Here’s My Elite Status Program and Plan

Reader Denis asks about my elite status, and since I write about what I think people ought to do what I actually do is fair game.

How are you planning status (airlines) for year end? Do you need to MR? Lifetime status?

I’ve re-qualified for American’s Executive Platinum (100,000 mile) status already. I should end the year with about 120,000 qualifying miles, and 10,000 on US Airways from spend on their credit card, that will ultimately get combine when the two programs are joined next year — although there will be no benefit to me for being over 100,000 since I won’t hit 125,000 points (which would likely get me – upon request of AAdvantage Customer Service – 2 additional confirmed international upgrades).

I’m also a lifetime American AAdvantage Platinum member — American gives lifetime Gold at 1 million, Platinum at 2 million, and they used to count all account activity towards status. I’m a 3 million miler, much of the activity from credit cards, bank accounts, shopping portals and other activity. I’m headed towards 4 million, though it’s much slower going as only flights now count.

I’m a British Airways Silver, which was previously soft-landed from Gold, and I will lose that come March. I’m an Aegean Gold, and will lose that in a year.

I generally have no need to mileage run. I hit American’s top status without doing so. Combined with award travel I’ll fly about 200,000 miles this year.

I’ve also requalified as a Hyatt Diamond already, and hit Starwood Platinum on nights. I hit Marriott Silver as well (unintentionally) and received a targeted offer for Hilton Diamond.

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, 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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  1. So, how do you get the extra SWU’s when over 125k points? I’m at 129k now and should end the year about 150k. Like you – i’m lifetime Plat and also – more slowly – nearing 4 million lifetime.

  2. @kelly call aadvantage customer service and ask. they don’t do it for all 125k points folks, but if you are deemed a profitable/valuable enough customer (probably 4 or 5 eagle rating) they seem to do it

  3. @Gary….What about United?

    Have you given up on United?

    I’m dropping from 1K to Premier Silver.

    I burned instead of earned this year!

    Thanks for all you do!

  4. Gary, my elite status is saving money, and just buying miles or the premium product when its a deal or redeeming miles when I can.

    I find elite status has only given me mediocre benefits lately. Delta, United have actually made their elite requirements so bad that its not worth chasing.

    Even AA, which I used to be so impressed with is making it hard to redeem miles on their products, and using Evips to waitlist until the last minute with the system wide upgrades finally clear is not worth the hassle, especially to make extra flights for. No thanks.

    With so many cheap premium fares, I actually got to fly Delta’s premium product (and credit the miles to Alaska) to Europe. And their business class product is pretty good.

    Purchase lifemiles to fly star alliance on other routes.

    The only elite product that I am vaguely interested in now is Hyatt status, as they actually deliver what they promise. How refreshing.

  5. Now is a great time to status match or challenge if you are losing status anyway. I have a couple of I am pondering.

  6. Thanks, Gary! I really appreciate you taking your time to answer my question!! 😀
    Given your last comment about United, I’m guessing you won’t go out of your way to get Star Gold (after Aegean status lapses) anytime soon, right?
    I ask this because I fly internationally once or twice a year on business, and my company only pays for coach tickets. So, to me, being able to use lounges and get some rest and real food before a long-haul flight matters a lot!

  7. @Denis – fortunately I have another year of Aegean status to decide whether I need to keep Star Gold. I’ve been able to avoid Star Alliance for paid international travel of late, and awards I’ll book in a premium cabin MOST of the time. (I did do DAD-REP in coach on Vietnam Airlines earlier this year, first time in a long time I can remember being at an airport with a lounge for which I had no access – hah!)

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