Understanding Airline Elite Status Bump Thresholds

by on December 13, 2011 · 5 comments

in American, Delta, Elite Status, United, US Airways

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This is an installment in my Maximizing Elite Status series. Articles include; The Basics and Why People Mileage RunUsing ITA Matrix to Find Cheap FlightsHow Much is Elite Status Worth?, Comparing Top Tier StatusComparing Mid-Tier Status, Comparing Low Level StatusHow to Get Elite Miles Without Flying, Understanding Elite Status Bump ThresholdsThe Lowdown on Soft Landings, How to Cope with Losing Elite Status.

While most airlines have stated qualifications, usually in miles or segments, needed to achieve elite status levels, they often give some wiggle room. So if you are close to achieving the next level, but fall short, some airlines will give you a courtesy bump to the next level. Here is a rundown of how some programs have historically handled these situations. Note: almost all of these programs are unofficial so don’t bank on it happening.

American Airlines
24,500 EQMs for Gold
49,000 for Platinum
99,000 for Executive Platinum

Since they make it so easy to get MQMs, there should be no reason to get a grace bump to the next status level. I’ve heard of some people within 500 MQMs of Diamond getting the complimentary bump, which is what they didn’t want since they’d rather roll over 49,500 MQMs. Someone recently reported tweeting @DeltaAssist and asking to be bumped to the next level since they were 425 MQMs short and Delta agreed. I can’t vouch for that, but if you are close – it never hurts to ask!

You can combine your Continental EQMs for 2011 to give you 2012 status. If you haven’t already done so, you can do that here. In general, United has given some people status if they are within 2%, but that was back when the economy was bad and they were aggressively trying to retain elite members. This may happen again because they want to keep people happy with the merger, but to be safe, I’d take advantage of the Elite Maximizer (currently EQMs are being sold at about 13 cents a piece) to ensure your 2012 status.

US Airways
Based on past experience, they will bump if you are a couple hundred miles short, but I’d be safe and Buy Up to Preferred if needed.

See my other post on Buying Elite Miles if you are looking for non-mileage-run ways to lock in your 2012 elite status!

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  • Chris Atwood

    Do you think they will let you rollover any miles about 100k on american into next year?

  • Kim

    Hi Brian. I’m hoping you’ll find time to comment on my situation. If I have 2000 eqm’s due because of spend on my Presidential CO card, but my card statement doesn’t close until mid January, will those eqm’s post before Dec 31 – I care only because I’m 1300 miles short of the next elite level.
    Do you have any knowledge of this situation?

  • Matt

    Rollover miles are only offered by Delta. On any of the other US carriers, including American, your elite miles drop to zero at the beginning of each calendar year.

  • Radio_active

    I tried to do Elite Maximizer yesterday instead of a milage run out to Chicago on UA, I bought two refundable B tickets to IAD and ORD from SFO on CO metal ($1500 and $2600), the price to buy the EQMs was $0.10/mile ($730-something). In the end, it’s cheaper to do a MR for $319 with DEQM!

  • Ray

    Having just joined UA’s program in July, I am still a Premier member. Although I am flying to Europe from ORD in December on THY which will comfortably put me at Premier Exec., I called United to discuss the possibility of a bump to P.Exec/Star Alliance Gold prior to my international trip. I was more than 1,000 miles short and they approved my request. – Just an FYI that the 2% threshhold is flexible.

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