British Airways Gold is the top standard tier of the Executive Club loyalty program and as one might expect, it comes with some perks that make travel a lot better. There’s the standard stuff like lounge access, fast track security access and early boarding, but there are a few lesser known elite status benefits which I find to be the most useful in my travels. Here’s 5 hacks to make the most of your BA Gold status…
If you’re looking for help on how to earn tier points to reach British Airways Gold status, here’s a great guide with clever ways to stack up tier points faster than ever.
Blocked Seats For Golds
British Airways blocks the seat next to Executive Club Gold travellers wherever possible when they’re in economy. It’s done automatically and generally only won’t happen if the flight is full. It’s a nice thing to know, but it’s how you use it that matters. If you’re traveling with someone who doesn’t have Gold, it’s best for you to take the middle seat, and give your companion the seat the other seat your group would really like.
By doing so, the unwanted seat should remain blocked from anyone else. If however you don’t follow this advice, and put the Gold cardholder on the aisle or window, the seat next to your companion will not be blocked, which means you’ll have a third person in your row. Middle seat for gold is the way.
Double Points To Book Any Flight
You may have heard rumblings that you can use double the points to book any BA flight in any cabin, even if there’s no seats available using points, and that’s totally true. If a ticket is still for sale with cash, you can use double the normal amount of Avios points to book a seat on any BA flight, in any cabin as long as it’s more than 30 days in advance.
While many may grumble about what a waste of points it is, sometimes it’s really not. For example, peak summer in Santorini can cost over £1000 in economy round trip, but just 40,000 points using the double Avios “Gold Priority” rewards. That’s over 2 cents per mile of value, for flights that would be painful to pay for.
Status Freeze For Maternity/Paternity
British Airways was one of the first to launch status freezes, which allow you to take time out of the skies during a pregnancy or newborn. Basically, since you won’t be travelling, you freeze your status as long as you wish, so that you don’t miss out on precious months of the status benefits. In other words, if your status resets in October, you could pause it and enjoy 12 months of it at a later time.
The freeze is surprisingly easy to request, and you’ll just need a birth certificate or doctors note to initiate the process. You can put the status on hold for a year. Don’t request until you’ll definitely be out of the skies, since you don’t want to miss the benefits while you still have them.
Combine Vouchers For Big Wins
British Airways Gold status is achieved at 1,500 tier points, but for those that easily squeak out another 1,000 tier points, a voucher awaits. The Gold Upgrade voucher for two allows you to upgrade a cash or points booking for two people round trip from any cabin to any cabin. When there are fares like £1300 premium economy to Australia, it’s an amazing upgrade to get two people into business class. But the voucher can also be used to upgrade points bookings too!
If you use the British Airways Amex or Chase Visa credit cards, and earn a companion voucher, you can then stack the two together, for a big win. You book your flights using points via the voucher, then you can upgrade the flights to the next cabin using the voucher you get from being Gold. It’s lovely.
Guesting Privileges Everywhere
It’s obvious to some, but to others – it’s a revelation. As a Gold member, you’re allowed to bring a guest with you through the first wing at Heathrow, and into any Oneworld lounge, even those from other airlines like Cathay, Japan Airlines, Qantas and more. Because you’re Oneworld Emerald, you can use first class – not business class – lounges, even if you’re flying in economy. Better yet, you can bring a guest.
This is brilliant if you’re travelling with family, colleagues or friends. You’d be amazed how many people have held Gold status for years without a clue that they could bring someone into the lounges with them. BA is also trialling extra guests during typical family holiday times, so be on the lookout.
I don’t really fly BA but that’s an awesome benefit to block the adjacent seat of the Gold member sitting in economy. I like your suggestion for the Gold member to pick the middle seat as it works out 100% of the time unless the flight is full.
I’ve been VS gold for several years now and will admit I don’t know all the ‘hacks’ of that program so am sure there must be BA golds out there who don’t know all the tips you suggested on this post.
Thank you for the interesting article!
I don’t understand something tho- if the seating is 3x3x3 or something like that, wouldn’t it be the same if the Gold person took aisle and the other person took window, e.g. the middle seat would remain empty due to the gold person’s status? Will it only work if it’s the Gold person in the middle?
Re the vouchers, when you get 1k on United you get several GPU (global premier upgrades) that you can use for anyone, but only once per GPU, like 6 GPU, six upgrades. For the “voucher” upgrade, it only works once, but for two people on the same reservation? Is there anyway to get more than one? I guess when you fly internationally for work, it is nice to have several upgrades available a year. The one voucher thing for two people, is only really good for leisure travel, or I suppose if you really like your work colleague! It is interesting they don’t have something for business oriented folks.
I guess technically you’re right, but some people don’t like to risk being split up if the flight is full, so Gold taking the middle makes it a bit of a chess move against that.
Re the vouchers, exactly right. It’s one voucher for two people for a round trip. You can earn another one every 1,000 tier points I believe, or certainly if you hit Gold Guest List at 5,000 Tier Points. It’s totally fine to use it just for you, and not take a second person, but it’s nice if you do have a leisure trip. I kind of like that your theoretical work travel could bolster a leisure trip, but it’s definitely a more limiting format than the SWU’s, GPU’s etc used by US airlines.
For all the US based readers with BA Gold or any OW Emerald, it is also a very nice feature to use Flagship First Check-in and to get access to the Flagship lounges of AA, even when flying AA Basic Economy. One time, I had a tight connection at ORD on two different PNRs and airlines and the Flagship First Check-in saved the day because it brought me to the front of the priority security lane and I breezed through it in under 2 minutes.
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