British Airways Introduces Lifetime Elite Status, Leaves Lifetime bmi Elites in the Cold

British Airways has announced the introduction of a lifetime elite status program. (This has been fairly expected.)

Your lifetime Tier Points earnings are listed when you log into your Executive Club account.

Lifetime Gold status is earned after accumulating 35,000 tier points. That’s a lot — Gold for a single year requires 1500 points.

Compare that to a “million mile” program where flying 100,000 miles for 10 years is enough to earn status. The minimum required with British Airways is more than 20 years of flying at the top tier level.

On the other hand, Gold is the top British Airways status you can generally earn based on flying alone. So that should probably be compared to 2 or even 4 million miles in a miles-based lifetime program in the U.S. At that level, it’s not all that unreasonable.

What’s missing, then, is lifetime status below the top tier level. And British Airways hints that could come in the future.

However, what I do find especially cheeky is that it was only a year ago when British Airways declared it would not honor british midland lifetime elite status. British Airways acquired bmi, and since BA did not offer lifetime elite status they did not give bmi’s qualifying elites lifetime status in the British Airways program. Only now, a year later, BA introduces lifetime status. What about those that had earned it in the past through bmi?

(HT: Lucky)

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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, 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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  1. BA’s lifetime program is actually incredibly generous in comparison with some other major lifetime programs.

    If you do an apples-to-apples top-tier (published) to top-tier comparison, it would take 3MM of BIS flying on United (and 30 years at minimum qualification requirements) to earn lifetime 1K. If you earned every single BIS mile at $0.03 per, you’d be spending $90,000 to do it (and I doubt anyone could maintain a .03 average over 3MM).

    Then, there’s Hyatt Lifetime Diamond, which requires $200,000 base spend and 10 years in the program.

    Flying 70 LAS-MIA-SJU (500 tier points per roundtrip) F tier point runs would earn you the requisite 35,000 tier points for right at $60,000. A committed (and insane) individual could do it in just about two months, and would earn (if also having a minimum of 4 BA segments that year) Gold within the first three roundtrips, 2 2 for 1 redemption certificates, a gift of BA Silver status, a Concorde Room card, and about 1 million Avios (or 222 one-way short-haul redemptions).

  2. I can understand the point in respect of BMI Lifetime card holders but I don’t think it’s particularly cheeky of BA.

    From BA’s perspective someone who was a BMI Lifetime card holder may not have been the most loyal BA customer.

  3. @Euan, if BA were really concerned about loyalty, then why did they design a lifetime program that doesn’t require you to fly a single segment on BA? There’s nothing in the T&Cs that restricts lifetime tier points to those earned on BA metal(like UA does with lifetime flight miles). They just add up your cumulative lifetime tier point totals, regardless of metal flown. As I posted above, someone with more money than sense could spend two months on AA metal and earn lifetime BA Gold for a fraction of what lifetime 1K or Hyatt Diamond would cost, and BA wouldn’t see a penny of that revenue.

  4. ALCO,

    BA gains financially from customers crediting partner activity to BAEC accounts. Those AA flights which I credit to a BAEC account end up generating revenue for BA even if I were to never have or never again fly BA.

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