A few days, we wrote about the American Airlines’ elite status challenge and the benefits of being an elite status member with an airline.
Here’s a quick rundown on how to obtain elite status with the 4 major US based airlines.
American offers an elite challenge for members who want a quick path to elite status. The terms are simple, fly either 5,000 points for Gold member status or 10,000 points for Platinum level status within 90 days for $140 or $240. A point is different than a mile — American assign a 0.5x to 1.5x of mile flown to a ticket. First Class/Business/Full Coach fares for example are 1.5x points. Where as discount economy tickets range from 0.5x to 1.0x points. So the miles required for Platinum status challenge can range from 6,667 miles to 20,000 miles depending on the tickets that you buy.
Here is the chart that outlines what each fare class will earn. Challenges can begin either 1st or 16th of the month. Since we are in the latter half of 2011, successful challenges will result in elite status until Feb 28th, 2013. If you have an upcoming international travel or significant domestic travel, this will make a lot of sense due to the increase mileage earning, better customer service and miscellaneous fees being waived like checked baggage for you and anyone on your itinerary. Status is conferred upon successful completing the challenge. Only points from American and American codeshare flights count toward the challenge.
To enroll in a challenge, call AAdvantage customer service at +1 800.882.8880.
Delta does not offer a mean of obtaining status quickly, but they have so many credit cards that gives status miles, it is possible to never fly Delta and have Delta elite status. For example, you can earn up to 30,000 medallion status miles with the Delta Reserve card which would give you Silver status with Delta.
United at the moment offers an $899 challenge for basic elite status level (Premier). At that price point, it is not worth it. Since you can obtain basic elite status for at most $1,500 annually if you follow our philosophy of not paying more than 6 cents per mile flown.
US Airways has a simple fast track elite status program. Like the American challenge, you pay $200 to $600 depending on the elite status level. However, unlike American, you get the status immediately. Then you have 90 days to complete the minimum amount of miles or segment requirements listed in order to keep the status beyond the 90 days. The positive of the US Airways challenge is that status is immediate, so you will receive the benefits of elite status when you signup including upgrades, priority checkin etc.
To enroll, call US Airways at +1.800.428.1775