Chris Elliott says elite status is meaningless

I’m getting sick and tired of these “travel writers” that have no clue what they’re talking about.

Case in point, read Chris Elliott’s article, A few points short of a ticket. A couple of the highlights:

Consider what happened to you. In exchange for this ticket, American Express required that you apply for a card and spend money. Lots of money. Now who is that helping? You?

While this is somewhat besides the point, we’re talking about spending $1,000 on a credit card. Something tells me that this lady would have spent the $1,000 anyway, so let’s not blow this out of proportion. From the perspective of a credit card company, $1,000 is hardly “lots of money.” Of course that’s the least of it.

Likewise, airline loyalty programs dangle “free” tickets and other perks in front of their frequent fliers. But in exchange, they not only demand your loyalty, they also require you to do stupid things, like make so-called “mileage runs” designed to reach one of their generally meaningless elite levels.

They require you to do stupid things like mileage runs? Huh? If you fly the amount of miles required for status — and the thresholds couldn’t be clearer — there’s no need for mileage runs.

As if that’s not bad enough, the second half of the sentence is even dumber. “Meaningless elite levels?” Are you kidding me, Chris? I’d love to know which airlines Chris has status with (if any, something tells me he flies maybe once a year, while posing as a “travel writer”), because the airlines I have status with give me a lot in return: free upgrades (domestic and often international), generous mileage bonuses, lounge access, elite check-in/security/boarding, etc. That’s meaningless?

Filed Under: Media


  1. I read this story in my weekend paper’s travel section. And I thought: was the author drunk when he wrote this? Or did some newspaper editor mangle the response somehow? Because it really didn’t make any sense whatsoever.

  2. come on, they’re only trying to sell newpaper, most no-so-frequent flyers would like to hear that miles are worthless and eilte status are useless, frankly, i’m glad there’re people saying things like this out there, one less person to flight for that upgrade with me.

  3. I’m with Sam. I hope lots of people took Chris’ article to heart. I’ll enjoy premium travel by my-self. 😉

  4. I agree… that comment about mileage runs pretty much comes out of nowhere! Maybe his editor put it in, I dunno. Just plain stupid.

  5. All things being equal, I think the less said about MRs the better, and if something is said, better that it be disparaging rather than encouraging. Elliott’s article was dumb to be sure, but again, I don’t have a problem with discouraging the general population from seeking status via el cheapo MRs.

  6. This is HARDLY the first time Elliott has written an article that doesn’t make sense, sounds completely ridiculous, and isn’t based on any facts.

  7. The guy is a fool and utterly ignorant, but hey fewer people competing for the miles and seats makes me happy 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *