You know that I’m not a fan of the “unlimited complimentary” upgrade to first class schemes. They create unlimited demand for a very limited product, and are of course offered on a space-available basis. That said, if you ask a bunch of frequent fliers why they bother with elite status, I have to think that upgrades are going to be at the top of the list for many, if not most. Last night, I checked in for my flight at the 24 hour mark and was greeted with a screen I haven’t seen in a while.


For a mere $199.00, this Platinum Medallion could “secure first class now” on a roughly 1 hour flight. No thanks. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely support airlines in selling their product for whatever price people are willing to pay. However, I sometimes find myself wondering if there is a tipping point where the focus on selling something to you that you might otherwise get for “free” begins to impact a frequent flier’s psyche? Is there a point where it’s just not worth being “elite” anymore? I must not be there yet, because I probably would have bought this if it were priced under $100. $99? $59? I don’t know.

Frequent fliers, how do you feel about the practice of first class monetization? Does it bother you in some way or impact your purchase decisions? Do you find yourself buying first class more often? Comments welcome.

-MJ, September 23, 2015