Following on my recent post about hotel elite status, I wanted to take a look at how things stand with airline elite status for next year. Currently, I have some level of elite status in the 3 major airline alliances. As useful as that sounds, I arrived at the point of holding status with the 3 alliances quite by accident. With American, I hold lifetime AAdvantage Gold (after falling from earned Platinum), at Delta, I’m Gold Medallion, and with United, I’m Premier Executive. While my flying is picking up as it usually does in late spring, I’m not likely to be able to hold mid-tier elite on both Delta and United. I certainly fly American when they’re the best choice, but today’s post will center on Delta and United.
I tend to fly United for my personal and some work flying, but Delta is almost exclusively work-related flying by virtue of Atlanta being the city I fly to most for work purposes. I will likely fly Delta enough to maintain Silver Medallion this year based on work travel alone. If I were to dedicate my personal trips to Delta, I would easily maintain Gold Medallion, perhaps even Platinum. But SkyMiles just doesn’t hold a candle to Mileage Plus or AAdvantage, and for now, the frequency program is enough to sway me from dedicating additional flying beyond what’s required by my work travel to Delta. (One roundtrip to Miami to catch a cruise, and one First Class award to Seattle in June excepted. 80,000 miles for that Seattle trip. UGH!)
Then there’s United where I’m Premier Executive. While I’m not very far along in maintaining that status for 2012, things will pick up for the remainder of the year, and I’ll certainly make the Premier cut….and with a little judicious mileage running, Premier Executive. Living in Washington, DC, United is a great option for long-haul nonstop from Dulles. Better yet, as long as US Airways remains in the Star Alliance, I can fly them for short-haul domestics in/out of DCA which happens to be a 15 to 20 minute cab ride from my home. United, Mileage Plus, and the Star Alliance work great for me living in DC, and I plan to focus as much flying as possible with them for the rest of the year to maintain my elite status. I won’t hesitate to do a series of mileage runs after Labor Day when fares typically fall off a bit to maintain my status. And next year, I’m going to do a better job of taking advantage of some decent fares in the late January/February timeframe that sometimes appear.
I should’ve done a better job with planning for next year’s elite status on United earlier in the year. You need to be really plugged in to how you are doing with ensuring you hit your status goal for the following year from the very beginning of the year, and I didn’t do it. Not cool, but a mistake that can still be easily repaired at this point. How do you plan for your elite status goals each year?