British Airways reduces elite status targets but misses the mark (by a distance!)

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In recent days we’ve seen the likes of Qatar Airways, Qantas and Virgin Atlantic taking admirable steps to help shore up elite status for their frequent flyers, but airlines like British Airways has been noticeably silent… until now.

British Airways has finally published details of the changes that it’s making to the Executive Club Tier Points targets in light of the current travel crisis, but, unsurprisingly, the changes are mostly miserly and poorly thought through.

Here’s what British Airways has announced (link):

We’ll be lowering Tier Point thresholds by 30% for all Members due for Tier upgrade or renewal in April, May and June. This results in lower Tier qualification thresholds as laid out below

    • Bronze: 210 Tier Points
    • Silver: 420 Tier Points
    • Gold: 1050 Tier Points

To ensure our Members still have the opportunity to use their Gold Upgrade Vouchers, Companion Vouchers and Travel Together Tickets earned via a British Airways credit card, we’re applying a six-month expiration extension to any current vouchers.

The situation is constantly changing, which is why we’re continuously reviewing our policy and will communicate any updates.

Essentially, if your Executive Club membership year ends on 8 April, 8 May, or 8 June your elite status for the next year will be based on the tier targets outlined above. As things stand, no one else gets any leeway.

It’s important to note that British Airways has said that it’s “continuously reviewing” its policy so, as the current crisis continues to unfold, it’s possible (likely) that the lower tier targets will apply to people whose membership years end in later months… but that’s still not going to help a lot of people.

Right now nobody can fly anywhere, so nobody can earn any tier points, and that means that it’s not just people with membership years that are ending in the next three months that are being affected – we all are.

It doesn’t matter when a British Airways Executive Club member’s year ends because, right now, none of us can fly and we’re all almost certainly going to lose at least 3 months of potential flying while we try to prevent the current crisis from escalating even more.

So why is British Airways playing around with tier point targets for only a sub-set of members?

The sensible thing to do (yes, I know that’s asking a bit much of Cruz and Co.) would be to say that it’s obvious that most members are going to lose between 25% and 33% of their membership year (at the very least) as they sit at home unable to take to the skies, so everyone gets the same reduced targets.

It’s the 30% figure that British Airways should be reviewing on an ongoing basis and not the pool of people eligible for the lower targets – everyone should have a lower target.

On a positive note, it’s good to see British Airways extending the validity of all Gold Upgrade Vouchers, Companion Vouchers and Travel Together Tickets (like the voucher offered by card_name), but it’s not actually doing any more than a lot of other airlines have already done.

Bottom line

I don’t know what British Airways is thinking here because it’s just making more work for itself down the line. If the airline had done the sensible thing and reduced the tier point targets for everyone, they could have put that issue to rest and concentrated on trying to persuade the UK government to allow them to legally rip-off their customers.

As it is, they’re going to have to revisit the tier point requirements at least once more and, as they’re unlikely to get it right at tyhat point either, they’ll probably have to keep on revisiting it a few times more after that. What a colossal waste of time.


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