In Which I Grind My Teeth and Make Terrible Faces

I love travel.  I love exposing my kids to travel.  I love that my family is absolutely insufferable when watching the movie European Vacation.  I know that sounds snotty, and I don’t mean it to.  I put a job’s worth of time into getting the most out of our travel, because goodness knows that we’re not at an income level to be able to just throw down the Visa card whenever a place strikes our fancy (case in point – Australia and New Zealand.  My kids are DYING to visit those two and we have not been able to find a way to swing it as of yet.  But, you know, goals are good).

We have not yet resorted to a Third World minibus vacation, but I'm sure it is coming.
We have not yet resorted to a Third World minibus vacation, but I’m sure it is coming.

Because we are not independently wealthy, we pay close attention to sales, promotions and airline points.  It is those airline points which are today causing the ridiculous headache, and I have vowed they WILL!  NOT!  WIN!


With careful planning, my work travel last year earned me Gold Status on British Airways (plus a lot of avios, but we’ll get into those another time).  Before you read on – did you click the link and read the benefits?  I don’t think you did, because if you *DID* actually read that part where they talk about the complimentary facial massage at London Heathrow, I’m pretty sure you would have fainted dead away.

The massages are a nice touch, but that’s not what really gets me.  What really gets me is the free showers and the pre-boarding, both of which I qualify for with a mere silver status (which takes 900 fewer tier points to achieve).  Believe you me, those extra few seconds when you still have overhead bin space is priceless.

That’s a good thing, because my Gold status was an absolute fluke and will most likely never happen again.  Silver, however is within my grasp.  I’ve actually already earned Silver this year, but BA – like many airlines – is not exactly on the ball about issuing points if there has been any deviation from their plan.  Those points are not free, you know!  And you should be thankful for them!  And if the clock happens to run out and BA hasn’t awarded the points you are supposed to get even if you followed all their rules for reporting and the fault is on their end, too bad.

Oh dear.  My shrill is showing.  That kind of hits a nerve.  BA was supposed to give me 90 tier points and quite a few avios for a flight taken this summer from London Heathrow through Dubai to Africa.  Because our BA flight out of Rome was delayed, we missed our connection in LHR and were rerouted to an Emirates flight.  Those points were never deposited in our account even though there were numerous emails, phone calls, and a mailed package of photocopied tickets.

So, I am now twenty points short of silver just before my tier point collection year ends when I should be seventy points over.  Maddening!

Luckily Fresno the Husband and I have a no-children trip planned to New Orleans this summer and we can still earn tier points if we fly American Airlines.  With a little finagling my silver status should be assured, right?

Oh my GOODNESS not so fast!   As you can see, tier point and avios collection is a ridiculously complicated process.  I’m pretty sure it took less math to get astronauts to the moon than it does to figure out how to traverse tier levels and get low cost rewards travel.  So should this trip to New Orleans earn my silver reward?  Well, yes.  But who knows.  After six emails to the Executive Club customer service at British Airways, I was told in no uncertain terms that they would not tell me how many tier points I will earn with this flight.  There is an online calculator, you see.  Which wasn’t working.

And while I will praise the BA flight attendants to the heavens and back for being the most amazing, patient, and nicest flight attendants I’ve had on any airline, the truth is that British Airways’s non-face-to-face customer service is not particularly helpful.  Ever.  Which resulted in a twitter promotion gone quite wrong for them.

The BA website (notoriously buggy) tier point calculator is finally working for me again, so I was able to see the approximate number of points I have to look forward to in June.  Yay!  Silver c’est moi (don’t judge me.  I know it’s atrocious).

Still, this doesn’t change the fact that BA’s off-plane customer service is somewhat on par with carrot soup that has gone off and is served with burnt coffee.  It’s enough to have me considering a new main airline.  I’ve heard great things about Virgin Atlantic, and there’s even a new points promotion going on.

I’m open to convincing either way.  Anyone want to take a shot?