British Airways Executive Club Loyalty Program Review

British Airways Executive Club Loyalty Program Review
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Branded and Partnered Credit Cards

There are tons of credit cards that can help you earn a bunch of Avios that can be redeemed for some amazing flights.

British Airways Visa Signature® Card

The most simple method is using Chase’s co-branded British Airways Visa card.

This co-branded card offers its owners one of the most valuable perks in the airline loyalty world: the British Airways Travel Together Ticket.

Once it’s earned, you can redeem it for a buy-one-get-one-free international award ticket. In other words, you would be spending 100,000 Avios on a redemption for 2 people rather than 200,000.

Chase Ultimate Rewards Credit Cards

Earning Chase Ultimate Rewards might be the best way to find your way to a ton of Avios. Chase cards have plenty of bonus categories to boost your Avios account.

Recommended Chase Cards (Personal)

If you’re a business owner, see our list of recommended Chase business credit cards.

American Express Membership Rewards Credit Cards

Like Chase, earning Membership Rewards is a quick way to get your hands on tons of Avios thanks to tons of bonus categories.

Recommended American Express Cards

Credit CardKey Benefits & Info
New 100K Welcome Offer

The Platinum Card® from American Express


Learn More
(at Amex's secure site)
  • Earn 60,000 100,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Plus, earn 10x points on eligible purchases on the Card at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • $200 Hotel Credit: Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 in statement credits each month when you pay for eligible purchases with the Platinum Card® at your choice of one or more of the following providers: Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required.
  • New! American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide. Now there are even more places your Platinum Card® can get you complimentary entry and exclusive perks.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status available to Basic Card Member only.
  • $300 Equinox Credit: Get up to $25 back each month on select Equinox memberships. Enrollment required.
  • $179 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $179 back per year on your CLEAR® membership.
  • Good to Excellent Credit Recommended (670-850)
  • Annual Fee: $695
  • Terms Apply. For rates and fees of Amex Platinum, click here.
$2,200
New Welcome Offer

American Express® Gold Card


Learn More
(at Amex's secure site)
  • Rose Gold is back. You can now choose between Gold or Rose Gold.
  • Earn 35,000 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, including takeout and delivery, and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Earn up to a total of $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth's Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations. This can be an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
  • Get up to 12 complimentary months of an Uber Eats Pass subscription when you enroll with your Gold Card by 12/31/21.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Good to Excellent Credit Recommended (670-840)
  • Annual Fee: $250
  • Terms Apply. For rates and fees of the Amex Gold Card, click here.
$1,320

Business owners can review our list of the best Amex business credit cards.

Marriott Bonvoy Credit Cards

Earning Marriott Bonvoy points is another great way to get some Avios. The transfer bonus of 5,000 Avios for every transfer of 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points just makes it even better.

Recommended Marriott Bonvoy Cards

CREDIT CARDCARD INFO
Limited Time Offer

Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card

Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card
Learn More
(at Chase's secure site)
  • For a Limited Time Only! Earn 60,000 Bonus Points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn up to 14x total Bonvoy points per $1 spent at over 7,000 hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy® with the Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Card.
  • Earn 2x Bonvoy points for every $1 spent on other travel purchases (from airfare to taxis and trains).
  • 1X point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Receive 15 Elite Night Credits annually, qualifying you for Silver Elite Status. Restrictions apply.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Earn unlimited Marriott Bonvoy points and get Free Night Stays faster.
  • Good to Excellent Credit Recommended (670-850)
  • Annual Fee: $0
Limited Time Offer

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card
Learn More
(at Chase's secure site)
  • For a Limited Time Only! Earn 125,000 Bonus Points and 1 Free Night Award (value up to 50,000 points) after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • 1 Free Night Award (valued up to 35,000 points) every year after account anniversary.
  • Earn up to 17x total Bonvoy points per $1 spent at over 7,000 hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy® with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Card.
  • Earn 2X Bonvoy points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Automatic Silver Elite Status each account anniversary year. Path to Gold Status when you spend $35,000 on purchases each account year.
  • 15 Elite Night Credits each calendar year.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • Earn unlimited Marriott Bonvoy points and get Free Night Stays faster.
  • Good to Excellent Credit Recommended (670-850)
  • Annual Fee: $95
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card


Learn More
(at Amex's secure site)
  • Earn 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. Plus, earn up to $200 in Statement Credits for eligible purchases at U.S. Restaurants within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Enjoy up to $300 in statement credits each year of Card Membership for eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program.
  • Earn 6 Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program.
  • Earn 3 points at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines, then earn 2 points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive 1 free Night Award every year after your Card account anniversary. Award can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy Points) at a participating hotel. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Good to Excellent Credit Recommended (670-850)
  • Annual Fee: $450
  • Terms Apply. For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card, click here.
​​
Limited Time Offer

Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card


Learn More
(at Amex's secure site)
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 125,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points & 2 bonus Free Night Awards after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months. Each bonus Free Night Award has a redemption level up to 50K points. Certain hotels have resort fees. Offer ends 11/3/2021.
  • Earn 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program.
  • Earn 4x points at U.S. restaurants, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping. 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card account anniversary. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status with your Card. Plus, earn Gold Elite status after making $35,000 in eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year.
  • Good to Excellent Credit Recommended (670-840)
  • Annual fee: $125
  • Terms Apply. For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Business Card, click here.

$875

Capital One Miles Credit Cards

You can earn Capital One miles and redeem them for Avios at a 2:1.5 ratio.

Recommended Capital One Miles Cards

Other Hotel Partner Credit Cards

A few hotel programs will let you transfer points to British Airways. However, this is almost always a poor use of hotel points.

Unless you are really in a bind, save your hotel points for hotel award stays at your destination.

British Airways Overview

British Airways’ mileage program is Executive Club, and Avios is the reward currency.

You can collect Avios not only on British Airways flights, but also through partner airline flights, hotel stays, car rentals, credit card use, and even online shopping and dining.

You can also purchase Avios if you are short of a reward, share them with a Household Account, or transfer them to friends for a fee.

Joining British Airways Executive Club

Joining the British Airways frequent flyer program is easy and free. Sign up online and begin collecting and redeeming Avios immediately.

How To Sign In to Your British Airways Executive Club Account

Sign in on the British Airways homepage. You’ll need to enter your login ID and PIN/password.

Viewing Your Account Activity

You can manage your account on the My Executive Club page.

Points Expiration

To prevent your Avios from expiring, all you need to do is earn, spend or buy Avios just once every 36 months.

British Airways Mileage Program

British Airways Executive Club Elite Status

British Airways Executive Club has 4 status tiers:

  • Blue (general member)
  • Bronze
  • Silver
  • Gold

British Airways Tier visual
Image Credit: British Airways

Executive Club Blue:

  • Earn and redeem Avios and Tier Points
  • No travel benefits
  • Member-only offers

Executive Club Bronze:

All Blue benefits, plus:

  • 25% Avios bonus
  • Priority check-in and boarding
  • Free seat selection 7 days prior to departure

Executive Club Silver:

  • All Bronze benefits, plus:
  • 50% Avios bonus
  • Free seat selection at booking
  • Additional baggage allowance
  • Business class lounge access, including preflight dining at the Boston (BOS), Chicago (ORD), New York (JFK), and Washington, D.C. (IAD) lounges

Executive Club Gold:

  • All Silver benefits, plus:
  • 100% Avios bonus
  • First class lounge access, including preflight dining at the Boston (BOS), Chicago (ORD), New York (JFK), and Washington, D.C. (IAD) lounges
  • First class check-in
  • Additional reward flight availability
  • Reaching 2,500 Tier Points: 1 companion upgrade voucher
  • Reaching 3,500 Tier Points: 2 companion upgrade vouchers

Executive Club Gold Guest List:

Strictly speaking, BA’s Gold Guest List is not a Tier of its own. However, it does have some distinctive benefits, so it’s definitely important to include here.

You must already hold Gold status and have earned 5,000 Tier Points in a membership year and 3,000 Tier Points in each year thereafter. That’s a lot of flying!

Its benefits are as follows:

  • Concorde Room access at London Heathrow Terminal 5 and New York JFK Terminal 7
  • You may gift 1 Gold status and 2 Silver statuses to others
  • You can force open reward availability for 5 seats, twice per year, so long as A, B, D, and T fare classes are still available
  • Eligibility to invite a second guest to BA departure lounges, and a first guest to the Arrivals lounge
  • Hilton Honors Diamond status

Hot Tip: Check out our full list of U.S. British Airways lounges, as well as our guide on how to access British Airways lounges.

Value of British Airways Executive Club Elite Status

Many travelers aspire to Executive Club Gold for access to BA first class lounges and Oneworld Emerald status for partner airline first class lounges. Even with Gold, however, you do not get the flight upgrades that are a treasured perk of many competitor programs.

Executive Club Silver is primarily distinguished for business lounge access. Executive Club Bronze is a typical entry-level elite status. At these levels, some travelers opt into alternate Oneworld programs such as American Airlines AAdvantage.

Earning British Airways Executive Club Elite Status

To reach each level of Executive Club status, you must earn a set number of Tier Points each year:

  • Bronze: 300 Tier Points (or take 25 BA flights)
  • Silver: 600 Tier Points (or take 50 BA flights)
  • Gold: 1500 Tier Points
  • Gold Guest List: 5,000 Tier Points (3,000 thereafter to retain)

However, British Airways has temporarily reduced the number of Tier Points needed to offset the many months of lost travel due to the pandemic.

The new thresholds are as follows:

  • Bronze: 225 Tier Points (or take 18 BA flights)
  • Silver: 450 Tier Points (or take 37 BA flights)
  • Gold: 1125 Tier Points
  • Gold Guest List: 3,750 Tier Points (2,250 thereafter to retain)

Hot Tip: See our article “Coronavirus (COVID-19): Airline Elite Status Extensions, Changes, and Updates” for full details on Executive Club updates for 2021 and beyond.

See the Executive Club Tier Points guide and calculator to estimate how your flights on British Airways and partners will earn Tier Points (or not).

Airlines That Award Tier Points
American AirlinesFinnairQantasS7 Airlines
British AirwaysIberiaQatar AirwaysSriLankan Airlines
Cathay PacificJapan AirlinesRoyal Air Maroc
ComairMalaysian AirlinesRoyal Jordanian

Lifetime Executive Club Gold

Reaching Lifetime Gold status with British Airways is the ultimate accolade. Achieving it means earning a staggering 35,000 Tier Points.

There is no lifetime status for Bronze or Silver. Some dedicated flyers go on “Tier Points runs,” which are the BA equivalent of mileage runs.

Oneworld Status

With Bronze, Silver, and Gold status you also receive a corresponding Oneworld status (Ruby, Sapphire, or Emerald) and the associated benefits when flying with Oneworld partner airlines.

Executive ClubOneworld Alliance
BronzeRuby
SilverSapphire
GoldEmerald

How To Earn Avios

There are tons of ways to earn Avios that you can redeem for flights on British Airways or one of its partners.

Earn Avios by Flying BA

Every time you fly with British Airways or any of its partner carriers, you will collect a minimum of 125 Avios per flight.

Unlike the U.S. where miles earned are progressively becoming more monetary-based, this means you can still make “mileage runs” and earn extra Avios by having many transfers on your itinerary without having to break the bank.

Your Avios and Tier Points earnings depend on travel class and fare class.

Executive Club elite status members earn even more Avios: 25% bonus for Bronze, 50% bonus for Silver, and 100% bonus for Gold.

British Airways Earning
It’s easy to find the minimum Avios you will earn on a British Airways flight. Image Credit: British Airways

Earn Avios by Flying BA’s Partner Airlines

British Airways is a member of the Oneworld alliance which means that you can earn Avios by flying with other members like Alaska Airlines and Iberia. You can also earn Avios by flying with non-Oneworld airlines including Aer Lingus, Air Baltic, LATAM, and some Loganair flights.

Each partner is subject to its own Avios and Tier Points earning rules. It gets complicated, so check carefully.

Earn Avios With Credit Cards

There is only 1 British Airways-branded credit card in the U.S.: the British Airways Visa card. You will earn 5x Avios per $1 spent with British Airways, Aer Lingus, Iberia, and LEVEL during your first 12 months of card membership. This reduces to 3x Avios per $1 thereafter.

Cardholders will earn a bonus of 3x Avios per $1 spent on stays booked directly with hotels within the first 12 months of ownership. This reduces to 2x Avios per $1 thereafter.

All other purchases will earn 1 Avios per $1 spent.

British Airways also has partnered with 4 transferable points programs. These partnerships make it easy to transfer points to your Executive Club account whenever you need some Avios for an award booking.

You can transfer American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Capital One miles, and Marriott Bonvoy points to British Airways Executive Club. Both Amex and Chase points currencies transfer to Avios at a 1:1 transfer ratio. Capital One miles transfer to Avios at a 2:1.5 ratio.

Marriott Bonvoy points transfer to Avios at a 3:1 ratio. If you transfer a chunk of 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points, you’ll even get an additional 5,000 Avios.

Other Ways To Earn Avios

See our article on the best ways to earn lots of British Airways Avios for many opportunities to earn Avios with British Airways’ travel and retail partners. Plus, earn even more when shopping with the British Airways Avios eStore shopping portal.

How To Redeem Avios

Now that we’ve listed the best ways to use Avios, let’s talk about some other details. British Airways Executive Club is significantly different from traditional airline frequent flyer programs. By learning how spending Avios works, you can have fantastic travel experiences!

Traditional airline award charts are priced by geographic region, meaning the miles price is fixed regardless of distance or flight connections in that region. This gives you the traditional 25,000-mile U.S. domestic round-trip award ticket familiar to many travelers.

British Airways has a distance- and segment-based award chart, and understanding it is crucial to get value from flight awards.

Each Avios award redemption is priced by distance for every segment of a trip; prices add up fast!

New York (JFK) to Chicago (ORD) in economy nonstop, for example, is 9,000 Avios.

If no nonstop is available and you need to connect in Cleveland (CLE), the price almost doubles to 15,000 Avios since each segment is priced separately. New York (JFK) to Cleveland (CLE) is 7,500, and Cleveland (CLE) to Chicago (ORD) is another 7,500. Avios charges you for both!

How Much Do British Airways Avios Award Flights Cost?

British Airways no longer publishes an award chart. Instead, you can check out our table below for the most up-to-date redemption costs.

While we’re talking about the overall “cost” of Avios award flights, we should remind you here that in addition to the amount of Avios, you’ll have to pay an additional cash amount that includes taxes, fees, and carrier charges.

There are 4 types of prices, and each varies based on flight distance:

  1. British Airways flights have peak and off-peak prices
  2. Iberia flights have peak and off-peak prices that differ slightly from British Airways flights
  3. Single-partner awards are 1 price with no peak or off-peak dates
  4. Multi-partner awards are priced by total trip distance

Hot Tip: Flights under 650 miles start at 4,750 Avios, except in North America where they start at 7,500 Avios.

List of Alliance and Non-Alliance Airline Partners

British Airways partners with many different airline frequent flyer programs; below are the members of Oneworld alliance. BA is also partners with Aer Lingus.

Oneworld Partners
Alaska AirlinesMalaysia Airlines
American Airlines
Qantas
British AirwaysQatar Airways
Cathay PacificRoyal Air Maroc
FinnairRoyal Jordanian
IberiaS7 Airlines
Japan AirlinesSriLankan Airlines
Oneworld Connect Partner
Fiji Airways

British Airways Award Chart

(Note: Iberia flights are slightly different)

Zone

(Distance)

EconomyPremium EconomyBusinessFirst
Off-PeakPeakOff-PeakPeakOff-PeakPeakOff-PeakPeak
Zone 1

(1-650 miles)

4,7505,2508,5009,750
Zone 2

(651-1,151 miles)

7,2508,25013,50015,750
Zone 3

(1,152-2,000 miles)

9,25010,75017,75020,750
Zone 4

(2,001-3,000 miles)

10,00012,50020,00025,00031,25037,50042,50050,000
Zone 5

(3,001-4,000 miles)

13,00020,00026,00040,00050,00060,00068,00080,000
Zone 6

(4,001-5,500 miles)

16,25025,00032,50050,00062,50075,00085,000100,000
Zone 7

(5,501-6,500 miles)

19,50030,00039,00060,00075,00090,000102,000120,000
Zone 8

(6,501-7,000 miles)

22,75035,00045,50070,00087,500105,000119,000140,000
Zone 9

(7,001-100,000 miles)

32,50050,00065,000100,000125,000150,000170,000200,000

Peak or Off-Peak Dates:

British Airways has peak and off-peak dates published every year.

Remaining 2021 peak dates are:

  • October 15-18, 2021
  • October 22-25, 2021
  • October 29-31, 2021
  • December 12-13, 2021
  • December 15-31, 2021

2022 peak dates are:

  • January 1-11, 2022
  • February 5, 2022
  • February 11-14, 2022
  • February 18-21, 2022
  • February 26, 2022
  • March 26-31, 2022
  • April 1-3, 2022
  • April 7-10, 2022
  • April 14-19, 2022
  • May 27-31, 2022
  • June 2-6, 2022
  • June 11-12, 2022
  • June 17-19, 2022
  • June 24-26, 2022
  • July 4, 2022
  • July 7-11, 2022
  • July 14-18, 2022
  • July 21-25, 2022
  • July 28-31, 2022
  • August 4-7, 2022
  • August 11-14, 2022
  • August 18-21, 2022
  • August 25-31, 2022
  • September 1-6, 2022
  • September 10-11, 2022
  • September 17-18, 2022
  • September 24-25, 2022
  • October 15-18, 2022
  • October 21-24, 2022
  • October 29-31, 2022
  • December 10-13, 2022
  • December 15-25, 2022
  • December 27-31, 2022

First vs. Business Class

Not all airlines or flights have all classes of service.

Beware of domestic “first class” flights that are not worth the price! If you were to fly from New York (JFK) to San Francisco (SFO) on an American Airlines narrow-body Airbus A320, paying 51,500 Avios for “domestic first” instead of 13,000 Avios in economy probably isn’t worth it.

In contrast, some of the coolest Avios awards are for short first or business class flights that grant you access to incredible airline lounges. This may be the cheapest way to experience Cathay Pacific’s The Wing in Hong Kong (HKG) or the Qantas International First Lounge in Sydney (SYD).

Multi-Carrier Award Flights

Multi-carrier means a combination of 2 airlines on a single ticket, and these awards have their own chart.

These awards are expensive, and you’ll most likely do better by booking separate airlines on separate tickets.

The multi-carrier Avios price is the same regardless of connections, one-way, or round-trip: only total distance matters. However, taxes, fees, and carrier charges vary widely, so beware!

Multi-Carrier Award Flights
Miles in Your JourneyAvios for Economy
0–1,50030,000 + taxes, fees, and carrier charges
1,501–4,00035,000 + taxes, fees, and carrier charges
4,001–9,00060,000 + taxes, fees, and carrier charges
9,001–10,00070,000 + taxes, fees, and carrier charges
10,001–14,00090,000 + taxes, fees, and carrier charges
14,001–20,000100,000 + taxes, fees, and carrier charges
20,001–25,000120,000 + taxes, fees, and carrier charges
25,001–35,000140,000 + taxes, fees, and carrier charges
35,001–50,000160,000 + taxes, fees, and carrier charges

In general, premium economy is 1.5 times the economy price, business is 2 times economy, and first class is 3 times economy.

What Is Reward Flight Saver?

The British Airways Reward Flight Saver can save you cash on British Airways Europe flights and Comair flights.

Your account must have earned Avios in the past 12 months to be eligible for Reward Flight Saver.

With Reward Flight Saver, award flights on British Airways within Europe and Comair in Africa are charged reduced, flat fees. This is in lieu of other taxes and surcharges.

Reward Flight Saver is automatically applied on qualifying itineraries.

Here’s an example:

Thanks to BA’s Reward Flight Saver, you can pay as little as 8,000 Avios for a one-way flight in Club Europe from London to Barcelona (BCN). Passengers are given the option of selecting an Avios and cash combination that best suits their individual wallet.

British Airways Reward Flight Saver pricing example
A one-way flight in BA’s Club Europe (business) from London to Barcelona can cost between 8,000 Avios + $100 and 20,000 Avios + 70 cents. Image Credit: British Airways

Hot Tip: At first glance, paying just 70 cents for the 20,000 Avios option might appear to be a steal. However, given Upgraded Points’ valuation of Avios at 1.25 cents per Avios, it puts the total for that option at $250.70, whereas the lowest Avios/highest cash option comes in at a true value of around $200.

What Is Part Payment?

British Airways and some partner airlines may have several payment options that allow you to use a combination of Avios and cash.

If you want to use fewer Avios or don’t have enough to complete a booking, you can choose an option that includes more cash.

Here are the Avios and cash options for London (LHR) to Doha (DOH) with Qatar Airways as an example:

Avios and Cash combinations for London to Qatar with Qatar Airways
Image Credit: British Airways

British Airways Avios and cash gives you options to save Avios or save cash. A similar option is available when booking cash tickets to save money by using some Avios.

Saving money using Avios
Image Credit: British Airways

Hot Tip: Do the math before deciding whether to use your Avios to save money on a flight. In this example, as the amount of money you can save increases, the amount of Avios required to save the money increases disproportionately. This means that the “£10 off with 1,000 Avios” option gives you a value of 1.3 cents per Avios whereas the “£165 off with 38,500” option Avios gives you a value of just 0.4 cents per Avios.

Beware of Surcharges on British Airways Flights

Extremely high fees are added to the Avios award price of many British Airways flights. Exceptions are flights within Europe that qualify for Reward Flight Saver. In recent times, British Airways has also brought down the fees on other long-haul flights, including transatlantic.

In some extreme cases, it’s not unheard for the cash component of a British Airways award redemption to be as much as directly buying a cash ticket!

The highest of the fees are often those tagged on to redemptions in premium cabins.

If we take a British Airways flight from London (LHR) to Cape Town (CPT) in Club World (business class) as an example, it would cost 62,500 Avios and a whopping $561!

Prices for an Avios redemption from London to Cape Town with BA in Club
Image Credit: British Airways

Bottom Line: As a general rule of thumb, short-distance, nonstop flights on partner airlines offer the best Avios value. You may also consider our guide on ways to use British Airways Avios without huge fuel surcharges.

Where To Search for British Airways Avios Award Flights

You can search for British Airways award flights and most airline partners (with the exception of Air Baltic and Loganair) on ba.com. For Aer Lingus, you can search avios.com or aerlingus.com.

Hot Tip: Be cautious searching for awards directly on other airline partner websites. Some awards may only be available to their own members, not to partners. For American Airlines, you can only use Avios to book what American shows as MileSAAver awards, not AAnytime awards.

Start 355 Days in Advance

Awards are available up to 355 days before departure, and there are no award holds or waitlists.

Hot Tip: British Airways can book partner awards up to 355 days before departure, but American Airlines is only 330. With British Airways, you can access awards weeks before American Airlines members can!

How To Search for British Airways Rewards

Start at ba.com, navigate to Book, then Book a flight with Avios.

When the search screen says You can break your journey with stopovers, select No, I want to continue without stopovers.

This will search partner flights in addition to British Airways flights.

BA journey stopovers
Image Credit: British Airways

When searching British Airways rewards flights, select no stopover unless you want to visit London.

Flights may not display on ba.com for various reasons:

  • Certain partner airlines are not searched
  • “Route unavailable” means the website is not programmed for that route
  • Multi-connection flight options are not searched

Online Booking Problems? Call and Waive the Fee

Even if you can’t find an award on the website, the good news is that if an award is available, you can call in to have British Airways agents book it!

Ask the agent to waive the $25 phone booking fee since the flight is unavailable online. They will usually do so if you ask.

Bottom Line: Many award flights are available online. If not, call to book and ask to waive the $25 booking fee since it is not available online!

How To Get a Free London Stopover

When flying British Airways, you have the option of a free stopover in London.

When the award search screen says You can break your journey with stopovers, select, I want to break my journey and choose my stopovers.

BA London Stopover
Image Credit: British Airways

Your London stopover can be a few days or even several months.

Given that the pricing for a stopover is the same as booking the same route with a small transfer at Heathrow on the same day, it makes just as much sense to book 2 separate flights if you are planning on staying in London.

Bottom Line: To minimize fees, the best London stopover value is between 2 U.K. or European cities near to London rather than long-haul flights.

Use British Airways Executive Club Household Accounts to Pool Avios

British Airways Family World Traveller
A British Airways Executive Club Household Account is useful for families to pool their Avios. Image Credit: British Airways

You can form a British Airways Executive Club Household Account where you and up to 6 people at the same address can become a Household to pool Avios. You can even add your kids and have them start earning Avios from an early age.

Awards are deducted proportionally from the Household common pool of Avios, and each household member is able to earn Tier Points and progress through the tiers of the Executive Club.

There are some important restrictions about Household Accounts:

  • 1 person is the Head of Household who can add/remove members or change the address (1 address change allowed per 6 months)
  • You cannot redeem rewards for members not in the Household, except for up to 5 people added to the Friends and Family list (changes are only allowed once per 6 months; from the first change you have 24 hours to complete all changes before the 6-month freeze)
  • Household Accounts cannot use the Combine My Avios tool to move Avios between BA and Iberia; instead, you’ll need an avios.com account
  • Members must be 18 years old before being able to spend Avios

Bottom Line: Without a Household Account, British Airways charges fees to transfer Avios to another member (Gold members can transfer for free). The maximum you can transfer in a year is 162,000 Avios, and those are capped at 27,000 Avios per recipient. At $290 per 27,000 Avios to transfer, that is absurd!

Low Cancel Fees = Flexibility!

Avios award tickets have some of the lowest booking fees among major airlines and there are no last-minute ticketing fees!

Change or cancellation fees for those departing North America are relatively low: $55. If the cash portion of your Avios award ticket is less than $55, then you only forfeit the cash amount you paid. You don’t pay the full $55 unless your ticket’s fees were $55 or more.

Note that the phone fee is an extra $25 if you don’t change or cancel online.

Hot Tip: A U.S. domestic nonstop on American Airlines is only charged $5.60 taxes. If you later cancel, you only lose $5.60… a small price to pay for flexibility!

Quick Guide to Iberia Avios

In 2010, Spanish airline Iberia Airlines merged with British Airways to give you another excellent way to avoid British Airways’ fuel surcharges.

You can also transfer Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Capital One miles, and Marriott Bonvoy points to British Airways Executive Club and then to Iberia Plus.

If you want to transfer your Avios from BA to Iberia, sign up for an Iberia Plus account. To transfer, your Iberia account must be at least 90 days old and have earned Avios to make a successful transfer from British Airways.

After 90 days from Iberia account opening, log in to your British Airways Executive Club account, click on Manage My Account, and select Combine My Avios from the drop-down and then again on the next page.

BA Transferring Avios
From British Airways to Iberia, select Iberia Plus. Image Credit: British Airways

Select Iberia Plus from the list of programs and enter your Iberia Plus number and PIN.


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Frequently asked questions

What is British Airways Executive Club?

Executive Club is British Airways’ frequent flyer program.

Why should I join British Airways Executive Club? What are the benefits?

BA Executive Club is free to join.

You can earn points, called Avios, that can be redeemed for travel on BA, its airline partners, and for other things.

Elite status levels in the Executive Club are Blue, Bronze, Silver, and Gold.

Benefits of status include earning additional bonus miles while flying, discounts on in-flight purchases, priority check in, free bags, lounge access, standby access, seat assignments, and more.

What are Avios?

Avios is the name of the points currency used by British Airways Executive Club. Avios is now the points currency of additional airlines including Aer Lingus and Iberia, though each program remains separate and has its own elite status and award options.

What are Tier Points?

Tier Points are earned on British Airways and partner flights. Executive Club elite status is earned by Tier Points: 300 for Bronze, 600 for Silver, 1,500 for Gold. Use the Avios and Tier Points Calculator to find out how much you will earn for your flight.

Is there a British Airways credit card?

Yes. We’ve reviewed the British Airways Visa card. You can also transfer Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Capital One miles, and Marriott Bonvoy points to BA Executive Club.

How do I join the BA Executive Club?

You can sign up for the club by using this link.

What is the BA Executive Club login?

Who are the BA Executive Club partners?

BA is a member of the Oneworld alliance, so partners include all of these airlines and more. BA also has partnerships with Aer Lingus, Air Baltic, LATAM, and Loganair.

Brian Graham

About Brian Graham

Brian's first ever airplane ride was in a private turbo-prop jet. He was merely an intern boy trying to make a good impression, but it turns out the plane made an impression on him. It wasn't until Brian relocated to Dallas, TX, and moved in with an American Airlines employee that he truly discovered how incredible travel could be.

Travel prices are about to surge from pent-up demand.

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6 comments

  1. Lynn Guinness February 9, 2019

    How do I get my Silver Card, No 99361021, verified?

    Reply

    • Hi Lynn,

      You should receive an e-mail from British Airways asking to verify your account. Be sure to check your spam box to see if they e-mail is there. Otherwise, you’ll need to create another British Airways Executive Club account and verify it via e-mail again if you lost the first e-mail. Thanks for reading.

      Reply

  2. I have a AA account with miles and a BA account with avios. Can I merge everything into BA executive club as both are part of oneworld?
    Thanks in advance.

    Reply

  3. Can I transfer my Iberia points to BA, if I don’t have any activity on my BA account? It is however more than 90 days old, Iberia won’t let me book one-way tickets on partner airlines and I read BA does, thanks.

    Reply

    • Hi Gabe,

      Both accounts must have had some sort of activity in them before you can transfer. This includes anything from mileage accrual from flying, shopping portal activity, or transferring points from credit card award program like American Express Membership Rewards or Chase Ultimate Rewards.

      Reply

Any thoughts or questions? Comment below!

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