friends who are on my friends and family and they are going WTP there and back. That would generate an additional 360 points using the tier point calculator (

    Would I be correct thinking my total becomes 900 tier points? Which puts me into Silver. Does this apply to husband too, if travelling with me?

    My expiry dates are:

    Tier Point collection year ends 8 Dec 2015
    Card expiry date 31 Jan 2016

    Lifetime tier points: 70

    I understand my tier points that I collect from this upcoming trip will carry forward into next year – do you agree? Then I would need to make more trips next year to maintain the Bronze/Silver level

    Thank you.

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      August 12, 2015 at 3:48 pm

      Annie hi! You can only count with your own tier points – your husband will have his own (and so will your friends). It seems that from this trip you will collect 90+180 tier points which would be a total of 270, which means you will be 30 short of bronze (I do not know what your starting balance is). This assumes this trip is before the 8th of December – if it is afterwards, it will count towards the new calendar year. If you quality as bronze (or silver) by the Tier Point Collection Date, you then have 12 months to enjoy the status, during which you will need to start over again (and fly, of course), in order to quality for the following year. Hope it helps! And have a fab trip to Seattle – a place I have always been curious about :)

  3. Levy Sinyor

    July 31, 2015 at 11:14 am

    Quick question..

    My fiance has an account but she lives in the US whereas I live in the UK. I want to make a household account but it says I need to be living in the same country. I do plan to move there soon, in the meantime, is there any danger in changing my address to reflect living in the US even thought im still in UK?


    • @mrsoaroundworld

      July 31, 2015 at 11:47 am

      I don’t think so, to be honest, but best to call BA. If you change your address you will have access to US promotions rather than UK.. so you need to see what is best for you.

  4. Simon

    July 28, 2015 at 12:14 am


    Thanks for the informative blog.

    I have a quick question (apologies if already covered off in your Q&A above).

    If i book a flight and then can’t make it or miss the flight and have to make other travel arrangements, Do I still receive the air mile points for the flight?

    Many thanks.

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      July 28, 2015 at 8:22 am

      If you don’t physically fly, you won’t have the points, I am afraid.

  5. Karen B

    July 13, 2015 at 7:07 pm


    I am trying to book a flight from Lima to Iquitos on LAN. A week ago, there were several flights a /day with all 7 seats available. Today there is nothing!! The flight is just over 2 weeks away. Do these flights get taken away and then re-released again?


    • @mrsoaroundworld

      July 13, 2015 at 10:40 pm

      I have no idea… but the cutoff date for people cancelling with points is 24h before, so sometimes more seats are released… But this would be on BA flights, I couldn’t even guess how LAN works. Good luck!

  6. Points to be Made

    July 3, 2015 at 10:22 am

    Hopefully to supplement this post, I wrote a specialist article on how to find tier-point-rich mileage runs which might suit those who are desperate to seek Silver, Gold or Gold Guest List levels.
    Points to be Made recently posted..Skyteam Elite Plus status match opportunity. Equivalent to Flying Blue Gold, Delta GoldMy Profile

  7. Dan

    June 2, 2015 at 10:41 am

    Hi Mrs O.
    Thank you for the wonderful post.
    My question is about Companion voucher. If I understood correctly I (as cardholder) pay 1 ticket in Avios and pay taxes for both tickets. My question: Do I/we) get any avios for flying using Companion voucher?

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      June 2, 2015 at 12:06 pm

      Hi Dan! No avios – you are getting a free ticket, after all!

      • Dan

        June 2, 2015 at 1:11 pm

        I thought so but it was worth a try. I assume no Tier points either.
        Thank you for a quick answer.

        • @mrsoaroundworld

          June 3, 2015 at 1:07 pm

          My pleasure – no… you are getting a free ticket. But all status benefits apply. For the sake of argument, you may be getting 2 first tickets to LA worth
          £15k for £1k… not bad going!

  8. Laith

    June 1, 2015 at 12:24 pm

    Hi Ana, I am small fry compared to all these big fish on your blog (excuse the terminology), but I was wondering if you could clarify something! I am on the blue card approaching the Bronze level in my tier points, my point expire in Oct, if I qualify for the bronze within a month, does the Bronze kick in straigt away or from October (new year?)

    if it kicks in now how long is it valid, and do I loose this level next year if I haven’t gained enough tire points? or do I keep it for life!

    sorry I am so confused at times!


    • @mrsoaroundworld

      June 1, 2015 at 2:22 pm

      Laith hi! You still start enjoying Bronze status immediately and for 12 months starting when your BA year begins, as far as I know. From October onwards, you have 12 months to then earn more tier points for the subsequent year.

      • Laith

        June 5, 2015 at 12:57 pm

        Cheers Mrs O! all clear now……… I think!

        • @mrsoaroundworld

          June 8, 2015 at 7:36 pm

          Let me know and I will do my best to help :)

          • Laith

            September 30, 2015 at 8:19 pm

            Hi Ana,

            Yeh I am at Bronze now! Also I recently have come back from Seoul travelling business and on return I was upgraded first class (sweet), I checked my BA statement and it mentioned the extra avois miles for the upgrade but nothing for the tier points? Would you know if I can claim for these tier points?


          • @mrsoaroundworld

            October 1, 2015 at 4:15 pm

            Yay! Happy days! If you were upgraded free of charge… you would only get the Avios/Tier Points of the ticket you originally purchase. Did you get a full business class ticket?

  9. samuel

    May 31, 2015 at 5:53 am


    I am at the silver tier at the moment. Does it mean that as long as I travel once a year I will be able to retain my Silver tier?

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      May 31, 2015 at 11:55 am

      It depends on the number of flights you take (I believe there is a minimum of 4 legs) and the class you fly. Technically if you went say, from London to Sydney in business or first class you could get enough tier points to qualify as Silver (I do not know the exact number per leg). But you need to have 600 tier points at the end of each calendar year…

  10. Arthur

    May 18, 2015 at 8:24 pm

    Hi Ana, my BA tier points year ends on 8th June. If i take a flight on the evening of the 8th that arrives on the 9th have you any idea if my tier points go to the new or old year?
    Also have you ever obtained the upgrade voucher for getting 2500 tier points? Any tips on how best to utilise it and if the tier point credit from the flight is for the paid for cabin or the upgraded to cabin?
    Many thanks! Arthur

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      May 20, 2015 at 12:11 pm

      Arthur hi! I think it will count to the old year – only on the 9th a new year will begin. I haven’t gotten to 2500 tier points yet, but have a good chance this year! I think you get the tier points from the bought ticket from WTP to Club – it would make sense. In effect, they are giving you an Avios upgrade.

  11. Emer

    April 30, 2015 at 11:15 pm

    Thanks for all the great info! I bought an economy flight from Ibiza to London which will give me 10 tier points. If I accept the offer to upgrade to Club Europe for £80 will I get the tier points for the Club Europe cabin (40 points) or still only get the tier points for economy that I originally booked? Thanks!

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      May 1, 2015 at 7:07 am

      You will get 40 tier points per flight you upgrade. So go for it!

      • Emer

        May 1, 2015 at 8:51 am

        Fantastic, I’m upgraded! And even better, it was only 80 euro, not 80 pounds so an even better deal to get me closer to the next tier! Thanks again for all the great info.

  12. Owen

    April 28, 2015 at 4:06 am

    Hi there. Wonder if you have any advice. My year ends on May 8 and I currently have 605 tier points. However my account is still showing as bronze as I only have 3/4 flights completed. Two questions 1/ I’m not sure what classes as a flight as my account shows I’ve flown with BA eight times in the last year. Any thoughts why they may not be counting? and 2/ If the system is correct, any advice on getting that last eligible flight. I’m based in NY and won’t be back in the UK before May 8 to do anything quick and cheap from there? Thanks!

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      April 28, 2015 at 9:58 am

      I think it is best to call then, Owen. Just to be safe!

  13. Fiona

    April 19, 2015 at 10:23 pm

    I feel I may shortly bang my head against the wall!! Have about 230k avios and am a silver holder, with a companion ticket to spend courtesy of black AMEX. I’d like to go to the west coast (LA, San Fran maybe) in first, back in club if I have to. Totally flexible on dates. Next year is fine. Just spent an hour on the phone with BA and there is not a single first class flight available. Not a single one! Is this normal? Please tell me there is a magic trick.
    Thank you

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      April 21, 2015 at 6:00 pm

      Oh no…. have you tried San Diego? LA isn’t easy but funnily enough I got some for August a couple of weeks ago. You need to keep trying as they do come up as people cancel. Best of luck!

  14. Katie

    April 11, 2015 at 11:32 am

    Hi – I have only just joined the baec when I booked flights to New York – I have recently booked flights to the Dominican as well with ba and I don’t really understand the world of avios! My question is will the points avaiable per traveller all go on my account as no one else travelling with me has an account and I have booked both trips?


    • @mrsoaroundworld

      April 11, 2015 at 3:00 pm

      Hi! You only get the points for the flights you physically fly on. I would suggest your companions got an account. If you all live in the same place you can also set up a household account and pool all the points – so in effect you could use theirs.

      • Katie

        April 11, 2015 at 3:19 pm

        I am flying on the same flights so do all passengers points go on my account as they don’t have one? I booked for everyone but we are going together x

        • @mrsoaroundworld

          April 11, 2015 at 11:47 pm

          No, you only get your own…. They get theirs…. unless you are all part of a family and create a household account.

  15. Jan

    April 6, 2015 at 8:49 am

    Hi just come across this website with great info but BA are just changing their Avios system and I have several Companion tickets earned already and expiring which I cannot seem to use.
    At the moment also they are not loading any choice?
    Isn’t this now a huge con getting people to pay annually for a card they then spend the money and cannot use the reward!
    Fed up now!!!!!
    Even Amex agree with me but they can’t affect anything.

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      April 7, 2015 at 10:07 am

      It depends on the destinations – I recently got 2 for LA in Club and no problem. If you are looking for busy travel times then you need to give it some notice…

  16. Peter

    March 31, 2015 at 1:20 am

    Strange question I know!
    Can I get avios points credited for flights I’ve paid for, for people who are not in my household namely friends(who don’t have ba exec cards).In the past 6 months this amounts to about 10 long haul business class tickets so the point value would be large.Grateful for any help as I cant find any advice on this.
    I already have my 4 family members on a household account, but the 10 return flights above were for non family

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      March 31, 2015 at 3:39 pm

      Hi Peter, answer is no, I am afraid. It is irrelevant who pays for the tickets – it is the passenger that gets the benefits. Ideally, you would set up everyone with an EC account (and become the head of a household account), so all your Avios can be pooled together. As far as I understand, you can claim flights up to 6 months, so hopefully this will work for you.

  17. Chris

    March 18, 2015 at 10:43 pm

    Great concise and clear guide – thank you.

    The only error I noted was that the Premium Plus card fee is now due in the first month for which you apply for the card. Also no mention of the bonus points when you spend £3k in the first 3 months – although this probably changes a lot!

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      March 18, 2015 at 11:04 pm

      Chris, these 2 aspects change a lot as it depends on the promotions… sometimes you have bonuses up to 18000 points.. and no fee.

  18. marcus brown

    March 18, 2015 at 3:55 pm

    Sorry for my ignorance i have read the other questions….

    My question is I am nearly on bronze tier, from blue.
    So once I achieve bronze, will it always reset to bronze if I do not not make the required flights to silver in any one year, Or will it just go back to blue.

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      March 18, 2015 at 4:03 pm

      it depends on the actual tier points you have – if you had only 100 tier points, you would go back to blue. To keep bronze you need 300 each calendar year.

  19. Zoe

    March 3, 2015 at 11:18 am

    Hey – great post. We have a household account with a healthy number of avios points, and BA silver card holder. Currently live in the UK but moving to the US in 6 months for at least the next year! We want to continue saving our avios, but don’t know whether we can whilst we’re there. Can you advise?


    • @mrsoaroundworld

      March 5, 2015 at 11:40 am

      Depends on the time you have before they expire.. but you can always use them on American Airlines.

  20. claire

    March 2, 2015 at 12:17 am

    When you finalize you’re booking on – it gives you the option to reduce the over all fare by $75 $50 $25 for applying the relevant avios.
    Will this effect the amount of tier points you get?

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      March 5, 2015 at 11:41 am

      Hi Clare, doesn’t affect anything as far as I know. I have tried recently that on a booking and got the full 80 points for a Club Europe trip

  21. fromheavenshecame

    February 26, 2015 at 11:07 am

    Hi – great blog. I’m a fellow gold card and BA black amex card holder – the best combo!

    I have a question you may be able to answer if you have time. I have a trip to Japan coming up, and the promoter has paid for premium economy, generating 200 tier points. do you know if i upgrade to business or first using avios, will I still get the original 200 tier points or lose them in the process?


    • @mrsoaroundworld

      February 26, 2015 at 10:16 pm

      You dont lose them at all :) What you need to do, if for some reason they dont come up on the account (there is a system glitch sometimes) is to call BA and they are aware of it and credit.

  22. Bob Wiffen

    February 16, 2015 at 1:02 pm

    Hi and thanks for the info. My wife and I are travelling to NZ early next year. Two questions. If I split our trip into several sections with stopovers, do we get more tier points than a direct flight and my tier tear starts January 8th and we plan to fly out around January 1st returning January 22nd. As one flight is inside my tier year and the return outside how does it affect the tier points please?
    Thanks a bunch. PS I have about 7800 lifetime tier points but seems it doesn’t bring any benefits until you get to 30000.

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      February 16, 2015 at 1:57 pm

      Bob hi! Tough one – you may want to call BA and double check but as far as I understand, each flight segment has tier points associated with it, whether you do it in one go or not – I am assuming that to NZ you will need a couple stopovers and Qantas codeshare flights? The tier points are attributed by date flown, so one will be on one year, and the other on the new year. So you need to do the maths to see what you want – i.e. for the tier points to count for current year or the following. Lifetime points are exactly for that… and to find out who deserves that gold card for life 😉

      • Bob Wiffen

        February 16, 2015 at 2:04 pm

        Thanks for the quick reply. I did a quick check on the avios / tier points available for the trip and it was something like 11000 miles and only about 60 tier points. I got 40 going to Italy this year. Seems small number of tier points for such along trip hence the thought about breaking it up. As you say, We would want a break each way anyway.

        • @mrsoaroundworld

          February 17, 2015 at 1:14 pm

          The tier points are based on the fare you paid for, don’t forget. A standard Euro trip gets you 10 each way and 40 each way in Club. I think, to LA (and back) in WTP you are looking at 180 points return, 250+ in Club. But no idea how much you would get from LA onwards (or from HK onwards) in economy.

  23. William

    February 14, 2015 at 7:35 am

    I recently purchased a ticket for a friend, how do I collect points from that?

  24. Uwani Yahya

    February 12, 2015 at 5:22 pm

    I have been a BROZE Card member that has earned some points that have suddenly realized that I have been returned to BLUE with 0 points in spite of the fact that I have never utilized any points.
    WHY ?

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      February 12, 2015 at 7:51 pm

      You should read the rules… your tier points are reset every 12 months, and they are not to be used on anything.. they are status points which are related to how much you spend and/or travel and get you to move from tier to tier. Avios points are those you can spend and they expire but they should not in 12 months.

  25. Paulo

    February 10, 2015 at 6:57 am

    Hi, Thank you for the nice article. Quick question. I am BAEC Silver but I have not received my plastic cards yet. However, I have the electronic one on the mobile App. Will I be allowed to Fast track in the security line and access the lounge by showing my e-Card?


    • @mrsoaroundworld

      February 10, 2015 at 10:26 am

      Thank you! If you are Silver, your boarding passes should automatically say Fast Track – and if not, the card on the app will get you in. Do you use passbook? It generates a boarding pass which definitely says fast track

      • Paulo

        February 10, 2015 at 11:12 am

        This is great information. As for passbook, I am on android :)

  26. Richard

    February 7, 2015 at 5:17 pm

    Hi Mrs O, I love that you have so many answers for everyone, and hopefully you have one for me too: I have booked a European business class flight for just under a month’s time which will take me to bronze, before my tier year ends in May. I am also intending to buy tickets to Kenya for October, but am not sure whether to book them now or wait a month. If I book them now, whilst on Blue, will I only receive Blue-level avios even though I’ll be bronze by the time I fly, or will I get Bronze-level avios as that’s the level I will be at the time of my flight? I hope this makes sense!

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      February 8, 2015 at 1:47 pm

      Hummmm tough question! I think it doesn’t make a difference as the bronze benefits are on the day of the trip, correct? fast track and check in? If business class, you can choose your seat anytime :)

  27. Zt

    January 17, 2015 at 3:10 pm

    Thanks for the blog, really made me understand the whole BA awards system, being a star alliance gold member- the BA programme was a little hard to understand!

    after reading all the comments and i appologize if i am repeating any of the questions, but i am still quite confused about the whole calander year tien.. so if i have 280 tier points and my year end on the 8th of August 2015, i need just one leg to be bronze… if i get to bronze before my calander year ends do i go down to blue when starting a new calander year?


    • @mrsoaroundworld

      January 21, 2015 at 9:57 am

      You need to fly that segment before the 8th of August. That will earn you the right of being Bronze for the next calendar year – in which you will have to start again working towards the next year 😉 Never ending!

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      January 22, 2015 at 10:49 am

      That is a bummer, but the calendar year dictates everything. If you have say 500 tier points at the end of the year, you will be Bronze for the next 12 months (as you did not reach the required 600). You then have a whole year to work towards new status for the subsequent year – so you are bronze for that year and need to start collecting again…

  28. Robin

    January 17, 2015 at 9:57 am

    Is there any tier point bonus for bronze and upper level member?


    • @mrsoaroundworld

      January 21, 2015 at 9:58 am

      The tier points are based on the ticket you actually pay (and qualifies you for status). Bonus points are also related to the cabin.

  29. Jaklien

    December 29, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    I’ve been an Avios collector for years and getting the BA American Express really boosts things up! Never letting it go again. :-)
    Jaklien recently posted..Citizen M Hotel in AmsterdamMy Profile

  30. Rob

    December 12, 2014 at 11:46 pm

    Hi great blog! If I purchase a return WTP ticket (premium economy) and upgrade to Club World using Avios from LGW to Bermuda, Will I still get tier points on the premium economy purchase or is the whole thing classed as a reward seat? Also, If I book a BA holiday to Cyprus which is an 80 tier point each way flight and the selling class is “I”, will I still get the 80 tier points each way?

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      December 16, 2014 at 10:04 am

      Hi Rob, as far as I am aware, the answer is yes :) you buy a commercial ticket and you get the tier points for the bit you bought. Sometimes, it doesnt come through automatically so you need to contact BA. Re Cyprus, it is the case as far as I know – but doesn’t hurt to give them a call. Cyprus and all Turkish destinations (and Athens I think too) are 160 tier points return in Club.

  31. matt

    November 29, 2014 at 6:41 pm


    I wondered if the BA credit card earns you tier points too? I don’t really fly enough to get up the levels each year so am looking for other ways to supplement the tiers!

    I recently got a Virgin Atlantic credit card for all my business spending and am earning miles on that, but now trying to work out if the BA one would be better!

    Thanks for any advice.

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      November 29, 2014 at 8:11 pm

      Hi Matt, the cards give you miles which then allow you to book flights. Tier points only awarded on commercial tickets fully paid for. No joking around 😉 The way to get around it, is of course, to book business class where you get all the benefits like lounge, check in, priority boarding etc.

  32. Philip D

    November 22, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    Hi Anna, excellent blog!

    I am currently silver with Delta but since their move from awarding actual miles to revenue based miles (miles are drastically cut!) I have been looking at moving over to BA Exec Club.

    I have a question and apologise if this is obvious, but when we accrue tier points and avios, say I reach bronze with 310 points, happy days…. BUT, then I upgrade on a flight using avios… Will spending avios pull me back down to Blue status? I guess my question is, once I have reached my Bronze or Silver tier, do I get to keep my status even if I spend my avios on upgrades…. Or do I need to make sure that I always maintain a certain number of avios to maintain my Bronze / Silver status?

    Many thanks for providing some clarity!


    • @mrsoaroundworld

      November 22, 2014 at 6:16 pm

      Philip, hi! It’s the tier points that give you status, you can spend all the miles anytime! Tier points reset every BA year

      • Philip D

        November 22, 2014 at 6:52 pm

        Great! Looks like moving to BA Exec Club is a good idea, I travel to the US west coast three times a year (and see some pretty good deals in WT+) and various trips within Europe so it’s looking like an attractive FF program!

        Many thanks,


        • @mrsoaroundworld

          November 23, 2014 at 6:41 pm

          And you will be spoiled with the lounges 😉 a whole different league.

      • Motaz

        December 19, 2014 at 10:43 am

        I was a bronze member with a total of 590 Tier points.
        Then one day I used half of my AVIOS points for a flight and suddenly it took me back to a BLUE member.
        Please advise if you know what could be happening.


        • @mrsoaroundworld

          December 19, 2014 at 11:06 am

          Avios have nothing to do with Tier points. Did you have year Tier Points or Lifetime? You have 12 months to collect the points you need for a tier and they are reset each year (set by your date of joining the club)

          • Motaz

            December 19, 2014 at 5:47 pm

            Exactly that’s why im confused about it
            i had yearly tier points but when i bought a ticket using AVIOS it took me back to a blue member.

          • @mrsoaroundworld

            December 21, 2014 at 5:33 pm

            It can’t be.. if you want, feel free to send me a print screen of the account via email (see contact above), and I can take a look. Have you called BA?

        • Philip D

          December 19, 2014 at 11:57 am

          Motaz, that’s what I was afraid of! Maybe BA could shed some light on it. I was with Delta (I am silver status for 2015 and when I spent almost all my miles this month it still listed me as a silver skymiles member for 2015. I think it should be the same for BA, or at least I hope so because I have just joined BA Exec Club and will be flying with them frequently between Ireland and the US.

          • @mrsoaroundworld

            December 19, 2014 at 5:37 pm

            Philip hi! US programmes are miles based, hence why I like the whole tier point thing with BA as it is separate from the miles. You can spend your miles every day and it means nothing to status. What you need to know is your calendar year and how many tier points you have on the last day – it is all very clear on the website. Assuming you now have a card and an online account, what date does your calendar end?

  33. Kassi

    November 18, 2014 at 4:38 pm

    Hi loved the post. Just one question I’m currently bronze member and have 400 tier points what happens if I cant get to 600 do i stay in bronze or do i go back to silver?

    xx Kassi

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      November 18, 2014 at 4:39 pm

      If you get to 600 within your calendar year you will be Silver until that year ends and the following 12 months!

      • Kassi

        November 18, 2014 at 4:49 pm

        My year ends next month so i wont get to silver but do I stay bronze for the following year as i have 400 tier points?

        • Kassi

          November 18, 2014 at 4:52 pm

          sorry the previous question I meant to say stay bronze or go back to blue :)

          • @mrsoaroundworld

            November 22, 2014 at 6:17 pm

            If at the end of the year you have 400 tier points, you should be bronze 😉

  34. Sarms

    November 5, 2014 at 10:07 am

    Hi Anna,

    Thank you for this post. I have a quick question for you! My tier point collection year ends on the 8th of December. I am a few points away from reaching Silver. I am planning to go to India in the end of December, but hoping to buy my tickets in late November of this year.

    Do you know if I will still receive the Tier points if I fly after the collection year ends?

    Thank you!

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      November 5, 2014 at 3:33 pm

      Hi! You will receive them after you fly, and on the new BA year which starts on 8th December. May be worth doing a quick short haul flight in club for 80 tier points?

  35. Sarah

    November 1, 2014 at 10:20 am

    Hi, Do you know if you purchase a Club World ticket with abios you still get the allocated tier points?


    • @mrsoaroundworld

      November 2, 2014 at 11:42 am

      Of course not, if you pay for a ticket, you get the tier points, if you get an award ticket, it is your gift for travelling so much :)

  36. alicia

    October 31, 2014 at 12:27 am

    I am a Blue member. My Lifetime Tier Points are 400. I understand that to become a Bronze member I need 300 tier points. ( but I didn’t get my upgrade… Why it doesn’t show me the upgrade to Bronze? What do I need to do to get my Bronze membership? I find it very unclear and confusing. Please can you advise? Thanks

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      October 31, 2014 at 6:47 am

      It is not lifetime tier points that give you status, it is the normal tier points, which are counted each year and reset each time your calendar year comes to an end. Lifetime tier points is just a sum of all your historic tier points which give an indication of customer value to BA. When does your year start? It says that clearly on your EC account.

      • alicia

        October 31, 2014 at 5:04 pm

        Thanks for your reply. It ends in August 2015…

        • @mrsoaroundworld

          November 2, 2014 at 11:42 am

          So you have just started a year in August, where you have until August 2015 to fly and get tier points :)

          • alicia

            November 2, 2014 at 11:49 am


  37. Chris

    September 17, 2014 at 9:17 am

    Hi, I have a BA Bronze account with a household amount of 2 million. I received the BA credit card recently and it seemed to go into the family pool instead of my personal avios, do you know why this is?

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      September 17, 2014 at 10:42 am

      I think it goes into the main cardholder. Do you want to check your individual account? Can’t think of anything else, I am afraid. But obviously, you can access all points! 2 million? Uber jealous!!

  38. Niko

    July 30, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    Thank you so much for this post! Question for you, I am flying to LHR from the US and although CW still has plenty of physical availability (checked both with BA on the phone and using the KVS tool and shows about 13 seats) there has been no upgrades available from WTP to CW!! I have been checking almost every day since I booked the tickets back in February (I know it sounds ridiculous but I want to treat my girlfriend to CW as she has never experienced it before)!! BA Exec keeps telling me that “seats usually open up close to the departure” which is now only 10 days away! What is your take on this is it true that seats only open up last minute for upgrades anything I can do?? I find it hard to believe that there are no “award seats” until next January!!

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      July 30, 2014 at 5:51 pm

      Niko, from my experience, the window is 48h-24h before the departure as it is the cutoff date for people who are holding those limited seats to cancel and be able to get a full refund. What I do, in those occasions is check day and night, call them 20 times a day and then sometimes magic happens. 2 days before is the one. NYC and Boston are good routes in my experience – West Coast is a pain, too much demand.

  39. Lyn Revell

    July 14, 2014 at 6:43 am

    Works well must of the time but when you book your outbound flight and are told to call back on a certain day as this is when they release upgradable seats to return home and 2 weeks later they still haven’t done it it’ gets beyond a joke . I’m panicking now

  40. Jan

    June 11, 2014 at 4:55 pm

    Mmmm this post has got me thinking. I’ve always been a Virgin Atlantic gal as we love the US and Caribbean. BUT this has got me pondering. We have a Virgin Atlantic AMEX and VISA to maximise the miles but have never been able to use the companion tickets for one reason or another. Actually thought maybe they’re just a gimmick. Reading this post and the comments it looks like people are actually using the BA companion tickets. Going to think about a change. Thanks.

  41. Sarah

    June 10, 2014 at 11:39 pm

    Hi Ana,
    Joined BA executive club last year and I love it. In St Lucia at present, flew first class here to get us to silver for when we are back. Your blog has explained so much to me… I am only 2k away from getting the amex companion voucher and we had thought about using it to go to Sydney in April (for a wedding) in first class….paying outright for one first class ticket… But it looks like you MUST use your avois for other ticket (can you confirm?)… Which means we probably won’t have enough (have 150,000). Can I also ask do you earn avois points on flights booked with companion vouchers or full avois points? And do you earn tier points on these too? Or am I just being greedy now…… I got my parents to join the executive club and they had no problems upgrading from WTP to CW to Bermuda using avois. They are thrilled and like me wonder why they never joined this years ago. Thanks….

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      June 11, 2014 at 5:05 am

      Hi Sarah, basically with the companion ticket, you will be able to buy two tickets for the price of one, in terms of Avios. So if is costs 150,000 Avios for a ticket to Oz (I think it is more like 200k or even more), you just need the equivalent of 1 person’s worth and you will be able to book two. When you have received your voucher (which is electronic), your EC tab looks different and basically there is a place you click to redeem it – may sound complicated but it is actually very straightforward – then the system calculates the number of Avios for 1 and charges you the tax for 2. BUT you may need to be aware of availability and I believe Sydney is a pain. Note that the voucher is only valid on BA operated flights. No avios or tier points on redemptions, which is fair as obviously you are not paying for the ticket. You can all pool your miles via a household account (with your parents) in case you are short. You take this time, they take next time. Hope this is helpful and many trips are on the horizon!

      • Sarah

        January 18, 2015 at 11:57 pm

        Very helpful! We ended up using our companion vouchers by booking First Class to Moscow for 4 nights (we go in April)… We wanted my parents to experience First Class (we love it after also taking a trip to New York again in November). (Is it just me, but I so preferred the Concorde Lounge at JFK than at T5 Heathrow? More peaceful and intimate).. Do you know if Rhodes also qualifies for the double Business Class points? Also, we are treating our daughter and son in law to a flight to New York in September… BA seems to have a sale in its WTP seats… Could we use the household points to then upgrade them both to CW (even though I will not be travelling with them and I am the main household member?) thanks Sarah

        • @mrsoaroundworld

          January 21, 2015 at 9:55 am

          Sarah hi! Sounds great and hope you enjoy your flights! No idea about the double class business points – I am going to have to look into it myself as Rhodes is on my list!! Re: upgrades, if you are all on the same account, then it should be fine – you pool the miles for the good and the bad :)

          Re Concorde Room… NYC is quieter and that makes a difference. It was very nice indeed.

  42. Kelly

    June 10, 2014 at 12:55 pm

    Silly question Anna but do you earn tier points when using the 241 companion tickets? x
    Kelly recently posted..Krakow, PolandMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      June 10, 2014 at 4:41 pm

      You don’t earn tier points – any redemptions are miles and tier points free. Only when you pay for a ticket you get the benefits.

  43. Rachel

    June 5, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    Great post. I love BA.
    A couple of corrections on the Amex Card: The black Amex-BA card has an annual fee of £150, not £125 and is called the American Express British Airways Premium Plus Card (not platinum plus – a small detail but avoids confusion with the American Express Platinum Card which is something completely different).

  44. Monica

    June 1, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    Thank you so, so much for simplifying the whole Avios points thing. I’ve been trying to get my head around this for so long. I’ve bookmarked this to come back to and research more as soon as I’m home!
    Monica recently posted..First impressions from DominicaMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      June 1, 2014 at 3:26 pm

      My pleasure. Worth getting your way around this – in my opinion and as you travel so much!

  45. Philip T

    May 31, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    Hi. Thank you for the blog. I agree it’s an awesome program. However, as a silver member and fast approaching gold, I contest the ease of upgrade.
    I have flown 6 long haul flights in 2 weeks, over 40,000 real miles, and I have not been able to upgrade from premium economy on a single leg.
    I watch the empty first and business seats take off, wondering why I have several hundred thousand avoid miles. I called BA between 5 and 10 times to try and upgrade.
    Perhaps someone could clarify what I am doing wrong.

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      May 31, 2014 at 2:11 pm

      I understand what you mean, Philip – and how frustrating that is. And how different it seems to be from say US based airlines – and their last minute upgrade requests (have you noticed? Upgrade on stand-by depending on status and availability). It has happened to me countless times. I have noticed there seems to be a window 48-24h before departure which is the cutoff time for ppl to cancel their seats and get their Avios back and I have been lucky on quite a few occasions. And yes, it takes calling 20 times. On some occasions I know they release some extra avios seats prior to departure – but I have no idea when or why. Obviously trying to sell seats which is BA or any airline’s business – no doubt about that and totally understandable. But sometimes they do go empty and surely there would be a lot of loyal passengers wanting to use their miles. A tough one.

      I wonder which routes you fly? Some are notoriously worse than others. I used to be able to do LA without a problem – I have been looking now for 12 months ahead and see nothing..

  46. Jenny Reeves

    May 31, 2014 at 9:04 am

    What a useful, comprehensive post. Even as an employee, I don’t really understand the first thing about our complex loyalty schemes, except what I have learned from you! (I should caveat that with “I don’t work in the Commercial area” even though that’s not much of an excuse!) That’s because we have a superb standby arrangement (as staff) but does not allow the collection of any miles or tier points whatsoever, (obvs!)
    Anyway, what your post has done, is to make me look at how much standby travel I use versus the benefits accrued on commercial tickets- and I’ve already booked commercial to go to Finca Cortesin in June! (Can’t afford to be offloaded on that -right?!)
    So thank you for bringing a new dimension to my knowledge from the Customer Experience of purchasing; and I’ll let you know when I get to “Bronze”!!!

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      May 31, 2014 at 10:27 am

      I am very very pleased this was useful for you, Jenny! And no, cannot risk stand by when you go to Finca Cortesin. You will absolutely love it!!

  47. Alison

    May 30, 2014 at 7:00 pm

    Hi Mrs O, fab post as always! Husband and I are using our companion tkt next week to go to hkg in first on the 380!!! We can’t wait

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      May 30, 2014 at 7:01 pm

      Oh see? That is the perfect example! Let me know how it goes! I need to try the A380 in First!

  48. Suzanne (Travelbunny)

    May 30, 2014 at 6:09 pm

    Love the free companion seat – we qualify every year!
    Didn’t know about the Amex Black card though so thanks for the tip…
    Suzanne (Travelbunny) recently posted..Food from the Tuscan TableMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      May 30, 2014 at 7:04 pm

      My pleasure! The black card is worth it as you earn more avios per £ spent (especially on purchases) and well, xmas comes earlier!

  49. Alastair McKenzie

    May 30, 2014 at 6:07 pm

    Destinations like Greece give you 160 tier points on business class?

    Cr*p! Should have joined the Executive Club programme before I bought those BA biz class flights to Athens for TBEX!

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      May 30, 2014 at 7:02 pm

      Alastair, it is not too late. Just join now and then add your EC number to your booking. You can also I think add any flights in the past 6 months

  50. WhatKateMadeNext

    May 30, 2014 at 3:07 pm

    Eek! Am driving all the way to Belgium from Scotland soon. But I will recommend this to my Mum as she is a frequent BA flyer. :)
    WhatKateMadeNext recently posted..The best chip shop in ScotlandMy Profile

  51. Suzanne

    May 30, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    I’m a huge fan of BA for long haul and Avios program. There is great value to be had in the plan with an easy to use online booking and upgrade portal.

    For your US readers, the BA branded credit card is the Chase BA Visa. It provides similar benefits to the UK Amex with Avios per $ spent and the Travel Together (Magic Voucher) ticket (2 for 1) after $30k in annual spend. I am using this voucher for a long haul trip US to Paris – the coach tickets were $5,200 cash – I saved $3k using the voucher, points, pay the high taxes we are flying business class instead of coach!

    An added bonus is the distance based award chart in the US on partner USAirways/American if your readers are looking to use Avios for those flights. Whereas, US/AA may charge 25k for a domestic US flight, Avios charges vary 9k, 15k and 25k for US domestic.
    Suzanne recently posted..FriFotos – Landscapes of the South Island New ZealandMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      May 30, 2014 at 5:11 pm

      That is really interesting Suzanne! I did redeem some avios for the first time the other day on AA and thought it was quite expensive. We paid 75k avios for 2 one-way seats from JFK-SFO in business with AA. A return would be 75k per person, mad! But this is very useful information, thank you!

  52. the lazy travelers

    May 30, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    the hubs and i have never been good at maintaining airline status, so this is our #1 priority once we relocate to london. sending this to him right now so he can study up! xo
    the lazy travelers recently dwellers: new york’s midtownMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      May 30, 2014 at 5:12 pm

      Yes, a little bit of studying is required and planning, but worth the time. Promise!

  53. Anthony

    May 30, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    It may also be worth noting that to use miles to upgrade out of economy you do need to be in a certain type of fare specifically Y,B,H selling classes. And those avios seats have to be available too which can be tricky. Failing that you can always redeem them in hotels or car hire!

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      May 30, 2014 at 5:13 pm

      Persistance and planning! I only realised the economy restriction the other day on an European flight (and was very surprised, but it was actually cheaper just to pay for the upgrade, get the tier points and use no avios). I wasn’t aware of that restriction on long haul, but then again, I never buy economy tickets – I prefer to buy WTP and upgrade to Club.

  54. Malin

    May 30, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    Fab post!!! I wish I was in that “club” and not the Star Alliance….but for me residing in Germany I am unable profit from the BA sweetness!
    Malin recently posted..Comment on Decoration de Waroux by Net CurtainsMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      May 30, 2014 at 5:14 pm

      Longhaul you can – there is no reason why not. I have friends living in Germany and in Switzerland and they just connect in London when they go abroad (obviously not to France or anywhere in Europe).

  55. Alexis

    May 30, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    You mentioned that “when you reach a tier, your year resets”. I think that used to be the case years ago but isn’t now. Your membership/colleciton year is always the same from when you join. Your tier points also only reset to zero at the end of a membership year and do not reset at any time during the year even if you hit one or more new tiers. If you get say 600 tier points half way through your membership year you become a silver card holder for the rest of that year, and also the next full membership year.

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      May 30, 2014 at 1:45 pm

      I know I know. Having re-read what I wrote you are absolutely right. I am going to make a slight edit and do let me know what you think. My year is now always 8th November. I know the date and everything.

  56. Stephanie

    May 30, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    Thanks so much Anna for spelling it out so clearly for me here. We already have the Avios Household account but only a basic BA Amex so will look to upgrade to the Premium one.

    If I understand correctly, the 2 for 1 voucher works only if you buy the first ticket using your Avios, right ? If you don’t have enough Avios for your chosen journey, can you then do Avios + money and still get the 241?
    Stephanie recently posted..Spotted- Anemi hotel in Folegandros, GreeceMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      May 30, 2014 at 1:47 pm

      No, you need to buy the 2 tickets at once. When you have a voucher to use, it is clearly displayed in your Executive Club profile, so you choose 2 passengers, the destination and then you pay the equivalent of 1 passenger (but taxes for both). So if you want to go to the US in club, you need to have 100,000 avios in our account (household), instead of 200,000.

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