I’ve written about BA Silver’s benefits previously, and today let’s have a look at Gold.
You could see the list of Gold benefits on BA’s page here. To achieve Gold, you need to meet the following two conditions:
- Fly four eligible segments
- Earn 1,500 tier points
An eligible segment is a BA-operated or -coded flight, or an IB-operated and -coded flight. It must be on a paid ticket, i.e. award ticket doesn’t count.
The following benefits are in my preference order, and all (except the reward ticket ones) apply to any Oneworld Emerald equivalent.
[First Class Lounge Access]
One thing that distinguishes Oneworld from the other two alliances is that many Oneworld airlines have dedicated first-class lounges and, more importantly, Emerald elites are entitled to using them.
Being BA Gold, you could use BA’s Galleries First lounge at LHR T5, which to be fair isn’t that special. However, Cathay Pacific has a pretty good First lounge at T3, and not to mention the flagship ones at its home base HKG.
[Extra Award Ticket Inventory]
Extra award ticket inventory is made available to Gold card holders. More specifically, economy class V inventory is always open for redemption for Gold elites. You’ll see a message like this when searching for Avios tickets:
This is more useful than you think. I found it much easier to find award ticket in economy class once I turned Gold!
[Free Seat Selection]
Like Silver, Gold members can select seats for free at the time of booking. And this includes extra legroom seats in economy class on long-haul flights too, which is an improvement over Silver.
You could choose seat for anyone else on your booking as well. Even with separate bookings, you could call BA’s hotline to achieve this as long as your companions are travelling on the same flight and in the same cabin. This is called To Complete Party.
[Fast Track Security & Immigration]
You enjoy fast track security at Heathrow and select airports worldwide. From my personal experience it doesn’t make a huge difference though.
Fast track immigration at Heathrow is much more useful for me, as I’m a non-EU passport holder. It tends to save me, perhaps 30 minutes on average each time.
[Gold Priority Reward]
If there’s no award ticket space at all, you can still force open redemption inventory using this privilege. The only condition is that the revenue ticket is still selling, and you must pay double the original Avios required.
It cannot be done online, and you must book at least 30 days in advance.
I’m single so never had a chance to use this benefit! However, if you have children, therefore need more tickets and are restricted in terms of when you can travel, I do see how this privilege can be useful.
As Gold you are always placed in Group 1 when boarding. It means you are guaranteed to be amongst the first ones on board!
As I said before, it’s great when you are flying economy on a busy flight, as boarding early means you needn’t worry about luggage storage.
[First Class Check-in]
You can always use the First Class check-in counters at the airport. At Heathrow, there is a dedicated check-in area – First Class Wing (my review here) available which is a special experience.
[Extra Baggage Allowance]
Like Silver elites, as Gold you are entitled to an additional check-in baggage as well. However, Silver’s extra allowance doesn’t apply if the original allowance is already two bags or more, whereas there’s no such limitation for Gold.
It means, flying First you could carry 4 * 32kg pieces for free!
Note that however, it’s not applicable when flying Economy Basic – you still won’t have any allowance in the case.