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Achieving and Maintaining Status
I’m a bit new to the game, but after reading several posts, and hearing envy-inducing stories of friends’ travels abroad, I decided to start taking steps to make traveling more a priority. Doing so in an intelligent and efficient manner is my goal. I purchased/redeemed AAdvantage miles to fly first class to and from LHR from DFW during law school, and that was probably my first experience “playing the game.” Living in Dallas with easy access to DAL and DFW, pretty much puts the world at my finger tips. I have 275k lifetime miles on AAdvantage, and I recently started traveling Virgin America as well, and I might have an update on status with Virgin Atlantic’s Flying Club as well, so I will keep you posted.
My main question is that your blog mostly focuses on using points to fly in premium classes for cheaply, but you also mention that you have status. I am curious about your recommendations as to the best ways to get status quickly are and how to maintain it. I realize a lot of people may consider status unimportant, but several posts of yours show that lounge access and even award booking availability may hinge upon your elite status.
I am seeking to build up my traveling over the next few years, and my goal is to get lifetime gold on American by 2025, assuming that program is still around. 😉 Any tips/strategies as to how to go about this without breaking the bank?
[USER=985]@Bobert[/USER] take a look at the post Ben did last year [URL]http://onemileatatime.boardingarea.com/2015/01/21/earned-miles-2014/[/URL] on how he earns his miles and status (the short answer is: a LOT of paid flying). If you want status on AA, keep an eye on the Flyer Talk fares board and subscribe to sites like the Flight Deal to find cheap ways to earn redeemable and status AA miles.
Do sit down and consider whether this is a truly valuable worthwhile goal for you. While status does confer benefits, there are other ways to access lounges and make award reservations.
Thanks, [USER=79]@Gaurav[/USER] for the response. Like I said, my long-term goal would be lifetime status, which I think does provide a valuable benefit for me. Lifetime Platinum would be a better deal, but I don’t think flying 1.7M miles in a decade is a realistic goal while having a full-time job and a professional singing side gig. My goals are to make the most of my weekends off/paid holidays to get as many miles as possible for relatively cheaply. Perhaps that’s unrealistic, but that’s the goal.
If you’re going to be traveling regularly, then yes, status definitely becomes more important. Good luck with the goal!
[QUOTE=”Bobert, post: 8679, member: 985″]I have 275k lifetime miles on AAdvantage[/QUOTE]
To clarify, you 275k program-to-date miles or 275k million miler balance?
Just want to make sure you’re aware that program-to-date miles do not all count towards million miler status. So things like purchasing miles from AA, earning miles with an AA credit card, transferring miles from SPG, bonus miles you’ve earned from promotions or paid premium cabin travel, etc. do not count towards million miler status. Only paid flights count, and you only earn 1 mile per mile flown towards this status.
You may already be aware of this but you said you were new to this so I figured I’d ask.
It seems I transposed some numbers. I have 317k program-to-date and 256k Million Miler miles. My understanding is that purchasing miles and earning miles through promotions used to count toward Million Miler balances, but now they don’t. I don’t know the precise date of the change, but that’s quite a big reason why my Million Miler balance is that high.
You’re correct, miles earned in pretty much any fashion used to count towards million miler status. Lucky for you for having earned so many the “easy” way!
Just to play Devil’s Advocate here, have you looked at the actual benefits of AAdvantage Gold? They’re fairly paltry, and keep in mind the program will almost certainly be changed as part of the merger. Unless priority seating is [I]very[/I] important to you, it doesn’t really make economic sense to fly another 700k miles in hopes of getting that lifetime status, in my opinion.
Award availability isn’t going to be any better as a Gold than a general consumer, and you won’t get lounge access based on that status. If you’re looking for ways to accumulate miles cheaply, you’re best off taking advantage of credit card promotions and even buying miles, versus mileage running on the weekends to get a status that isn’t [I]realistically[/I] going to do much for you. Elite status is great if you’re flying 75k+ miles a year, but it doesn’t make sense for most people otherwise.
I’d look over these posts, which might help in the decision process:
Let us know what you decide!
I agree with Tiffany. Unless you’re already going to be traveling on paid tickets it’s just not really worth it to go for status. You’re going to fly better for cheaper using miles than paying for tickets 99% of the time. If you want lounge access, just get the Citi Prestige or Citi Aadvantage Executive cards. Both get you Admirals Club access (the AA one gives you membership so you can enter even when you’re not flying on AA).
The only time you find me on paid AA flights these days are when they’re either so cheap it would be a waste of miles (and even a waste of Avios like my BOS-PHL flight in June for $69), paid for using AA gift cards I got for free from my Amex Platinum and Citi Prestige, or paid for with ThankYou points because it either represented the best value point for point or I couldn’t get there in a timeframe that was acceptable to me. For instance I’m going from PHL-STT in F in April. It would take less AA miles to get there but I’d have to leave early in the morning and do a long layover in MIA and not get there until night which would cause me to miss a rehearsal dinner for a wedding. Using ThankYou points I can “buy” the tickets for the direct flight that leaves later in the morning and gets there early in the afternoon.
The one exception would be if a status challenge comes along and you know you could benefit from some of the perks. For instance, using the 4 systemwide upgrades that come with EXP for some long haul international travel you know you have coming up within the next year.