Once upon a time, airline mileage programs imbued their members with visions of last-minute trips and luxury holidays. Of late, many of these programs have restructured, leaving frequent travelers to wonder … what’s the point?
A program reinstilling faith that mileage counts for something is British Airways’ Executive Club membership. Here's how.
1. A helpful website (and a miles calculator)
The British Airways website features a helpful program intro video, as well as more in-depth information via drop-down listings on the right-hand side of the page: Everything from how to earn and redeem Avios to purchasing/sharing additional Avios to claiming missing points.
Still trying to bend brain cells around the fastest way to achieve Silver or Gold Tiers’ club lounge access? British Airways supplies an online Avios and Tier points calculator: Merely plug in the airline being flown, current Tier level and departure/arrival destinations.
2. High rewards for low points
British Airways’ Executive Club program has been lauded for its high value point redemptions. Reward travel is based on distance and varies between British Airways and its oneworld Alliance partners. Short and mid-haul flights on oneworld Alliance partner flights often bring with them the biggest bang for the Avios buck.
» Learn more: How to save Chase Ultimate Rewards points by maximizing the British Airways award chart
3. Several ways to earn Avios and tier levels
Executive Club members have several options when it comes to earning reward travel. Travel completed on British Airways and or oneworld® Alliance partner flights can earn Avios and up tier levels. Mileage cannot be accrued, however, on reward flights, agency discounted fares or industry discounted fares.
Booking hotels and car rentals through loyalty partners reap lucrative Avios, too. A definite boon comes when renting an Avis rental car. Executive Club members earn 1 Avios per $1 spent with a minimum of 500 Avios earned per rental.
The British Airways Visa Signature® Card brings with it a nice welcome bonus, as well: Earn 50,000 bonus Avios after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening. Plus earn a Travel Together Ticket after you spend $20,000 total on purchases within your first year of account opening.
Combine day-to-day shopping expenditures with partner credit cards and the Avios and tier points just keep climbing. Revving up their Avios are buys specifically made with the British Airways Visa Signature® Card on British Airways purchases, which earn 5 Avios per $1 spent on purchases with British Airways, Aer Lingus, Iberia, and LEVEL within the first 12 months from account opening, and thereafter earns 3 Avios. Travelers also earn 3 Avios per $1 spent on hotel accommodations when purchased directly with the hotel within the first 12 months from account opening, and thereafter earn 2 Avios; though you’ll have to book directly with the hotel to receive those extra earnings. All other purchases earn 1 Avios per $1. Spending at the hundreds of retailers participating on British Airways’ Gate 365 shopping platform to earn 12 to 20 Avios per $1 spent (purchasing specific brands gets you closer to that 20 mark).
» Learn More: Find the best airline credit card for you
4. Keeping points safe
Expiration dates are common among many airline mileage programs. And, yes, the same still holds true for Avios accounts, which reset to zero if there’s no activity, be it through credit card usage, program-related travel, purchasing Avios, etc., at least once every 36 months.
But there are two other Executive Club policies that help members hold onto their hard-earned points. One allows new Executive Club members to claim Avios and tier points from British Airways flights flown in the three months prior to enrollment.
And the other is good news for Gold Tier members who’ve achieved 35,000 tier points – Gold Tier status is locked in for their lifetime. The perks for this tier are expansive, ranging from collecting 100% more Avios points when flying British Airways, to First Class lounge privileges.
» Learn more: British Airways Avios: A Worldly Way to Fly American
5. Pooling options
A plus right off the bat of Executive Club memberships are Household Accounts. Through these, up to seven people living at the same address can pool their Avios.
Free to set up and use, Household Accounts are structured with a “Head of Household” serving as the primary member. Executive Club members can have both individual accounts, as well as a Household Account. If their individual accounts are shy of earning a free flight, they can draw from the Household Account. Though Avios can’t be used by anyone under 18, points earned by children can add to the cumulative Household Account.
Another great program feature available to members with Household Accounts is the ability to share mileage with up to five people not living in the same household through a Friends and Family list.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:
Airline miles and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card
Flat-rate rewards with no annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Premium travel rewards: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice: British Airways card sweetens bonus: Up to 100K for limited time British Airways announces top 19 travel destinations for 2019 British Airways adds 50,000 first-class seats for frequent flyers