One of the funniest weekly, or daily, conversations I tend to have regards travel elite status benefits. People tell me they’re pushing for X,Y, or Z elite status because it will unlock a benefit which sounds amazing. They then ask me if it’s worth either the added time, money or combination of the two to reach said status and benefit. My reply is always the same: will you actually use it?
Lounge access is a pointless benefit if you always fly business class. Upgrades are a pointless benefit if you always book suites. Free baggage allowances are pointless if you never check bags. You get the point.
There’s one British Airways Gold Executive Club benefit which wasn’t a factor in my loyalty when acquiring the status many years ago, but it’s become a benefit I now covet dearly, especially as my inflexibility grows. It’s the gold priority reward.
A Gold Priority Reward Is…
A Gold Priority Rewards is a status benefit for British Airways Gold Executive Club members which allows you to “force” availability on a British Airways flight. Basically, if there are seats for sale with cash, but not with points, you can force them to open up a seat on that flight so you can cash in your points, rather than your cash. There’s two catches: you’ll pay double the points for the privilege, and you’ll need to request it at least 30 days in advance.
Frankly, quite a few Gold members have no clue it exists. If you’re Avios Points rich, or enjoy taking advantage of the frequent points sales, it’s a diamond in the rough.
To request a Gold Priority Reward with British Airways, you simply phone up the airline on the number at the back of your card and state your intent to do so. As long as there’s a cash fare left for sale in a common fare bucket, you’ll be able to apply double the standard Avios and acquire the seat!
Why I’ve Grown To Love It
2019 is a banner year in many respects on a personal and worldwide level. One example: flights for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will go on sale this summer. For football fans in the UK, two teams are set to compete in Madrid for the Champions League title. These are dates which are fixed, which feature insane demand. When there’s insane demand, there’s rarely flights available using points.
Using the Gold Priority Reward benefit, I can guarantee myself tickets to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in any cabin, direct from London to Tokyo if I’m willing to cash in double the points. Considering demand and likely cash prices – I’d say that’s an absolute steal. And yes, I’m dying to go.
There are countless other examples where I, or people I love need to get somewhere and have no flexibility. They don’t want to play the multi connection game, they don’t want to pay cash and they have limited time. This benefit allows me to make that happen and get people moving, regardless of what the reward space gods decide to make happen.
Is this correct? I thought it was in economy only, not any cabin? It is a benefit I’ve used a few times but then got last minute availability so cancelled and used standard Avios.
‘I can guarantee myself tickets to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in any cabin, direct from London to Tokyo if I’m willing to cash in double the points.’
It’s correct. A friend used it to book me to Vegas in F with him last year.
This article assumes…
BA answer the phone (their systems regularly say they are “exceptionally busy” and hang up)
BA operator agrees to help you rather than berating you for calling the wrong number (the number on the back of your card)
I suppose some may value this benefit but BA is not alone in offering any seat awards at twice the normal redemption level. But is it worth it on the example you anticipate using it for? Would not a purchased ticket not be more cost effective? It is unlikely you’d be paying much more than normal published fare for this route, prices only being jacked up as inventory shrinks. And given BA’s usurious fees on award tickets, an economy return using Avios would have a cash component about equal to the cost of a revenue ticket in Y. And factoring in the presumed value of the Avios miles used at say 2p per miles, one is looking at 400K Avios=£8K. This is twice the cost of a revenue J ticket or £3K more than a revenue F ticket.
I suppose the relative value of those Avios miles is variable if one earns hundreds of thousands a year, but seems like false economy…and BA still wins in the end.
What about work harder to GGL and force the jokers instead…. haha
If I wasn’t constantly sampling other airlines for work I would.
Never mind what elite status you are, or which end of the plane you travel, if you are stuck next to a screaming child for 11 hours on a long haul flight, you are not going to have an enjoyable experience.
Like most travellers I have suffered from this, so I wrote to BA to suggest that they trialled adults-only flights on a few routes where they fly five or six times a day, such as New York or Los Angeles, and have one or two flights a week that would exclude children.
This would give clients who had some flexibility on travel dates the assurance they would not be parked near a yelling baby for the duration of the flight. I pointed out that adults-only hotels and cruises already existed, so the concept was hardly new.
Needless to say, the response from BA was entirely negative.
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