The European Tour Race to Dubai points list is the primary driver dictating what kind of status a player might have on the circuit for the following season.
A player must finish inside the top 100 on the European Tour Race to Dubai points list to earn exempt status for the following season. The higher up a player finishes on the points list, the better a chance they have of getting into every regular European Tour event they choose.
This is a change from previous policy. Prior to the 2016-17 season, the top 110 players on the money list, then the points list, were exempt. Now those 10 spots lopped off go to players who finish tops among players who go graduated from the Challenge Tour or European Tour Q-school the prior season.
In the European Tour's priority ranking, points list finish is not the top category to get into most tournaments, but it is helpful in getting into most tournaments since there are typically not enough top 50 players in the world ranking to grab too many spots from that top 110, now 100.
Finishing outside the top 100 will mean a trip back to European Tour Q-school, and that could mean a dramatic drop in priority or having little to no status for the next season. So, keeping a European Tour exemption hinges on staying inside the top 100 in Race to Dubai points.