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I Currently Have Elite Status with the 3 Major U.S. Airlines & I Didn’t “Earn” Any of It

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Elite Status Match American Delta United

Elite Status Match American Delta United

Elite status is one of those things you learn to cherish when getting into the miles/point hobby. The healthier among us have learned how to use it as a tool to be travel, while some in this space tend to get obsessed with every last status and benefit they can squeeze out of it.

I tend to fall somewhere in the middle. While I don’t normally spend obscene amounts of money in order to obtain status, I do like to take advantage of promos when they come around. For example, a few years ago I got in on a supposedly targeted promo and flew to Paraguay for AAdvantage status. I then turned that into years of elite status with other airlines through matches.

The Good Old Days?

To be honest the old days before revenue based earning were much better and thus I haven’t done too much with airline status the past couple of years. I have at times had Southwest A-list dropped on me and JetBlue Mosaic as well. Last year American also gave me Platinum status out of nowhere and I’ve occasionally had Alaska status from crediting partner flights to them.

Elite Status Match American Delta United
My first AAdvantage mileage run got me Platinum status with a “quick” roundtrip to Paraguay.

An Abundance of Status

But nothing beats right now. While it may only be temporary, I currently have status with all three major U.S. airlines through matches/challenges and next month I’ll actually qualify for status with a 4th. How did it happen?

American AAdvantage Platinum: I was given 3 months of free AAdvantage Platinum status as a World of Hyatt Globalist. I have used this for free extra legroom seat assignments on a number of flights including several awards I have booked as part of their amazing specials recently. I tend to think the auto upgrades from UA and Delta mid-tier status are better, but this has been useful.

United MileagePlus Gold: I was given 3 months of United Gold status as part of a Founderscard promo. I have flown United a couple of times on trips to D.C. and Chicago during my promo and have enjoyed the priority boarding and extra legroom. No upgrades have cleared for me unfortunately.

Delta Platinum Medallion: This is my newest toy and one I hope to actually have somewhat long term. I was successfully able to match my other status to Delta Platinum for 3 months as part of their status challenge. With so many flights upcoming thanks to the Delta Vacations deal, I should have enough to qualify for some sort of status beyond the promo period.

Alaska Airlines MVP: I earned about 24,200 qualifying miles on Alaska through a $1,100 (paid with Chase UR) Cathay Pacific mistake rate First Class ticket from Vietnam to New York. I used the CNB Visa Infiinte discount (dead as of January, 2020) to book my wife and I a nice weekend in San Francisco for less than $100 combined after discount. That will get me the 800+ miles i need to qualify through 2021.

Elite Status Match American Delta United
I went to Havana from Panama during another AAdvantage fast track elite promo.

Elite Status Comes Over & Over

I am excited to finally have elite status with Delta, although admittedly I just haven’t had the need or desire in the past. It works for me now because of the unique set of circumstances with the recent deals and my upcoming flights, however what I am more interested in talking about is how often I have been able to obtain status with the other two airlines.

As of the writing of this I think I have had elite status with American Airlines 5 separate times in the past 6 years and it has always been through a status match or fast track promotion. Similarly I have had UA status 3 times. It pays to pay attention to elite status promos and jump in quickly when you see them.

Why Elite Status?

Before I go I think it is important to mention one thing? Do I need elite status? Absolutely not, but I do find it useful. While the main draws of airline elite status in the United States are first class upgrades, I do actually enjoy things like Priority Boarding and most importantly extra legroom seating.

As a frequent traveler I know how to get priority boarding if I need to and I can often talk myself into better seats (think exit row), but I do like just having it all taken care of. I like being in the paid extra legroom seats for free ahead of time and I like knowing there will be space for my bag. Elite status can also come with lounge access on international tickets and priority security in some places. I have also found it quite valuable to avoid certain cancellation and close-in fees. In other words, it has enough value that I am excited when promos come, but not enough I would significantly change my flying patterns to get it.

Bottom Line

While my UA and AA status are going away, I have Delta Platinum Medallion and Alaska MVP to comfort me. Hopefully I’ll find ways to leverage those into even more status down the line. Either way I do have to say playing the airline elite status game has been fun and I always miss the perks when they are gone, but enjoy them while I’ve got them.

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Shawn Coomer
Shawn Coomer
Shawn Coomer earns and burns millions of miles/points per year circling the globe with his family. An expert at accumulating travel rewards, he founded Miles to Memories to help others achieve their travel goals for pennies on the dollar. Shawn also runs a million dollar reselling business, knows Vegas better than most and loves to spend his time at the 12 Disney parks across the world.

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  1. LOL, my 16-year-old son is also 800 miles shy of status on Alaska because of that F CX mistake. Too bad he won’t fly anywhere the rest of the year, though I’ve been trying to do a mileage run for him. I think it might be worth it for little cost.

  2. I’ve done the AA status match through my Hyatt Explorist account as well, but am still struggling to complete the challenge, any thoughts on what can be done as alternatives to flying?

  3. Yeah airline elite status has really taken a nosedive over the last few years to the point where there’s probably a slight mileage earnings advantage but not much else that a airline credit card can’t offer. I do really like Jetblue Mosaic which I got through cc spend and I plan to use that much more next year. I just love the ability to cancel flights, same day change and without a fee including family members on my reservation. I do like Alaska, but the rest of family have to pay change fees even on my reservation so that sort of defeats the purpose of flying with them when I can go with jetblue fee free.


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