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High BA Tier Points earning Business Class Europe routes

The low potential cost to earn British Airways Executive Club kind of explains to me why those BA lounges in London Heathrow are always so crowded.

Each day this week I have learned a little more about how to minimize the cost of reaching mid and high tier Executive Club elite with more insight to high BA Tier Points earning, low cost Business Class routes.

Now that American Airlines has gone revenue-based, my 2017 plan is to use my AAdvantage Platinum status for international lounge access while accruing Tier Points on Oneworld flights for BA Executive Club status. My analysis shows there is potential to reach BA Executive Club Silver elite with 600 Tier Points for under $1,000, an equivalent status to AAdvantage 50,000 EQM / $6,000 EQD. More realistic is spending around $2,000 to reach Silver and about $4,000 in airfare to reach Executive Club Gold at 1,500 Tier Points. These price points are similar to what I have planned for frequent flyer elite status over the past 17 years.

British Airways Executive Club Elite Levels and Qualifying Tier Points

  • Blue – entry level membership
  • Bronze = 300 Tier Points during membership year + 2 BA operated and marketed flights.
  • Silver = 600 Tier Points during membership year + 4 BA operated and marketed flights.
  • Gold = 1,500 Tier Points during membership year + 4 BA operated and marketed flights.

BA Elite Tiers graphic

A post on Economy Class & Beyond yesterday opened my eyes to specific European airport routes where Tier Points earnings are maximized for relatively short distances. I spent an hour or two playing with the BA Flight Calculator to analyze tier points for different routes and Oneworld Alliance airlines. This post shares some of my findings for different places around Europe and additional posts will share more examples of low cost Business Class routes I found across the globe.


Most BA flights in Europe originate or route through London. I will fly London to Vienna next week on British Airways in deep discount economy O class. That flight segment earns 5 Tier Points. At that earning rate I would need 120 flight segments to reach Silver elite at 600 Tier Points.


Fortunately there are better ways to earn Tier Points without maxing out credit card limits or spending hundreds of hours flying.

Kevin on Economy Class & Beyond describes his Tier Points run from London to Tallinn, Estonia via Helsinki, Finland in Business Class.

British Airways Business Class I / Economy Class Y ticket for Finnair operated codeshare flights.

$293.84 USD (232.00 GBP) round trip   Fri Jan 13 – Sun Jan 15

LHR-TLL $294 BA-I Jan13-15

Finnair London to Helsinki flights are A-350 aircraft.

BA Tier Points LHR-HEL

Helsinki, 1,151 miles from London Heathrow, is one of the cities in Europe earning 80 Tier Points each way in Business I Class.

Helsinki to Tallinn is a short 63-mile flight on a turbo prop plane, but books in Economy Y class and earns 20 Tier Points each way.

This easy $294 round trip business class ticket flying Finnair earns a staggering 200 Tier Points and provides a significant boost to someone striving for Executive Club elite status. A weekend in Estonia flying Finnair Business Class to earn 200 Tier Points sounds a whole lot more enjoyable than earning 5 Tier Points a flight with 40 deep discount flight segments around Europe or earning 40 Tier Points flying San Francisco to Helsinki round trip on Finnair in deep discount economy O class.

BA Tier Points SFO-HEL AY

Other cities in Europe earning 80 Tier Points each way in Business Class.

Here are some European airport destinations from London to earn 80 Tier Points each way for a Business Class flight.

  • Helsinki, Finland HEL
  • Tallinn, Estonia TLL (BA offers nonstop flights in 2017)
  • Tenerife, Spain (Canary Islands) TFN
  • Athens, Greece ATH
  • Thessaloniki, Greece SKG
  • Bucharest, Romania OTP
  • Sofia, Bulgaria SOF
  • Malta MLA

Many of these routes are priced between $500 and $600 for BA Business Class. The main point is these are high tier point earning routes in Europe and destinations to keep a watch for Business Class fare drops like the low sub-$300 London to Tallinn deal with Finnair.

When it comes to high earning low cost Business Class routes, Bangkok is a destination that stands out for its opportunities to earn cheap Executive Club Tier Points and fast track to elite status. More on those opportunities in a follow-up post.