LAX $988, Chicago $814 Business Class to San Juan Puerto Rico BA Tier Points sweet spot

Similar to when I initially started focusing on deep discount economy fares around the world, I have spent this week analyzing Oneworld Alliance Business Class fares for the purpose of establishing base line ticket prices specifically for good value earn rates of British Airways Executive Club elite Tier Points.

In the old AAdvantage frequent flyer program I used 4 cents per EQM as my baseline spend for elite status. That meant $2,000 in airline tickets to earn AAdvantage Platinum 50,000 EQM. In 2017, there is a $6,000 EQD spend component to AAdvantage elite. Once you exclude taxes you may be looking at $7,000 or more in spend to reach AAdvantage Platinum elite.

In contrast, British Airways Executive Club requires 600 Tier Points in a membership year, based on enrollment date. You also need to fly 4 British Airways operated and marketed flight segments, meaning at least one trip to Europe. A 4-segment BA economy class ticket for under $200 is not hard to find in Europe.

The nice feature of BA Executive Club is the ability to earn BA Tier Points easily with American Airlines USA Business Class flights.

British Airways Executive Club Tier Points for Elite Status

British Airways Tier Points earned in the Americas on American Airlines Business Class flights rise from 40 points per flight segment to 140 points per flight segment when the distance is over 2,000 flight miles. In the USA, this means cross country nonstop AA Business Class flight segments from LAX, SFO, PDX, SEA in the west to BOS, NYC, PHL, WAS, CLT, MCO and MIA in the east earn 140 Tier Points.

The outer reaches of the USA with nonstop AA flights include Hawaii from the west coast, Anchorage from LAX, and San Juan, Puerto Rico from Chicago as some other AA routes over 2,000 miles.

I showed yesterday New York JFK – LAX – Honolulu round trip ticket for $1,886 in AA Business Class earns 560 Tier Points on a single ticket. One ticket earns 93% of Tier Points needed for mid-tier BA Executive Club Silver elite at 600 Tier Points. Pick up the other 40 points flying 4 BA segments in Europe and you have Executive Platinum Silver for a little over $2,000. That is 50% of the airline ticket spend I used as my former baseline for AAdvantage 50,000 EQM Platinum.

Loyalty Traveler – Maximizing BA Tier Points on AA USA domestic flights.

San Juan, Puerto Rico is a BA Tier Points ‘sweet spot’ from Los Angeles and Chicago with both tickets relatively low cost Business Class with flight segments at 2,000+ miles for maximum BA Tier Points. $814 Chicago to San Juan and $986 LAX to San Juan may or may not be low fares for these routes. As I said at the beginning, this post establishes a Loyalty Traveler baseline fare. The main idea is be aware that these routes have high potential elite status earning in Executive Club. And keep an eye out for fare drops.

American Airlines   Chicago ORD – San Juan, Puerto Rico SJU nonstop flights earn 280 BA Tier Points

$813.80 round trip AA Business I Class   Thu Feb 2 – Wed Feb 8

ORD-SJU $814 AA-I Feb2-8

ORD-SJU = 2,072 flight miles.

You must be sure to find nonstop flights to squeeze over 2,000 miles per flight segment ORD-SJU and earn 140 Tier Points in BA Executive Club each way for 280 Tier Points. If you connect via Miami for ORD-MIA-SJU each way, for the same $814 ticket price, your round trip itinerary earns only 40 Tier Points per segment for 160 Tier Points.

BA Avios and Tier Points Flight Calculator

BA Tier Points ORD-SJU

$814/280 Tier Points = $2.91/Tier Point. At this rate you will spend around $2,000 to earn BA Executive Club Silver at 600 Tier Points (+ 4 BA flight segments).


American Airlines   Los Angeles LAX – Charlotte CLT – San Juan, Puerto Rico SJU – Miami MIA – Charlotte CLT – LAX earns 400 Tier Points,

$987.30 round trip   AA Business I Class    Sat Feb 11 – Fri Feb 17

LAX-SJU $986 AA-I Feb11-17

LAX to Charlotte CLT 2,125 flight miles and LAX – Miami MIA 2,342 flight miles earn 140 Tier Points per flight segment. San Juan, Puerto Rico is 1,045 miles from Miami and 1,475 from Charlotte. Those flight segments earn 40 Tier Points. Miami – Charlotte at 650 flight miles also earns 40 Tier Points. This $988 ticket earns 400 tier points.

$987.30/400 = $2.47 per Tier Point. The price of earning BA Executive Club Silver elite at 600 Tier Points is down to $1,500 at this rate.

A discount British Airways flight to Europe will put you over 600 Tier Points. Those are frequently available for under $500 round trip. Or jump on the next BA Business Class sale when tickets to Europe drop to around $1,500 or less with a $400 AARP discount for flights starting in the USA.


About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined in 2008.

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  1. Great finds Ric

    The good ole Flyer Talk Premium runs from LAX to Panama and Quito for $850 earn even more and are still available, too!

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