The British Airways Executive Club (BAEC) ultimate guide will allow you to know the frequent flyer program in depth.
Although it’s a UK-based program, the Club has a significant importance in Canada and the United States for travelers and travel hackers thanks to the airline’s presence and the credit cards it is associated with.
Sign-up to the British Airways Executive Club
Joining the program can be done online on ba.com.
It’s free and anyone can join. A member’s child can join via the household account at birth. Two detailed step-by-step guides explain in detail how to sign-up to British Airways Executive Club and how to use the household account.
Members can add their passport details and travel preferences, for future paid and reward bookings, such as seat & meal selection.
Starting at the age of 2, children can have their own Executive Club (EC) account. See how parents can create their child’s EC account in this post.
Also, it’s important to note that the airline has one of the most generous family policy in the business. Refer to the dedicated Family Travel section. It contains a lot of details on family travel and the many benefits infants and children enjoy.
Avios & Tier Points
They are called Avios points and not Avios miles. They are BAEC’s currency. They can be earned when flying British Airways, oneworld airlines and other partners airlines and non-airlines partners (hotels, car rentals, credit cards).
We will look in detail how to earn Avios on flights and more. Also, Avios do not expire as long as the account is active with at least one activity in 36 months.
Tier points are the ones that allow members to move along the status elite scale. Obviously, the more tier points are earned the closer members get to the next elite status tier which comes with travel benefits. However, they reset at every anniversary.
All British Airways and most oneworld partner flights will earn Tier points but there are exceptions with other partners such as Aer Lingus.
As an example, see below how BAEC Avios & Tiers points are earned on Qatar Airways flights. They are featured in 2 distinct columns.
Lifetime tier points
Lifetime Tier Points add-up as members earn Tier Points over the years. Although Tier Points reset to zero every anniversary, Lifetime Tier Points do not. They keep going up and can be tracked on the BAEC account online and on the app.
Membership Tiers & Benefits
The British Airways Executive Club has 4 membership elite status tiers. They are Blue, Bronze, Silver and Gold.
It’s the entry level. Blue membership get the basic benefits of the program:
- Earn Avios & Tier Points
- Save travel details & preferences online
- Receive exclusive offers, such as double points on flights
There’s another benefit BAEC does not mention. Even with basic Blue membership level, when booking a trip with a child under the age of 2 on ba.com, British Airways allows free seat selection, particularly access to the front row seats with baby carrycot.
British Airways has one of the most generous family policy in the airline business.
Bronze level is attained by earning 300 Tier points and 2 eligible flights. Which means, the 2 BA flights obligation must be met in order to be eligible to the tier. Also, it’s important to note that Bronze is equivalent to oneworld Ruby.
On top of the Blue level benefits, Bronze members get:
- Priority check in at British Airways & oneworld Business Class desks
- Priority boarding
- Free seat selection 7 days before flight date. It includes passengers that are under the same PNR (or booking number)
- 25% bonus Avios on BA flights and a limited number of oneworld partners: American Airlines (AA), Iberia (IB) and Japan Airlines (JL)
By attaining 600 Tier Points and 4 eligible flights, Silver members, or oneworld Sapphire, get the following benefits on top of Bronze:
- 50% bonus Avios on BA flights and oneworld partners American Airlines (AA), Iberia (IB) and Japan Airlines (JL)
- Lounge access to BA and oneworld Business Class lounges. Access is available whatever the class of travel and allows one additional guest.
- Extra weight allowance of 32kg per baggage
- Silver members can put their status on hold while on maternity, paternity or adoption leave. Requests are to be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Members attain Gold with 1,500 Tier Points and a minimum of 4 flights. It’s oneworld equivalent is Emerald. The benefits are:
- Check in at First class desks and priority boarding
- Free seat selection
- BA First, arrival lounge access and oneworld’s with certain rules and limitations
- Access to Elemis SPA at LHR Terminal 5A, 5B, Terminal 3 and JFK Terminal 7
- 100% bonus Avios
- Delivery of Avis rental car to LHR arrivals hall in Terminal 5
Member who reach 35,000 Lifetime Tier Points will get a lifetime Gold membership.
British Airways Executive Club Household Accounts allow members from the same household to consolidate their Avios balances under one roof.
Earning Avios & Tier Points
Earn Avios with British Airways (BA)
Flying British Airways & its subsidiaries is the first way to earn Avios that comes to mind. You will also collect Tier Points. What are Tier Points? They are your ladder to the Club benefits in the shape of status tiers, they reset back to zero every year. All of BA’s booking class fares will earn you Avios and Tier Points as listed in the table below:
British Airways flies to the 4 major Canadian airports: Vancouver (YVR), Calgary (YYC), Toronto (YYZ) and Montreal (YUL). Thanks to its interline agreements with WestJet and Air Canada, Canadians from other cities can access the BA network without having to worry about boarding pass issuance, checked luggage and connection times.
I wrote a piece about why BA’s Executive Club (BAEC) makes a lot of sense for Canadian households: many benefits and efficiencies.
In Europe, BA CityFlyer‘s UK domestic and European destinations operated under British Airways and will earn you Avios. It’s 2 hubs are London City (LCY) Airport and Edinburgh Airport (EDI).
In South Africa, members earn Avios with BA’s franchise Comair that covers the southern tip of the continent. These domestic & southern African flights can be booked on the regular BA site.
Earn Avios with oneworld
British Airways is a member of the oneworld alliance. That means BAEC’s members can earn Avios & Tier Points on all oneworld partner flights and their subsidiaries. oneworld members are:
American Airlines (+ American Eagle)
British Airways (+ BA CityFlyer, Comair, SunAir)
Finnair (+ NordicRegional Airlines)
Iberia (+ Iberia Express, Iberia Regional- Air Nostrum)
Japan Airlines (Hokkaido Air System, J-AIR, Japan Transocean Air, Japan Air Commuter)
Qantas (+ QantasLink, Jetconnect)
Royal Air Maroc (+ Royal Maroc Express)
S7 Airlines (+ Globus Airlines)
Other partner airlines
Earn Avios with Air Italy & Aer Lingus
BAEC members can collect Avios on Air Italy and Aer Lingus flights. Earning is calculated based on a percentage of flown miles. However, no Tier points or Avios tier bonus are awarded with both carriers.
Both airlines fly Toronto (YYZ). Aer Lingus was to add Montreal (YUL) however due to Airbus delivery delays, the Irish carrier had pushed the service, probably not before 2022.
Earn Avios with Alaska Airlines
If you’re flying Alaska Airlines, you can earn British Airways Avios. Make sure you check out as a guest and choose British Airways and enter your member number as shown below.
Hotels & Accomodation
For those who are not into earning hotel points, EC Avios points can be earned with the major hotel brands, including Airbnb.
Most AccorHotels brands will earn 2 Avios for every €2 spent. When you join AccorHotels ALL loyalty program, select automatic conversions of hotel points to airlines miles. Enter your British Airways number and you’re set.
Get a 500 Avios bonus on your first stay with Airbnb. Also, earn 3 Avios per £1/€1/$1 spent.
You can also earn 8,000 Avios when you host for the first time in some locations.
Agoda.com can earn you 10,000 Avios per night. The dedicated link will allow you to add your British Airways member number at checkout.
Best Western Hotels & Resorts
Earn 500 Avios on every booking done on bestwestern.com. If you are a Best Western Rewards member, you can convert 5000 Best Western Rewards points and get 1,000 Avios.
Make sure you add your British Airways Club membership number in your Best Western Rewards profile.
With a dedicated link, members can earn 6 Avios per £1 spent (C$1.67)
These are some examples, to know more about earning Avios with hotels brands please refer to BA’s page.
And the list goes on with all other major hotel brands. You can refer to your preferred hotel chains here.
British Airways main car rental partner is Avis.
You will earn 5 Avios per £1 spent, with a maximum of 10,000 Avios per rental. But there are two other very interesting benefits:
- Additional free driver with every rental worldwide.
- Get 1,000 Avios points when you sign up to Avis Preferred program via this dedicated link.
Many North Americans visit London more than once either on a layover or for vacations in the UK. The Heathrow Express is the fastest way to reach central London. The train is very convenient, it’s a quick 15-minute ride to Paddington! The trains are comfortable, spacious with luggage racks and AC.
BAEC members ean 5 Avios for every £1 spent on ticket(s). You can book to earn Avios points via this Heathrow Express link.
Canadian credit cards
Canadian BAEC members can earn Avios points thanks to the following credit cards:
- RBC British Airways Visa card which allows to earn a significant bonus of 50,000 based on a minimum send requirement. But it also offers 10% off British Airways flights from Canada. You can refer to the credit card review for more details. Learn about the companion ticket as well.
- The RBC Avion cards which include: the RBC Avion Visa Platinum, RBC Avion Visa Infinite & RBC Avion Visa Infinite Privilege. They offer more modest welcome bonus points but members can wait and get the Avion Infinite with a 25,000 bonus and year 1 fee waived.
- The American Express Gold & Platinum cards allow cardholders to transfer their Member Rewards points to BAEC Avios. In the past, Amex will offer now and then bonus transfers.
British Airways Avios points can be redeemed on the airline and its partners we mentionned in the earning section.
How do you book a flight using Avios
Go on britishairways.com and log in to your Executive Club account. The log in link is located in the top right hand side of the main page.
Under the Book main link, slide and click on the Book with Avios link and you are ready to book.
Input your itinerary and date. I chose to feature Vancouver-Tokyo, here are the results:
An economy class one way ticket from Vancouver (YVR) to Tokyo (NRT) costs 25,750 Avios + $50.91 in fees. The same flight in business class costs 77,250 Avios.
As you can see flying Japan Airlines is a great option for 2 major reasons:
- Hopping on a direct non-stop flight with Japan Airlines, one of the best airlines when it comes to service standards;
- Avoid flying British Airways on a 22h20 journey – doubling your travel time – and incure a whopping $545.86 in fees! This is a no-brainer.
Avios European reward flights
This is one of Avios sweet spots. Despite its high fees on international flights, BA offers the best European reward flight option.
On the one hand, it applies low fees on its European network with lots of frequencies.
On the other hand, you get to choose to burn less Avios and pay a higher fee. Here is the example of a London Heathrow to Lyon flight (one-way) in economy:
The flight costs 11,000 Avios + $1.
The carrier offers to use less Avios at check-out:
It makes sense go for option 2, 3, or 4, and save Avios for the return leg. At $31 per way it’s still cheaper than your taxi ride to the airport.
Iberia is a oneworld partner. You can book some great European flights. If you’re in Madrid and want to fly to Lisbon it’ll cost 4,500 Avios + $29.72.
Flying witin Russia can be a lot faster with Avios as well. S7 Airlines is a oneworld member and has a significant domestic network. See how inexpensive it is to travel between St-Petersburg and Moscow.
Avios Asia-Pacific reward flights
British Airways has a few oneworld Asian partners:
- Cathay Pacific
- Japan Airlines
- Malaysian Airlines
- Sri Lankan
- Qatar Airways
I wrote a short article about inter-Asian travel. Here are other nice rewards flights to grab:
Be careful, Sri Lanka’s departure tax is huge! It’s a crazy $151.52 in government and airport authority charges. So avoid using Avios to fly out of Colombo, Sri Lanka. However that feee does not apply if you fly into Colombo.
Avios allow members to visit Japan from North to South. With Japan Airlines extensive network, including regional carriers, you can fly almost anywhere in Japan from snowy Hokkaido to tropical islands. I wrote a review about it. You may have to call BAEC to book some regional flights with JAL’s regional carriers Hokkaido Air System, J-AIR, Japan Transocean Air and Japan Air Commuter.
Avios intercontinental reward flights
Boarding long haul flights for a fraction of the price is a great feeling. Like any reward program, BAEC is not perfect. However it does have some great rewards and sweet spots. Here are a few across different carriers.
Dallas to Tokyo Haneda costs 31,000 Avios + $7.07 with American Airlines, or 31,000 Avios + $49.91 in economy class with Japan Airlines.
Tokyo Narita to Doha at only 25,750 Avios + $52.30! With Qatar Airways brand new A350 jet. A very spacious economy class cabin. Or you can spoil yourself at go for Business class at 77250 Avios + $ 52.30.
Hong Kong to Zurich with Cathay Pacific is another sweet deal. This 12h25 long one-way flight is only at 31,000 Avios + $ 53.75 in economy class, 62,000 in premium economy or 92,750 Avios in business class & $57.01.
The British Airways Executive Club is big player in the frequent flyer world. It does have some sweet spots in both economy class but also to experience some of the best premium flights.
Earning Avios points is relatively easy in Canada thanks to the leverage of a number of credit cards. I will keep updating this guide as the program is set to change.