British Airways Executive Club launches bronze tier

04 November 2011

It was stated in the press recently that members will attain the new status after earning 300 tier points or taking 25 flights, with benefits including premium check-in, advance seat selection and 25 per cent bonus Avios points.

This topic has sparked controversial comments from many industry leaders. Some interesting comments are mentioned below:

  1. These benefits have little or no cost to British Airways (BA) – business class check-in and seat selection. There is possibly a small loss of revenue from those paying for seat selection, but it will likely be small.
  2. Creating this tier has no impact on Oneworld relationships – which wouldn't have been the case if it had been a new tier on the top.
  3. Finally – by creating this new tier, BA rewards the “middle tier” or “middle tail” which is a sweet spot of loyal flyers who deserve to be rewarded.

Those at the top are already rewarded over and beyond Gold without the creation of another tier – with invisible benefits –  Goldtier members who earn way beyond the threshold tier points can get further benefits, such as upgrade vouchers, lounge passes for the Concorde room and so on.

The moves do make sense, and are clearly aimed at Euro Commuters – those people flying all the time within Europe on BA, buying relatively cheap tickets, but who find it difficult to earn the tier points and never get to Silver. It’s a way of offering something the low cost airlines don’t offer and the change has two big benefits for them – business class check in and seat selection.

In addition, operationally it allows them to be considered in the upgrade queue – where the airline needs to upgrade for commercial reasons, if you’ve upgraded your Gold and Silver card holders, you can now upgrade Bronze ahead of the less valuable  Blue card holders.

It would appear that the new Bronze tier will align with the existing Blue tier in terms of Oneworld benefits, so nothing extra there.

Also, the tier thresholds for all levels are now being aligned globally so no longer will non-UK members of the programme benefit from lower entry qualifications. The changes also have another very positive effect for high flyers in their year of joining who are likely to progress beyond more than one elite tier.  Previously, each time you upgraded to the next tier your tier points were immediately zeroed. Now they remain cumulative until the end of your membership year.  The impact of this is that those going from zero to Gold in one year will need 600 fewer tier points than before to reach their goal.  This is because they will keep their original 600 points upon reaching Silver. Interestingly for those shoppers earning Avios points, the advantage of the new ways of redeeming the points – car hire and hotels, for instance, is that there were no taxes to pay on them, unlike flights.


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