Chasing airline status can be quite a fun game, although perhaps not the natural terrain of the terminally ill. It’s a different game to earning Avios (air miles) because it tends to rely on actually flying. I’ve earned more Avios from spending money at Tesco than I’ve ever earned from stepping foot on a plane.
Status relies on you flying. And flying quite a lot in the cheap seats or a bit less if you go business class. I’ve pretty much decided that status with British Airways is the one to pursue if I’m going to go for it. Despite their annoying start points, which invariably require a trip to Heathrow or Gatwick – their nickname “London Airways” is well earned, BA status is recognised by a host of other operators such as American, Qatar, Iberia, Finnair, Malaysian, Qantas and several others.
Indeed, the Chile trip involving Milan, Madrid, Santiago and Easter Island will accrue 590 BA tier points each for me and Chris. 600 tier points is where things get interesting at silver status because it gets us into the lounge when flying cattle class. And free food and unlimited drink in a comfy armchair pre flight appeals more than buying overpriced sandwiches on board.
Of course that lounge access only applies if I’m flying with BA or their One World mates. I can’t book an Easyjet flight, wave my silver card and end up in a lounge. But I can book Finnair, wave the card and get slaughtered for free pre-flight.
At present, last year’s USA holiday affords us both bronze status. This allows us to queue jump at bag drop, be among the first to board (this enables us to keep hand luggage close to our seats) and an extra 25% Avios reward on the flight. Silver adds lounge access and 50% more Avios. Gold doubles the Avios, but needs an eye watering 1,500 tier points.
Chasing silver status is pretty much my goal. But flying from Leeds to Malta for £40 return on Ryanair is better than driving to Gatwick and paying BA £175 for the same destination and the tier points that will get me to silver. So at some point between now and July I need to find a dirt cheap return flight (minimum earning is 5 tier points each way) to a place I’ve never been before on a One World airline from a northern airport. Ideally at a time that Chris can come with me!
I’d have preferred to use the trip from Santiago to the Chile Lake District to trigger this, but LATAM charge three times the fare of their main competitor. If I’d thought about it previously, I’d have routed us from Manchester to Milan via Heathrow on BA instead of using direct Flybe flights. But the latter is less hassle!
Indeed, if you like time in the air there are often ways to achieve silver status in one trip. January 2016 saw a BA sale that could get you from Dublin to Philadelphia to LA to Honolulu and back for £900 return in business class. With each leg accruing 140 points you hit the mythical silver status as you hit the tarmac in Philly on the way home. Somebody flying 20 flights between Edinburgh and London on business each year is almost duty bound to book such a holiday to make his or her work related trips more bearable!
Me? I reckon I’ll be off to Bremen when the price is right!