British Airways awards status on the basis of Tier Points rather than miles flown. This method of operating their scheme has been around for a long time and leads to a number of threads on various bulletin boards about how best to score Tier Points. Tier points earning is based on class of service and distance travelled. For example a Business Class one-way flight in Europe earns 40 Tier Points in most cases where as a flight in Business over 2,000 miles earns 140 Tier Points. (There are noticeable exceptions, for example the London City to JFK service earns 210 Tier Points).
Popular methods of boosting Tier Points involve American Airlines UP- fares where you book a coach ticket but sit in First Class. These earn Tier Points and Avios based on the cabin you sit in, rather than the underlying coach fare. I.e. they are treated as First Class tickets. Also using Malaysian’s cheap intra-Asia tickets in Business Class.
British Airways awards Bronze Status after 300 Tier Points, Silver at 600 and Gold at 1,500 Tier Points. You can read about the benefits of each tier at this BA web page.
Lounge access is granted at Silver and above. Gold is sought as it gives access to First Class lounges, and in particular to Admirals Clubs and Flagship Lounges in the USA with American Airlines, and of course to the Cathay Pacific First Class lounges at Hong Kong. (You have to be flying OneWorld to get access it should be noted.)
So what happens after 1,500 Tier Points you might ask?
You can earn Gold Guest List (GGL) by earning 3,000 points each year for two consecutive years or 5,000 points in a single year. When I crossed the threshold I had earned 3,500 in one year and 2,500 in the second.
The benefits of GGL are split in to BA and non-BA offerings:
- You can nominate one person to BA’s Gold Tier and two people to BA’s Silver Tier.
- There are no fees for cancelling, changing or booking award tickets.
- Twice a year you can make a reservation for an award ticket in to revenue class for up to 5 passengers travelling together.
- The member can take 2 guests in to a BA operated departure lounge and one in to a BA arrivals lounge.
- Priority phone service with BA reservations.
- You can transfer Avios to another member for free
- Diamond status in Hilton’s HHonors scheme
Once you qualify you receive a number of emails from BA allowing you to arrange the various benefits. There is a whole page at ba.com allowing more information about GGL – you can read it here. To secure HHonors Diamond Status you have to phone the GGL reservations number and they process the request to Hilton. Mine took 7 days to come through, although they say allow 6 weeks.
If you earn GGL by getting 5,000 Tier Points in a single year you are issued a Concorde Room card, granting access to these lounges in New York and London. You can read my reviews of these two lounges by clicking the links above.
Yes indeed, GGL offers more benefits as you continue to accrue Tier Points. These are not the dizzy heights I ever expect to reach:
At 6,000 Tier Points you get another chance to make an award reservation in to a revenue class of booking
At 7,000 , 8,000 , and 9,000 Tier Points you get to pick one of the following:
- treat yourself and a guest to a cabin upgrade with an Upgrade Voucher for two
- choose another Gold Guest List Redemption for you and four companions
- enjoy an incredible 50,000 bonus Avios
Yes indeed, BA has recently introduced the ability to lock in status by earning a number of Tier Points over the life of your membership. For Gold you need 35,000 Tier Points and for Gold Guest List a modest 100,000 Tier Points.
ARE THE BENEFITS REAL?
Yes they are! The Service and Reservations Centre is excellent. They have a ‘how can I help you’ attitude from the moment you speak with them. Having had a problem with a couple of bookings they sorted them out right away. I can confirm that my cancelled Avios ticket was not charged the standard cancellation charge and that two friends now have higher status with BA as a result of my gift of status.
SHOULD YOU TIER POINT RUN?
Does the extra Tier Points needed for GGL make such a difference to make a Tier Point run necessary. I am not sure. It’s a long way from Gold to GGL and the benefits are not that much greater in my view. If you are close, I would go for it though.
HOW DO YOU RETAIN GGL?
3,000 Tier Points each year are needed to retain GGL status.