British Airways Extending Elite Status For Another Year, Offers New Elite Lounge Benefits

British Airways doesn’t operate on a calendar year for elite status. Everyone has a ‘member year’ and they have to earn their status during a 12 month period. It’s confusing for customers, but during the pandemic that makes it easier to extend elite status for tranches of customers a little bit at a time.

British Airways elite members whose “Tier Point collection” (12 month member year) end date is between January – March 2022 will have their status extended for another year.

So if folks didn’t re-earn their status despite the (very modest 25%) reduction in status requirements for those renewing through June 2022, they’ll keep their status anyway.

  • Bronze: 225 Tier Points or 18 eligible flights
  • Silver: 450 Tier Points or 37 eligible flights
  • Gold:: 1125 Tier Points

It seems clear though that British Airways is going to need to do this again, for folks re-earning status through June 2022. They simply won’t have had a full year of international business travel during which to earn status, and it makes no sense for British Airways to walk away from these customers and make them free agents. On the other hand they want to dribble this out a quarter at a time, because that leaves members guessing whether they’ll need to earn status or not – keeping them on the treadmill in the expectation they might have meaningful business travel over the next 9 months.

BA has also improved lounge benefits for elite members:

  • Pre-flight dining is available to Silver elites and above regardless of their class of service in lounges offering this sit-down benefit: New York JFK, Boston, Chicago and Washington Dulles. It’s a great idea to eat dinner before a short overnight transatlantic and maximize sleep on board the aircraft.

  • Concorde Room access is now available (at London Heathrow and New York JFK) to Gold Guest List Members, not just international first class passengers and Concorde Room cardholders. Gold Guest List requires an additional 5,000 elite Tier Points on top of Gold status during their member year and 3,000 Tier Points in subsequent years to keep the status. The status includes receiving capacity control-busting ‘jokers’.

The Concorde Room isn’t as nice as it should be, and the limited number of cabanas at Heathrow are too hard to reserve (and those reservations are managed in a handwritten book, often getting mucked up). Sit down dining is better in other airline premium lounges (American Airlines Flagship First Dining, and honestly not better than United Polaris when those lounges are open). However it’s been an exclusive space and a step above the crowds in BA’s First lounges which are effectively elite member lounges.

British Airways is also adding six more months to the validity of all new Companion Voucher and Travel Together tickets earned between June 2020 and the end of December 2021.

Overall these are good moves and in line with my general view that British Airways has been improving.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. In a “normal” year, as a part of initial qualification or renewal of tier status, BA requires a certain number of segments be BA flights separate from and in addition to tier points (a la Alaska).

    During COVID, the general guidance is that one must only meet the tier points requirement and not the segments requirement. But, BA has been inconsistent in applying both the tier point rule and the segment rule for tier status extensions. Along that line, I was told that irrespective of meeting the tier points requirement, I would also have to meet the segments requirement for Gold Guest List. Subsequently, on Head For Points — the top BA blog — it was reported that a GGL member was renewed WHO DID NOT EVEN FLY DURING HIS ENTIRE MEMBERSHIP YEAR. No tier points and no segments. Dang!

    At that point, BA became a points-redemption airline for me. Not another dime.

    The good news is that AA CKs are granted Concorde Room access in London (although, not at JFK).

  2. Do we know when the out station lounges are reopening? I heard Dulles is still closed, so there doesn’t really appear to be a lot of benefit for Silver and above to take advantage of preflight dining if these lounges remain closed.

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