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Airline million miler status programs, glamorized by George Clooney in Up in the Air, are real programs that encourage longterm loyalty to a particular airline. While each airline has its up and down years, these programs are meant to cement the most loyal flyers and keep them when they might think about defecting to a competitior. No US legacy airlines match Million Miler status, so flyers who are close to attaining such status need to debate whether its worth it to start from scracth at a new airline, even if that airline matches elite status (see here for a rundown of status matching). For many business flyers, these programs are critical to ensuring continued elite status when they retire so they can enjoy their golden years in upgraded bliss.
US Airways was the last of the legacy airline to not offer a million miler program, but they’ve just announced that they will be joining the club. While the full details are still to be announced, the program will award lifetime Silver Preferred status to flyers who fly 1,000,000 miles on US Airways/ America West flights. This is a pretty strict way of calculating million miler status compared to the other airlines, but I suppose it’s better than nothing. Flyers who accrue one million flight miles (excluding class of service bonuses) will earn Silver Preferred status for life as long as they keep their accounts active.
Check out the other legacy airlines programs.
American: Calculation: Flown AA & partner airline miles and all miles earned, including credit card spend, dining and hotel transfers (the most generous earning possibilities). Award: One million= Lifetime Gold Status. Two Million= Lifetime Platinum Status. You also get 8 upgrade stickers (US Residents) or 4 EVips (international addresses) for the first million. 4 Evips are awarded for each additional million accrued.
Continental: Calculation: Flown Continental & partner airline miles and all other Elite Qualifying Miles (from credit card, class of service bonuses and promotions). Award: One million= Silver Status, Two million= Gold Status, Three million= Platinum, Four Million= Presidential Plus. You also get to designate a spouse or significant other to have the same status to share your status, which is incredibly generous, in my opinion.
Delta: Calculation:Flown Delta & partner airline miles and all other Elite Qualifying Miles (from credit card, class of service bonuses and promotions). Award: One million= Silver, Two Million= Gold Medallion. Four million= Platinum Medallion. Delta also awards gifts for reaching levels, such as leather wallets, luggage, bonus miles, Tiffany gift certificates and drink coupons. You cannot currently attain top tier Diamond status through million miler status.
United: Calculation: Flown United/United Express flights only. Award: One million = Premier Exec Status for life, 2 regional upgrades and 3 system-wide upgrades every year. Two million= Red Carpet Club access, gift (luggage, Ipod for ex), 4 SWUS. Three million= 1K Status for life, gift, 4 SWUS. Four million= increased upgrade status, gift and 4 SWUS.