Elite status matters

The Upgrade Travel blog takes on Joe Sharkey’s New York Times declaration that he’s done with airline elite status.

Upgrade Travel blog grants that status isn’t as meaningful as it once was (I wouldn’t grant such a thing, actually), but points out the obvious — the problem isn’t elite status per se, the problem is that Continental doesn’t deliver the goods.

    My Star Alliance Gold status still gets me access to nice lounges around the globe, ability to reserve the better economy seats (without a fee a la Northwest), higher baggage allowances, faster checkin, and shorter waits at security lines. (Not to mention the bonus miles, which he says he can’t use.)

And if Joe has problems redeeming awards on Continental (who doesn’t, Skyteam offers poor availability more or less across the board) then his elite status would mean much faster mileage earning — enough to buy out of capacity controls. So elite status, if nothing else, should help with award redemption.

It’s easy to become disillusioned, but comparisons should be made against the relevant alternative. If the choice is elite status or general member, it’s a no brainer. And if the choice is, say, top tier elite status with Continental or Delta… or top tier elite status with American or United… another no brainer.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. Gary,

    Elite status matter. Last fall I was comped CO Gold. I asked CO for the comp based on my United PremEx status. I flew BOS/MAD (thank you $100 fare).

    Here’s what comp status got me:

    -Exit row seating

    -Priority check-in lines in BOS and Madrid.

    -Double miles that yielded 16,000 miles for this 8000 mile roundtrip.

    Comping in this case yielded some nice benefits.

    Dan

  2. Gary,

    Elite status matter. Last fall I was comped CO Gold. I asked CO for the comp based on my United PremEx status. I flew BOS/MAD (thank you $100 fare).

    Here’s what comp status got me:

    -Exit row seating

    -Priority check-in lines in BOS and Madrid.

    -Double miles that yielded 16,000 miles for this 8000 mile roundtrip.

    Comping in this case yielded some nice benefits.

    Dan

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