The clock has reset on frequent flyer elite status qualification in January so this is a good time to evaluate your loyalties to various programs and consider if you should jump ship to new programs. In a world full of devaluations, mergers, and new reciprocal status benefits, opportunities abound to maximize value in 2017 and beyond. This is the first in a series of posts evaluating the cost and benefits of obtaining elite status with various programs. Let’s start with Delta.
The Secret to Earning Star Alliance Elite Status
If you are a business frequent flyer traversing the globe all the time, you will, at some point or another, begin appreciating little perks along the way. An upgraded seat here, access to a lounge there, speeding up through security lines and other perks can make the life of a frequent flyer much more tolerable.
Unfortunately, achieving elite status with any major U.S. airline has become a daunting task lately due to reduced benefits and introduction of the revenue component into airlines elite schemes.
Aeroméxico Club Premier Elite Status: How to Reach and What’s in It for You
Aeroméxico is a founding member of the SkyTeam Alliance and a transfer partner of Starwood Preferred Guest and American Express Membership Rewards programs. The flag carrier of Mexico is not a very popular airline for North American frequent flyer aficionados because it usually adds fuel surcharges to its partners’ rewards flights, and because finding Aeroméxico availability, especially for premium flights on partners, can be a daunting task.
El Al Matmid Elite Levels: How to Reach and What’s in It for You
El Al doesn’t have a lot of airline mileage partners – in fact, there are only three left since it lost the partnership with American (South African Airways, Air Mexico, and Qantas), but the appeal of El Al, and one of the major reasons why it has so many devout followers, is security.
Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus Elite Status: How to Earn it and What’s in it for You
Thai Airways is a member of the Star Alliance and transfer partner of Amex Membership Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest and Diners Club. If you fly Thai Airlines regularly you might consider attaining their elite status. Unfortunately, the entry-level elite Silver tier hardly offers any benefits. The first sensible elite tier is Gold. Attaining Gold status is not easy, but the benefits are good even if they don’t include earning bonus miles.
Singapore KrisFlyer Elite Status: How to Earn it and What’s in it for You
Singapore Airlines is a member of the Star Alliance, and a transfer partner of all four U.S.-based airline travel programs: Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest and Citi ThankYou. Singapore Airlines also has partners outside of the Star Alliance: Virgin Atlantic, Virgin America, Virgin Australia, JetBlue and Indian airline Vistara.
Qatar Privilege Club Elite Program: How to Earn it and What’s in it for You
Doha-based Qatar Airlines is a member of the oneworld alliance and transfer partner of the Citi ThankYou and Starwood Preferred Guest programs. While the Qatar elite program is not exactly cutting edge, the benefits are decent, and most importantly, being an elite Privilege Club member means you get elite benefits on other oneworld flights.
Etihad Guest Elite Status: How to Get it and What’s in it for You
Etihad Airways, one of the most renowned airlines in the world, is a UAE carrier based in Abu Dhabi and a fierce competitor of another venerable airline – Emirates. Like Emirates, Etihad is not a part of any alliance, however, it has eight partners in the aptly named Etihad Airlines Partners program. The partnership includes seven other airlines: Alitalia, Etihad Regional, airberlin, Niki, Air Serbia, Air Seychelles and Jet Airlines, and you can use reciprocal Etihad elite benefits when you fly on these airlines.
Southwest Rapid Rewards Elite Status: How to Get it and What’s in it for You
The Southwest Rapid Rewards frequent flyer program is very different from those of legacy carriers. While the major U.S. airlines started making transitions to revenue-based programs last year, Rapid Rewards has been revenue-based for years. In addition, Southwest doesn’t have business class, and unlike most airlines, it offers perks like free checked baggage and free cancellation to all, and not just elite customers. So while Rapid Rewards does have elite tiers, its perks and benefits are quite different from other programs.
ANA Mileage Club Elite Status: How do you Get it and What’s in it for You
ANA Mileage Club is one of the most valuable frequent flyer programs in the world. Aside from the fact that this is a great airline with an excellent award redemption chart and exceptional service in all cabins, ANA is also a Star Alliance member and transfer partner with the Amex Membership Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest programs. ANA also had their own set of 11 partner airlines, and several subsidiaries called ANA Group. Flying on Star Alliance airlines and ANA group airlines earns status miles.
Lufthansa Miles and More Elite Status: How You Get it and What’s in it For You
Miles and More is the frequent flyer program of Lufthansa and the largest frequent flyer program in Europe. Miles and More is also used by 13 integrated Lufthansa partner airlines: Lufthansa Regional (Air Dolomiti, Eurowings, and Lufthansa CityLine), Lufthansa Private Jet, Adria, Austrian, Brussels, Condor Flugdienst, Croatia, Germanwings, LOT, Luxair and Swiss.
Alitalia MilleMiglia Elite Status: How to Get it and What’s in it For You
The Alitalia MilleMiglia‘s elite program is a very good way to maximize your flight benefits if you’re interested in flying on SkyTeam partner airlines.
Alaska Airlines MVP Elite Status: How You Get it and What’s in it for You
Alaska Airlines has one of the best frequent flyer programs among all U.S. legacy carriers. For one, it still doesn’t have a revenue component in earning or redeeming miles. It doesn’t add a fuel surcharge to award flights redeemed on most of its international partners (other than British Airways and Iceland Air).
Air Canada Elite Status: How to Get it and What’s in It for You
In October 2014 Air Canada announced a set of changes to their Altitude elite program. As a reminder, Altitude is separate from Aeroplan, which is the general Air Canada frequent flyer program.
Just like its U.S. peers, Air Canada tightened the screws by adding the revenue component to the list of the Elite Status requirements. The new requirements don’t go into effect until 2017.
Flying Blue Elite Status: How to Get it and What’s in it for You
Flying Blue is the frequent flyer program of Air France and KLM, though it’s not limited to these two airlines. The Flying Blue program has also been adopted by Air Europa, Kenya Airways, Aircalin, HOP!, Twin Jet, and TAROM. In addition, the Flying Blue elite members enjoy elite privileges of the SkyTeam Alliance.
Emirates Skywards Elite Status: How to Get it and What’s in it For You
One of the best and most glamorous airlines in the world, Emirates, isn’t a member of any alliances, but it is a transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards and SPG programs, and it has a number of partners that you can earn and redeem miles on.
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Elite Status: How to Get it and What’s in it For You
Virgin Atlantic is not a member of any alliance, but it has 13 airline partners around the world. Also, Virgin Atlantic is the transfer partner of all four U.S.-based airline travel programs: American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest and Diners Club, which makes it easy to collect Flying Club miles outside of flying. If you fly Virgin Atlantic fairly often, you might consider pushing for elite status, which would certainly make it more pleasant.
Hawaiian Airlines Pualani Elite Status: How to Get it and What’s in it For You
Despite being a legacy carrier, Honolulu-based Hawaiian Airlines doesn’t have a huge footprint in North America. Nor is it a member of an airline alliance. However, if you fly Hawaiian Airlines on a regular basis, elite status might be worthwhile.
Iberia Plus Elite Status: How to Get it and What’s in It for You
After British Airways and Iberia merged, Avios became the default currency for Iberia. However, Iberia still maintains its own Iberia Plus frequent flyer program, and although there are some similarities between Executive Club and Iberia Plus, they operate separately.
Mileage Plus Ups PQMs for 2016
Have you wished you could earn elite status on United faster? Well, if you have it appears that United has been listening because they have upped the ante for their frequent flyer program double the PQM’s for premium seats.