British Airways Lifetime Gold is the next best thing to Qantas Lifetime Platinum

By Chris Chamberlin, August 26 2016

While the Qantas Frequent Flyer program has shied away from offering Lifetime Platinum status, there’s still a way to lock-in lifelong access to top-grade benefits such as priority boarding and even the luxe Qantas First Class lounges.

That shiny solution is to chase Lifetime Gold status in British Airways’ Executive Club scheme.

Although Qantas has aligned with Emirates on flights into Europe, the Red Roo also remains partners with British Airways through their common membership in the Oneworld airline alliance.

BAEC Gold status sits in line with Oneworld's Emerald tier, which also equates to Qantas Platinum... meaning that Lifetime Gold with British Airways packs all the core travel perks of Lifetime Platinum with Qantas.

Earning Lifetime Gold in BA Executive Club

What Qantas calls status credits are known in British Airways' parlance as tier points, and they work the same way.

You can earn tier points on flights with BA and Oneworld partners (including Qantas). These not only go towards your annual BAEC status tier, such as Silver and Gold, but slowly contribute to your lifetime tally.

Naturally you'll earn the most BAEC frequent flyer points (which BA calls Avios) on British Airways flights, although you can also clock them up when travelling with Qantas and other Oneworld partners such as American Airlines and Cathay Pacific.

The magic number is 35,000 tier points over the course of your BAEC membership, as this delivers Qantas Platinum-grade status for life as a lifetime Gold member of British Airways' Executive Club.

Business class on the Qantas Airbus A380
Business class on the Qantas Airbus A380

How many tier points you’ll earn depends on both the fare you’ve paid and how far you’re flying. As a rule, you’ll earn more in first class and business class than on cheap economy tickets.

As an example, a return voyage from Sydney to London in business class with either Qantas or BA reels in 480 tier points, while a round-trip business class sojourn to Hong Kong with Qantas or Cathay Pacific nets a respectable 280 tier points.

Chasing Lifetime Gold status

Seventy-eight return business class trips to London will get you that much-awaited Lifetime Oneworld Emerald card, and that’s assuming you don’t travel anywhere else.

That’s basically eight trips each year for 10 years, which isn’t out of reach for some – and when you combine other domestic and international travel, the wait is even less.

Mixing in domestic connections from Melbourne or Brisbane to Sydney at the start and end of those journeys reduces the climb to 63 return trips: shedding two years off your wait for a lifetime of Platinum-grade luxury.

Why not add a domestic business class connection for extra tier points?
Why not add a domestic business class connection for extra tier points?

At the pointiest of pointy ends, first class travel could get you there in 49 return trips, so with eight annual jaunts to London, you’ll reach the top in a little over six years.

We should point out that Lifetime Platinum (Oneworld Emerald) can also be achieved through the Finnair Plus program, but you’d need to fly to London in business class every single month for 15 years to get there – making Executive Club the smarter choice for serious road warriors.

Earning Executive Club status each year

Until you’re king or queen of the frequent flyer castle, you can enjoy perks similar to both Qantas Gold and Qantas Platinum year-on-year through Executive Club, as you would under the Red Roo’s own program.

BA Silver – Oneworld Sapphire and equal to Qantas Gold – can be had after earning 600 tier points in a year, while BA Gold – Oneworld Emerald, matching to Qantas Platinum – comes after 1,500 tier points.

Similar to Qantas’ own program, you’ll also need to fly BA at least four times per annum to unlock that status, but that’s quite an easy task for Aussies…

'Club World' business class on British Airways
'Club World' business class on British Airways

Along with sending its own aircraft between Sydney and Singapore, British Airways also codeshares on Qantas’ Singapore flights from other ports, and with both Qantas and Cathay Pacific to Hong Kong.

Codeshares count as a ‘BA flight’ under Executive Club, so you’re all set.

A quick tier points booster

At the time of writing, British Airways' sole Australian route is Sydney to London via Singapore, which offers a handy trick to boost your tier points balance.

Tier points are calculated based on the distance of each BA flight (and of course your travel class) – but if you fly all the way from Sydney to London on BA16 you'll earn just a single serve of 240 tier points in business class.

However, British Airways also has a dedicated Singapore-London flight in BA12: and changing flights at Singapore means your TP haul will be calculated across both individual flights, which comes out at a higher 300 tier points (140 tier points for Sydney-Singapore on BA16, plus a further 160 tier points for Singapore-London on BA12).

The same applies to the return leg from London: just fly out of Heathrow on BA11 and then at Singapore change to BA15.

Based on a return business class fare, this 'Singapore split' will see you earn 600 tier points instead of 480 tier points.

There's ample of time at Singapore airport to make the change between flights: it just means an extra few hours in either the British Airways or Qantas lounges.

Extra travel benefits with Executive Club

Beyond lifetime status, Executive Club also comes with some pretty neat perks for the well-heeled, starting with a free single-use upgrade voucher for both the member and a companion after earning 2,500 tier points in a single year.

Subject to availability, it’s good for an upgrade for two to the next class available with British Airways, such as from business to first class or from premium economy to business class.

Once reaching 3,500 tier points over 12 months – roughly equivalent to the earning requirements for Qantas Platinum One – a further two single-use, single-passenger upgrade vouchers are dished out.

From 5,000 annual tier points, you’ll pocket a Concorde Room Card. It opens the doors to the airline’s most elite lounges, normally reserved for international first class passengers and BA’s uber-VIP Premier guests (on-par with Qantas’ elite Chairmans Lounge).

The Concorde Room in London Heathrow's Terminal 5
The Concorde Room in London Heathrow's Terminal 5

At these lofty heights, you’ll also be quite popular with your friends and family – one Executive Club Gold (Oneworld Emerald/Qantas Platinum) and two Executive Club Silver (Oneworld Sapphire/Qantas Gold) cards are yours to distribute as you see fit.

That’s also available if you earn at least 3,000 tier miles in two consecutive years – as is Gold Guest List status which comes with additional lounge guesting rights and a free status boost in the Hilton HHonors program – although the Concorde Room Card is exclusively for the Ryan Bingham-esque.

The fine print

The biggest hurdle to membership is that British Airways doesn’t accept Executive Club applications from those with an address in the ‘South West Pacific’: including Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific Islands.

But, if you’re racking up that much travel to London to really make the chase worth your while, chances are you already have a house in The Hamptons or could well feel at home with a U.K. address…

Also, British Airways membership doesn’t churn out any benefits when flying with Emirates, so even if you book your Middle Eastern travels on a QF code, you’ll earn nothing under Executive Club.

There’s one slight exception: when flying on a Qantas aircraft from Australia to London via Dubai, BA Executive Club Gold (Oneworld Emerald) members can access the Emirates business and first class lounges in Dubai – so be sure to book QF1/QF2 from Sydney or QF9/QF10 from Melbourne.

Finally, you won’t build frequent flyer points, tier miles or enjoy lounge access when jet-setting with Fiji Airways or Jetstar, which is where Qantas Frequent Flyer packs a punch.

But really, if making the journey to British Airways’ Lifetime Executive Gold status is within your grasp, you’ll never look back...

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

06 Dec 2012

Total posts 168

" Along with sending its own aircraft between Sydney and Singapore, British Airways also codeshares on Qantas' "  ..................meant to be London?

BA does fly onwards to London, although Singapore was intentional – showing that you don't have to trek far from home, either on a BA aircraft or on a BA codeshare, to earn your four 'BA flights'. :)

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

06 Dec 2012

Total posts 168

My mistake, the way I interpreted the sentence was that BA flies its own aircraft between Sydney and London, as BA is the first point of reference after the intial phrase.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

06 Dec 2012

Total posts 168

*Singapore

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1137

BA does fly its own aircraft between Sydney and London.

Yep, routing as Sydney-Singapore-London. :)

SaltyJ, you can book either the full Sydney-London trek, just the Sydney-Singapore segment or even just the Singapore-London flight... perhaps that's what's a little confusing. :)

10 Sep 2012

Total posts 151

Club World is rubbish, and First is little better.

BA  77W F - 14 seats.

CX 77W  F - 6 seats.

Spot the difference?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1137

Yes. The difference is that CX doesn't deploy its B77W to Sydney. 

10 Sep 2012

Total posts 151

I doubt that the 77Ws to SYD will be the aircraft fitted with F.

 

And I do like how my comment about BA F and CW has had nine thumbs-down.  LOL!  Doesn't change my opinion, though - CW is old, tight, and utter rubbish.  BA F is little better.  I found it ordinary at best, and a good friend who lives in NY and travels to London and back on a fortnightly basis, in F, now takes the AA 77W service instead of BA, because BA F just isn't up to scratch by comparison.

Qantas - QFF Platinum

20 Mar 2012

Total posts 213

The only risk as an Aus resident is that if one day, for some reason, QF leaves Oneworld. 

If that were to happen – and we've heard nothing to suggest that it will – Aussie residents could still enjoy their status perks when flying with BA, Cathay Pacific, JAL, LAN, Malaysia Airlines and Qatar Airways out of Australia, and across the rest of the Oneworld network. :)

QFF

12 Apr 2013

Total posts 1446

80 business flies. It actually quite a few...

Most definitely... it's certainly not for your 'once a year' traveller!

22 Jul 2011

Total posts 98

Nice detailed article. My only concern would be committing to this and things fundamentally change. Who knows if OneWorld will exist in its current guide in 10 years. Or if the OW members stay the same. Or if the benefits change. 

The same could be said of any loyalty program really, including Qantas Frequent Flyer... :)

22 Jul 2011

Total posts 98

It is actually a bit different - spending hundreds and thousands of dollars with one company to get loyalty benefits at another entirely independent company (on the other side of the world) cannot be compared to building loyalty with one company. As for any company, loyalty is only valuable if the company is still kicking. So QFF will survive as long as Qantas does. What that loyalty is worth down the track is another matter entirely.

30 Aug 2013

Total posts 448

This does not earn you Qantas Platinum, it earns you OW Emerald. There is a distinct difference. For example, you will not receive any benefits when flying on JQ like you would with Qantas Platinum as JQ is not a part of Oneworld.

I would suggest correcting the article title.

Hi smit0847,

We've noted that key difference in the first and second paragraphs, and mentioned that the airline partners are slightly different between Qantas and BA in the article (no Emirates, Fiji Airways or Jetstar), and as you've said, BA Lifetime 'Gold' gives you Oneworld Emerald – the same grade as Qantas Platinum.

Although there is a distinct difference between the two, BA Gold comes with the same basic perks as Qantas Platinum (domestic Business Lounge and international First Lounge access, alliance-wide Emerald status, priority check-in/boarding/baggage, etc.), which is what the bulk of executive and business travellers would be most interested in.

Looking at the type of traveller that's likely to rack up enough miles to actually qualify for Lifetime BA Gold/Lifetime Oneworld Emerald – generally senior company employees, executives and the highly wealthy – the perks between both Qantas and BA are essentially the same.

Sure, there's no lounge access before Jetstar flights through the BA program, but that tends to pale into insignificance for someone who's normally always flying in long-haul business or first class.

(And, if it's a big issue, there's nothing stopping a BA member from purchasing a Qantas Club membership and using that for lounge access before Jetstar flights.)

-Chris

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Sep 2013

Total posts 469

The fine print will tell you that the program can change at any time.Morons do not wase youre time.Be true to your self.

So can Qantas Frequent Flyer Robert – just with three months notice. Does that deter you from earning points on your Qantas flights?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Sep 2013

Total posts 469

For two years Sir i do not give an absolute **** about points.Just pay,enjoy an not worry about up grades at airports. 

Robert, I've censored your post and must ask you to keep your language appropriate for this open forum.

If BA Lifetime Gold isn't for you – or indeed, if earning points and receiving upgrades isn't your thing – then there's nothing stopping you from sticking to your current strategy.

However, there are many of us who are already doing things that earn points, such as flying, spending money on credit cards etc., for whom frequent flyer points have a real advantage.

You're definitely a little silly if you spend too much just to earn points (which are likely to be worth less than the premium you paid to earn them), although if you're just doing things you would have done anyway, then points (and status, be it annual or lifetime) are a nice bonus on the side.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Sep 2013

Total posts 469

Chris i agree and will tone it down, my point to my fellow  site trollers is fly coperate as i do from time to time , or pay for what you expect..ABT friends should look  look at at Net  JETS,M Ky Flyer back haul often cheaper than comercial carriers First.I am most suprised t you and David have done not one article on this subuject for booth thr US and Europe. 

Robert,

Many thanks, as it's great to have you around and to hear your thoughts. :)

The only trouble there from our perspective is that if we were going to write about them, we'd want to talk about what they offer – and to do that, they'd need to have us on board for a review.

The difficulty there is that commercial airlines can just assign us a vacant seat on a flight that was already going to take off, whereas to review a private jet flight, they'd have to fly only us, which is considerably more expensive, and a little harder to lock down. :)

(Moving this back on topic – you generally don't earn points or status on private jets, so perhaps the BA setup isn't great for those who always (or mostly) fly private.)

28 Nov 2012

Total posts 91

Thankyou for using the term 'abroad' rather than overseas. Off topic I know yet I love it :)

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 May 2014

Total posts 404

All very interesting, but I would rather get my Lifetime Platinum from Qantas.  Are you listening Qantas ?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Sep 2013

Total posts 469

GregXL,I to are plat and for some years.Just what makes you think Qantas Int operations will still operate in years to come whats more offer any Plat or Gold  lifetime benifits..more so if the FF program is sold off.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 May 2014

Total posts 404

Robert, I live in Perth, so QFi already only serves as a trans-pacific carrier.   Meanwhile BA does not serve Perth at all.   Would life plat be of value ?  Some, but not what it could have been.....

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Sep 2013

Total posts 469

GregXL.I agree while i am in the US and make several plus return flights to Australia it really means nothing, and Brisbane is while not to the extent of Perth still screwed by Qantas as are all outside SYD/Mel.

With CX and MH from Perth, I would say yes. Does QR fly from Perth as well?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Aug 2012

Total posts 71

once you have lifetime gold with QF there is little incentive to keep trying to attain platinum annually especially if you dont fly at that level. So perhaps thats the time to start chasing BA lifetime gold.

I wonder if QANTAS is listening GegXL

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Aug 2014

Total posts 513

Could have added that you can't get any points when shopping at Coles even though no one really relies on that and seems pretty obvious.

Coles isn't a Qantas or BA partner, so it's irrelevant.

If you meant Woolworths, this article is less about points and more so about status, which you don't earn at the supermarket in either case.

Yep, Chris is right. 

Status is the game to play. Points/Avios/Award Miles are just fiat currencies with dubious value. 

Unless you're a serial travel blogger, who spend his/her days flying around in premium cabins procured through award travel to make a point about how lucrative such schemes are (without accounting for the real cost to ones professional career and lifestyle), then for the great many points/avios/award miles represent poor value.

The earning of Tier Points (TP) is actually more nuanced than it has been suggested. BA, unlike Qantas, does not discriminate its BAEC members earning TP, when flying other Oneworld carriers.

"Naturally you'll earn the most BAEC tier points (and frequent flyer points, which BA calls Avios) on British Airways flights..."

You do not earn the most TP flying BA. You earn the same Tier Points flying BA as you would other Oneworld carriers, with the exception of one small category, which I will explain below.

BA discriminates only for the earning of Avios. However only Tier Points are considered for the purposes of Lifetime Gold. Hence it's a moot point.

For example for SYD/SIN in Business:

  • BA (all inventory): 140 TP
  • QF (all inventory): 140 TP

For TP accrual purposes, it makes no difference if you fly BA or QF. The same cannot be said for QF - go check it out yourself if you find it extraordinary.

Caveat:

As alluded to before, there is a small exception for Economy class.

For example for SYD/SIN in Economy:

  • BA (Q,O,G): 20 TP
  • BA (all inventory except Q,O,G & H,B,Y): 35 TP
  • BA (H,B,Y): 70 TP
  • QF (all inventory except H,B,Y): 20 TP
  • QF (H,B,Y): 70 TP

You do earn more TP when buying mid-range airfares on BA. But it would take a hell of a lot of flying to earn lifetime gold just flying economy!

As such, on a strategy of Business and First class travel, BA does not discriminate, unlike Qantas.

Hi TRB, some great detail you've shared there which will be useful for many.

You're quite right that when flying up the front, BA doesn't discriminate based on airline, although on less-expensive tickets there can be some differences as you've rightly pointed out.

(The quote you pulled wasn't from a paragraph discussing only premium cabin travel, it was a general statement which your comments here have helped to further explain. Granted, the strategy we've mainly discussed above does rely on flying in business/first to notch up those TPs faster, of course.)

Happy Friday and have a great weekend. :)

Zac
Zac

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

23 May 2014

Total posts 129

Great article Chris - thanks. Great lateral thinking... definitely something to think about, although my word that's a lot of flying. Just 2 quick questions if anyone knows:

1) Is there a lifetime "QF Gold" equivalent along the way... in case you don't make it

2) Is Avios earn/redemption broadly in line with Qantas, or are you forfeiting points/free flights etc along the way of doing this?

3) Does BA allow Avios upgrades on any other OW carriers

 

Otherwise all things being equal it might actually be worth going for this... I'll report back in 15 years ha ha.

 

Hi Zac,

1) No there is no BAEC Lifetime Silver status (OW Sapphire)

2) Yes the framework is pretty similar but obviously the actual rates are different. But you cannot compare the rates like for like since the rates (cost of redemption) can only be measured against your ability to earn the miles/points/avios (your income). Essentially you need to do a purchasing power parity type of calculation.

3) BA only allows Avios upgrade on IB and AA but only from the expensive fare class and from the next class of travel. So it's not really worth it. But then most other carriers do not allow upgrades on other carriers using their own points/miles/avios.

26 Aug 2016

Total posts 1

I believe you do earn BA TPs and Avios when you fly Emirates but only if it's booked under a QF codeshare.

That is correct.

Under BAEC flying on most OW partner airlines codeshare services will not earn you TP or Avios.

E.g. AUH/MEL with an AB code but operated by EY would give you zero TP and Avios. (Very annoying given how cheap AB coded European flights are to/from Oz)

There is however a blanket exception with Qantas, where all non-Jetstar operated codeshare flights will earn TP and Avios. For QF coded Jetstar flights in L inventory as part of a oneworld fare, TP and Avios will be earned but I've not tried this myself as I don't fly Jetstar!

So your QF coded EK operated flights to Europe will earn you TP and Avios BUT of course you will not be able to use the lounge in Australia, Dubai or in Europe. Your BAEC Gold status does not cut the mustard on such services.

British Airways Executive Club Gold

25 Jun 2015

Total posts 22

Nice article Chris - very well written and informative! I've just noticed a couple of things that could do with being corrected though :)

To initially qualify for Gold Guest List the only option now is by reaching 5000 Tier Points - the two consecutive years at 3000 Tier Points option is no longer available (although it still is only 3000 TPs to requalify each year once you have attained GGL).

Also QF marketed/EK operated flights DO earn TPs and Avios - it's one of the caveats in the T&Cs on the BA website. Quite handy for Australian based travelers heading to Europe.

Finally - might be worth adding a bit of info about Gold Guest List for life? BA offer that at the heady heights of 100,000 TPs. Quite a stretch for a lot of people!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 May 2012

Total posts 140

How does the 35,000 tier points stack up against the 14,000 status credits required to reach lifetime Gold on Qantas? I get that Qantas Gold is lower in Perks value than BA Gold.  But if they're like for like, the extra 21,000 BA tiers points is a hell of a lot to go after when just staying QF Plantinum (1,200 SC per year) may be easier within a lifetime of flying.

British Airways Executive Club Gold

25 Jun 2015

Total posts 22

I'm not too sure how many SCs are awarded for these routes if you are crediting to QF (I left Australia for Scotland a few years back so I'm a bit out of the loop with QF as I credit to BA) but when awarding to BA you'd get the following Tier Points in J (TPs are distance based):

 

MEL-SYD 40TP

SYD-BNE 40TP

SYD-AKL 40TP

PER-MEL 40TP

PER-SYD 140TP

PER-BNE 140TP

SYD-SIN 140TP

SYD-HKG 140TP

MEL-LAX 160TP

 

In J, flights less than 2000mi earn 40TP, flights 2000mi-5999mi earn 140TP and flights over 6000mi earn 160TP. The only caveats are for SYD/MEL-LON which awards 240TP and select BA shorthaul flights ex-LON which earn 80TP (LHR-HEL, LHR-IST, LGW-MLA being a few examples.

 

 

Super charge your BAEC account by flying domestic First class on AA. 

But you raise an important point. Horses for courses. You'll need to sit down and consider what is reasonable for you. You don't want to ditch Qantas and lifetime Sapphire (I'm using the airline "metric" system to avoid confusion) by pursuing BA lifetime emerald when you know it's unattainable under existing budgets/ travel patterns.

For me I see it as retirement planning. 


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