No Decision Made on American Airlines Million Miler Program Qualification

Apr 30, 2011

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Achieving “million miler” status as a frequent flyer is an important milestone because it locks in elite status for life (or for as long as your airline is around). This is a nice thing to secure during your road warrior days, so you can have the peace of mind that you will be rewarded for your loyalty well beyond the years you are traveling most.

Most airlines (see list below) calculate million miler status based on actual flown miles, whether on that airline or on alliance partners. However, American calculates all regular miles earned – even on credit cards. So that 100,000 mile bonus you got for a Citi credit card would get you 10% of the way to lifetime Gold status. Not a bad deal, huh?

Well, as with all good things, they must come to an end – or so has been speculated by the frequent flyer community. In the past couple months there has been a fever pitch of speculation that American is going to end the gravy train and switch to a much stricter model, similar to the other US airlines.

However, yesterday I attended the Travel Executive Luncheon hosted by Frequent Flyer Legend and Flyertalk & Milepoint founder Randy Petersen and the last portion of the session was a panel with the heads of United Mileageplus, American AAdvantage, Delta Skymiles, Hyatt Gold Passport and American Express Membership Rewards. I live -Tweeted from the event, so check out my tweets from yesterday for an overview, but the lifetime qualification question was asked and American answered.

In a nutshell, no decision has been made and when there is a decision, “it will be communicated aggressively.” While that doesn’t tell us much, it does tell us that there is still time to accrue as many miles that will count towards lifetime elite. I’m not anywhere close to a million miles on AA, but if I was, I’d be working diligently to cross the next threshold.

As soon as announcements are made, I’ll update you here, but in the meantime, check out the million miler programs of the legacy US carriers:

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  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.
US Airways: Calculation: Flown miles on US Airways/America West flights. Award: Lifetime silver status.

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