Thanks BA for my freedom

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  • BugAdvisor

    BA Gold for almost ten years. Last year I used points for most flights as I knew I wouldn’t make Gold on my February renewal – I was hoping for a soft landing to Silver

    That Gold status kept me flying BA because of free seat choice, premium check in, fast track, lounge access and bonus avios. I haven’t been upgraded for years.

    I have a paid, not points, family holiday booked LGW-MCO BA Premium Economy in June – the addition of car hire meant that I paid just a 150 GBP deposit.

    BA dropped me straight to Blue. Same for my son who was Silver.

    I felt a new sense of freedom. I checked TUI Premium Economy, which also offers free seat choice, premium check in, fast track and lounge access for less than BA. I called them with a query and a helpful lady answered immediately – I almost fell off my chair!

    Now all re-booked on TUI for less than BA, even with the loss of the 150 GBP deposit. The food looks better (couldn’t be worse than BA) and Premium Economy has three bathrooms versus the one on BA.

    Thanks BA for my freedom – you’ll only see me burning my points in future.

    6 users thanked author for this post.


    Having flown on the TUI Premium Economy product there are some gains and some watch outs vs WTP. Yes the seats are 2-3-2 on the TUI 787, vs 2-4-2 on the BA 777, but I prefer the BA seat to the TUI one. If you are on the 787-9 then there are 3 bathrooms, but the two rear ones will be used by the economy PAX as well. Food and service, well this is subjective, but apart from the bacon roll and chips that TUI have for BOB for shorthaul services I have never enjoyed a TUI onboard meal.

    One other thing to factor, which may not impact you if you have a car, but TUI fly into Melbourne rather to MCO, which is a bit of a way outside of Orlando. Plus its the only international airline flying in, so while you benefit from lower passenger numbers at immigration, it can be offset with only having two CBP agents on!

    Hope you enjoy the TUI flight though, would be good to hear back on your experience and see if things have changed from my last trip.

    1 user thanked author for this post.


    Thanks JD_84 for your advice.

    I know TUI fly to Melbourne and that is a longer drive for us. I checked and Melbourne has Global Entry kiosks, so immigration shouldn’t be an issue. Last year at Tampa, we cleared Global Entry and then spent over an hour waiting for our ‘priority-tagged’ bags. Hoping Melbourne will be better.

    I’ll report back after we fly in June.

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    Ouch… Only once I missed the Gold threshold, and become … Silver. Back to Blue not only hurts, but is, in my view, a utter nonsense, commercially speaking!

    1 user thanked author for this post.


    Thank you for your post @BugAdvisor.
    I am Gold in a rival programme which is being overhauled and likely facing a drop to Silver.
    It is a good time to re-evaluate and realise how little benefit Gold does indeed offer. Seats in the front rows in Europe and possibly one or two more dishes in the gold vs. Silver lounge plus access to other alliance airline lounges, i.e. not a lot of value for your $ spend.
    For me a further frustration of all these years of loyalty is I am being granted Lifetime silver status. This protects miles earned. However, a rival carrier within the same alliance offers Lifetime Gold after 10 years, whereas I have been Gold for just short of 20 and still many flights off Lifetime Gold. A case of those investment decisions made in your 30s coming back to bite you later in life, where it seems freedom to leave the FFP scheme and airline grouping is actually likely the best value in the long-term.
    And the legacy airlines, whilst moaning about declining share, low yields, rising costs, etc, have yet to realise there is freedom out there.

    4 users thanked author for this post.


    I’m about to follow you at the end of April. Given that most of Asia has been closed, the opportunity to earn tier points has been limited for me. I had to decide between focussing on maintaining BA Gold or Virgin Gold and went for Virgin given their substantially lower prices in Business – a trip last year to Tokyo on Virgin + ANA was about double the price on BA + JAL.

    Having retired during the pandemic I am also travelling a lot less so wouldn’t maintain both at Gold level anyway. But I do question the value you get. If you travel economy I can see the travel benefits but if you travel business or first, which you kind of need to do to maintain your tier points, almost all the perks of the Gold status come with the ticket anyway.

    3 users thanked author for this post.

    Midlands Traveller

    I’m another one in this list who has just made the move to Silver after more than a decade as Gold. Oh well, no big deal.

    I do find reaching the higher tiers of hotel and airline schemes very beneficial though. The perks such as room upgrades or lounge access are always welcome and do make travel a tiny bit less stressful. But in my opinion the real benefit as a regular traveller is in what you can do with the points. With a little planning I’ve saved many, many thousands of pounds on holidays etc.

    1 user thanked author for this post.
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