British Airways to Offer Full Mileage Earning on Discount Fares, Increased Elite Tier Earning on Discount Fares, and Increased Silver Elite Bonuses

Yesterday I wrote about the American Airlines side of mileage changes with the American-British Airways-Iberia joint business venture.

The changes to British Airways Executive Club are as expected:

British Airways Executive Club members can now earn and redeem miles and earn Tier Points on all American Airlines flights.

But here’s the kicker. In lining up more with American Airlines mileage earning,

(1) Elite mileage earning increases for BA Silvers. They’ll earn a 100% bonus instead of a 25% bonus. BA Silver is considered the equivalent of American Airlines Platinum, and so they’ve upped the mileage bonuses to match American’s offering.

(2) Flying discount coach now earns full redeemable miles, whereas it used to earn as little as 25%.

(3) Flying discount coach also earns 50% elite tier points, up from 25%.

This is a huge move, because full mileage earning on discount fares is a largely North American phenomenon. To see it spread to a major European program is a watershed, and certainly puts pressure on other European programs (like Air France-KLM Flying Blue). Hopefully we’ll see a competitive response and broader acceptance of the principle of earning a full mile for each mile flown.

It also suggests that American isn’t going to go in the BA/European direction of offering less than 1 mile earned per mile flown, and thus serves as a bulwark against such a move by other American carriers… Delta, for instance, tried this in the past and backed off, and relaxes any concern that such a notion might return in another major program on this side of the pond.

Of course, the redemption benefits for BA members aren’t as big news as those for American flyers. While BA members can now redeem on American flights between London and the US, there are far fewer of those than what American flyers now have increased access to.

The possible benefit is if BA continues not to charge fuel surcharges on American Airlines redemptions. They haven’t in the past and I haven’t yet tested whether this is still the case, but it’s an option for BA flyers to save money on their transatlantic redemptions if it remains the case… though and I realize I’ll be unpopular here, but the BA business class product is so much better than the American one (since the former is true lie-flat) that I’d likely take the BA seat and pay the fuel surcharge…

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »



  1. So lying flat for what amounts to 4-5 hours of sleep is worth paying $300-$400 more than sleeping just as well on a little bit of an angle on another airline? I guess I value my money differently than you do. I like your blog, but I think you’re getting increasingly more into the kind of travel that most travelers are not interested in. I like nice seats and planes as much as the next guy, but my priorities are getting my family from point A to point B as comfortable and cheaply as possible, not paying over $300 for my head to be a little bit lower than with a different option that costs nothing.

  2. Missing a point here, Gary. It’s not that just US-UK flights on AA are now available to EC members – all US-Europe flights on AA were verboten for EC earning redemption. So, in particular for Eurocheats, it means no more needing to connect through the UK or Spain when travelling between the continent and AA’s hubs.

  3. hi,

    as always it depends.
    if you were flying london-new york, a 7-8 hour flight, it might be smart to save on the 300usd.

    but if you were flying lhr-LAX, 12hours (dont know if this flight exist on ba, i would pay 300usd to be able to sleep on a fullflat.

    for your family, i can understand that you dont want to pay another 1200 usd if you have 4 people flying.
    everybody has its own needs and opinions, so maybe we just keep it that way.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *