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End Of 2021 British Airways Tier Point Run: 880 Tier Points For $1,668 (£1,200)


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I haven’t searched for Business Class fares between continental Europe and the United States for months, so when I finally allowed myself to dream of traveling for fun later on this year and I started to check fares, I was amazed to discover that a fantastic Business Class deal that I first saw in May last year is bookable in the final months of 2021.

At some point, this travel crisis will come to an end and airlines will stop extending everyone’s elite status, so it makes sense to start thinking about how easily we’ll all be able to lock-in our favorite statuses when the travel world reopens.

Right now, if you’re looking to earn or retain British Airways status, there’s an amazing Business Class fare available for travel between Sofia and Los Angeles/San Francisco that should be getting your attention.

On its own, the fare will earn you 440 Tier Points, but by adding on an excellent Business Class fare between London and Sofia you can turn that into 600 Tier Points (enough for mid-tier status), and by adding in a stopover in New York the total number of Tier Points that can be earned can be raised to a staggering 880 Tier Points (59% of the Tier Points needed for top-tier status).

Earn 440 Tier Points In One Trip

Right now, there is an excellent oneworld Business Class fare for travel between Sofia and the US West Coast with prices starting at an incredible $1,333 for roundtrip travel.

Here’s what the availability looks like for travel at the end of this year and at the start of the next (showing pricing for 7-day trips):

The one issue that I’ve been finding with these flights is that because of the recent British Airways schedule changes we’ve seen, an overnight layover is needed in London in both directions and that will add to the cost for most people.

Still, various Holiday Inn properties in the Heathrow area can often be booked for under $70/night (if booking well in advance), so the hotel stays shouldn’t break the bank.

Because of the distance between London and Sofia, the British Airways Executive Club awards 80 Tier Points for a Business Class fare between the two cities, and when you add in the standard 140 Tier Points that the Executive Club awards for all non-stop flights between the UK and the United States, this fare will earn a flyer 220 Tier Points in either direction for a total trip haul of 440 Tier Points at a cost starting at $1,333/£960 (+ hotels).

Earn 600 Tier Points In One Trip (BA Silver Status)

There are two key factors to earning 600 Tier Points from a trip to the West Coast using the great Business Class fare out of Sofia.

  1. Start your trip in the UK
  2. Book the great Club Europe (Business Class) fare that’s currently available for travel between London Heathrow and Sofia.

As things stand, British Airways is charging as little as $284 for roundtrip travel between London and Sofia from November 2021 onwards and if you can dovetail this fare with the Sofia – LAX fare you’ll be on to a winner.

This is how the Tier Points would be earned:

  • London – Sofia (Business Class) – 80 Tier Points
  • Sofia – London (Business Class) – 80 Tier Points
  • London – Los Angeles (Business Class) – 140 Tier Points
  • Los Angeles – London (Business Class ) – 140 Tier Points
  • London – Sofia (Business Class) – 80 Tier Points
  • Sofia – London (Business Class) – 80 Tier Points

That would give you a trip total of 600 Tier Points.

The lowest Business Class fare for roundtrip travel between London and Sofia that I’ve managed to dovetail with the excellent Sofia – LAX Business Class fare (and which doesn’t require a very long trip) costs $352 (you may be able to do better)…

…so, when that’s added to the cost of the main transatlantic Business Class fare out of Sofia, you’re left with a total trip cost of around $1,685/£1,215 (+ hotels) for 600 Tier Points.

600 Tier Points is enough Tier Points for British Airways Silver Status (oneworld Sapphire status) and as a traveler booking this fare will have flown the 4 British Airways segments required to earn Silver Status by the end of this trip, they’ll receive that status as soon as the Tier Points from the trip post to their British Airways Executive Club account.

Note: A similar itinerary can be built for travel to San Francisco and that will also earn a flyer 600 Tier Points.

Earn 880 Tier Points In One Trip

This isn’t a routing for the faint-hearted as it involves adding in two more flights to the trip for no reason other than to boost the number of Tier Points on offer…but it’s the routing that I’m considering booking.

Because of the strange way in which British Airways Executive Club works, the following segments all earn 140 Tier Points:

  • London – Los Angeles
  • London – New York
  • New York Los Angeles

What this means is that if a traveler chooses to fly London – New York – Los Angeles rather than the more straightforward (and logical) London – Los Angeles, they will earn 280 Tier Points rather than just 140 Tier Points (in each direction).

This can be put into practice with everything I’ve already written above because it’s possible to book an itinerary that looks like this…

Sofia – London – New York – Los Angeles (and back the same way)

…for just $1,358.

And, if you’re prepared to book a long trip (e.g. over Christmas), it’s possible to dovetail that fare with a $310 Business Class fare between London and Sofia:

If you take a close look at the dates and times of the flights I found through American Airlines and compare them to the dates and times of the flights I found on BA.com for travel between London and Sofia, you’ll find that they go together very well (although a traveler would still require an overnight stop in London in both directions).

This is how the Tier Points would be earned:

  • London – Sofia (Business Class) – 80 Tier Points
  • Sofia – London (Business Class) – 80 Tier Points
  • London – New York (Business Class) – 140 Tier Points
  • New York – Los Angeles (Business Class) – 140 Tier Points
  • Los Angeles – New York (Business Class ) – 140 Tier Points
  • New York – London (Business Class) – 140 Tier Points
  • London – Sofia (Business Class) – 80 Tier Points
  • Sofia – London (Business Class) – 80 Tier Points

For a total cost of $1,668/£1,200 (+ hotels if needed), a traveler would earn 880 Tier Points.

Note: The above routing is also available for shorter trips but the BA Business Class fare between London and Sofia would be a little more expensive (~$360).

For most ‘normal’ people this is a routing that’s simply too complicated to bother with, but for those of us in the miles & points community who love our elite statuses, this is a routing that offers an incredibly economical path to a wealth of Tier Points.

Bottom Line

As I mentioned just the other day, 2021 may see me lose top-tier oneworld status for the first time in well over a decade so a fare like this (right at the beginning of my new status year) would get me well on my way to regaining top-tier status in 2022. That makes it very tempting.

With all the airlines involved in these fares currently offering free cancellations for travel up until the end of 2021 (at the very least), and with an ever-increasing likelihood that most European/US travel restrictions will have been lifted by the end of this year, I’m seriously considering booking the 880 Tier Point run for December. I haven’t definitely decided that I’ll book it…but I probably will 😎

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6 COMMENTS

  1. I must say it’s kind of refreshing to read this for a change…hopefully it’s a sign of improving conditions. I would totally go for this to keep my BA Gold.

  2. How would this fare and routing help me retain American Air Lines Executive Platinum Status. Would the New York connection provide any value and if not I assume the direct routing from LHR to LAX/SFO would be optimum. What is the minimum stay requirement in LAX? I would also need a US to London positioning flight.

    • As AA EXP status is based on the cost of the fares purchased as well as the distance flown this kind of deal would only help you out in part.

      The fact that the fare is “cheap” will mean that it will earn you realtively few EQD but because the trip is a reasonable distance (approx. 13,450 miles for the SOF-LHR-LAX roundtrip), it will earn you a good number of EQM (probably somewhere around 27,000). The route with JFK added i is only aroj d 1,000 miles further so not really worth your while.

      This kind of fare is an excellent example why I gave up EXP for BA Gold – BA Top-Tier status is a LOT more economical to earn than EXP if you can book great long-haul Business Class deals.

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