British Airways is extending the elite status of many Executive Club members for another year. While the status match extension shows that air travel still has a long road to recovery, it also makes it more likely other carriers will do the same.
British Airways Extends Elite Status (Again)
The British Airways status clock begins on the day you earn elite status. For example, if you earn status on June 1st it will be valid until June 1st until the following year. This is different than most carriers, which award status on an annual calendar basis regardless of when you qualified. On BA, status is earned based upon Tier Points (a mix of mileage and class of service).
Today, British Airways announced members whose Tier Point collection end date falls between 1 July and 31 December 2021, will have their elite status protected for an additional 12 months, even if they have not flown.
This means that no British Airways Executive Club member will lose their Tier status in 2021.
Niall Rooney, the chief of British Airways Executive Club, noted:
“As we await the Government’s decision in April and plan for the safe restart of travel as soon as possible, we want to thank our Executive Club members for their loyalty during the most difficult time in the airline’s history.
“We know many of our members haven’t been able to travel, but today’s news means they can keep their benefits for longer and use them when they’re able to fly again. We hope this complements a number of measures we’ve already introduced, including our book with confidence commitment, which provides flexibility and reassurance for our customers.”
Interestingly, at least for now, those whose tier year earlier, say in June, will not receive the extension (they’ve already received a one year extension). So for a travelers whose year ends in February 2021, status is valid until February 2022, but not beyond. Those who status ends in December 2021 will now enjoy status through at December 2022, even if they don’t fly.
British Airways Extends Vouchers
British Airways also extended vouchers and upgrades set to expire in 2021 by six months. Those include:
- Gold upgrade vouchers
- American Express companion vouchers
- Travel Together tickets
British Airways Makes It Easier To Earn Status
While previously announced, it will be easier to earn status for those who do not have it, though BA is only dropping the requirement by 25%:
- Bronze status – now requires 225 Tier Points (or 18 eligible flights)
- Silver status – now requires 450 Tier Points (or 37 eligible flights)
- Gold status – now requires 1,125 Tier Points
Why This Is A Good Sign
British Airways dragged its feet in extending status in 2020. This year, it is one of the first to do so.
I view this as a hopeful sign which further solidifies my belief that most carriers will offer status match extensions later this year. British Airways, facing long-term lockdowns (which included limited travel bans even for UK citizens) and additional border closured, had no choice.
While U.S. customers have had more opportunities to travel this year, it has again largely been domestic. My flight to London on United had only a dozen people on the entire 787…people are simply not flying now. In many cases, they cannot.
As bad as empty flights are for the industry, I would expect consumers will benefit in most loyalty programs with another status extension.
British Airways is getting ahead of its competitors by offering another status match extension for many of its members. It is also extending voucher validity and making it easier to earn status for those who do not have it.
I expect many carriers to follow.