Will we be upgraded in 2022? Here’s where TPG’s staff stands midyear on our airline status quest

Jun 14, 2021

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We’ve officially entered the second half of the year, and if you’re trying to maintain elite status, now may be an excellent opportunity to map out your goals for the rest of the year. After all, with travel picking up again, it’s looking less likely that airlines will fully extend status by another year again.

Do you have summer travel planned, holiday travel for later in the year, or upcoming business trips? Is this your first time chasing elite status? You may be wondering whether it’s even worth it to pursue elite status for the rest of the year.

Obviously, chasing elite status looks a lot different this year. Many airlines have reduced elite status qualification requirements and offer various promotions, making it significantly easier to qualify for status than usual.

To help you decide on a strategy,  we want to highlight where TPG staffers stand so you can compare your elite status progress to our most frequent flyers.

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In This Post

Brian Kelly, founder and CEO of The Points Guy

Brian Kelly United progress
(Screenshot courtesy of United)

United Premier 1K

Premier Qualifying Flights (PQFs): 4
Premier Qualifying Points (PQPs): 9,548

American AAdvantage Executive Platinum

Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMS): 31,950
Elite Qualifying Segments (EQSs): 6
Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQDs): $7,175

JetBlue Mosaic

Mosaic Qualifying Points: 1,914
Segments: 1

Brian’s take:

I currently have a handful of airline elite statuses but am focusing on one in particular: United Premier 1K. I’ve been flying United from Newark (EWR) a lot more recently, as it’s the easiest to get to from where I quarantined in Pennsylvania.

I also should be able to requalify for American AAdvantage Executive Platinum thanks to the reduced requirements and all of their recent promotions. For instance, when registering for the mid-year loyalty promotion, I took advantage of the opportunity to purchase 10,000 EQMs for $495. Even though we’ve seen a number of devaluations over the years — including the long-feared, apparent shift toward dynamic pricing — I still get a ton of value from the Systemwide Upgrades I receive each year.

Other than that, I expect to requalify for JetBlue Mosaic through spending on my cobranded JetBlue card. Exclusively for 2021, I can get automatic Mosaic status by spending $30,000 on my card and earning just 4,000 Mosaic Qualifying points.

Related: All of the elite qualification changes you need to know about for 2021


Summer Hull, Director of Travel Content

United Premier Gold

Premier qualifying flights (PQFs): 10
Premier qualifying points (PQPs): 5,000

Summer’s take:

I’ve had Gold status the last few years, goal is either Gold or Platinum this year. I’ll be at 6000 PQPs and about 16 PQF by mid-way point by end of July. That means Gold is a guarantee and with the summer PQP bonus, but I may enter the fall with a chance to hit Platinum if I shift spending to my United Club Card and pick up more PQPs that way. Building a house may help with having expenses to leverage on one card or another.


Clint Henderson, Senior News Editor

Clint Alaska status progress
(Screenshot courtesy of Alaska Airlines)

Alaska Airlines MVP Gold 75K

Elite-Qualifying Miles: 57,167
Elite-Qualifying Segments: 27

Delta Platinum Medallion

Medallion Qualification Miles: 82,645
Medallion Qualification Segments: 2
Medallion Qualification Dollars: $540

Clint’s take:

I’m going for top-tier Alaska Airlines status again this year as an MVP Gold 75K. I’ll also requalify for Delta Platinum (thank you rollover MQMs). I will not requalify for AA Platinum Pro but the entry of Alaska into Oneworld means I will retain top tier Sapphire status and it will get me upgrades on AA metal with my Alaska Mileage Plan number.

Related: Alaska teases 100K status tier for 2022 — here’s what it might offer


Zach Honig, Editor-At-Large

United 767-300 Polaris
United 767-300 Polaris. (Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)

United Premier 1K

Premier Qualifying Flights (PQFs): 12
Premier Qualifying Points (PQPs): 10,376

JetBlue Mosaic

Mosaic Qualifying Points: 3,592
Segments: 1

Zach’s take:

Although I recently moved to Philadelphia, United MileagePlus continues to be my airline program of choice. I’ve only taken a dozen flights so far this year, but thanks to several generous promotions, I’m on track to requalify for Premier 1K, even with the relatively small number of trips I have planned for the rest of 2021. I also currently have Alaska MVP Gold 75K from a status match, but I don’t expect to requalify. Instead, I’ll earn JetBlue Mosaic, which I’m hoping will earn me perks like Main Cabin Extra seat assignments on American next year, thanks to the airlines’ latest partnership.


Benji Stawski, Strategic Travel Reporter

Flagship First Check-In JFK
American Airlines Flagship First Check-In at JFK. (Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)

JAL Mileage Bank Diamond

FLY ON points: 45,029
Segments: 8

Alaska Airlines MVP

Elite-Qualifying Miles: 3,681
Elite-Qualifying Segments: 1

Benji’s take:

Although it’s going to be a challenge if Japan Airlines doesn’t announce any more loyalty promotions, I’m hoping to keep my JAL Mileage Bank Diamond status. This Oneworld Emerald status allows me to access American Airlines lounges and Flagship First Check-In even when flying domestically in the U.S. While first class upgrades are rare, I also get to select Main Cabin Extra seats on American Airlines flights at the time of booking for no additional cost.

Despite being the lowest tier in Alaska’s program, I’ve also been chasing Alaska MVP status for the last several years. I get free exit-row seats at the time of booking and am often upgraded to first class, including on transcontinental flights. Plus, with the 50% bonus on redeemable miles I earn, I can quickly rack up some pretty valuable miles. However, my progress for requalifying is pretty grim and now that Alaska joined the Oneworld alliance, I’d rather credit flights to JAL. But who knows, I only need about three-and-a-half more transcontinental roundtrips to requalify and there’s no elite spending requirement.

Related: 5 reasons I love having entry-level elite status with Alaska


Katie Genter, Senior Writer

American Airlines AAdvantage Executive Platinum

Katie's current American Airlines elite status situation
(Screenshot courtesy of American Airlines)

Elite qualifying miles (EQMs): 9,196
Elite qualifying segments (EQSs): 5
Elite qualifying dollars (EQDs): $394

Delta Airlines Silver Medallion

Katie's current Delta elite status situation
(Screenshot courtesy of Delta)

Medallion qualifying miles (MQMs): 14,266
Medallion qualifying segments (MQSs): 6
Medallion qualifying dollars (MQDs): 2026

United MileagePlus Premier Silver

Katie's current United elite status situation
(Screenshot courtesy of United)

Premier qualifying points (PQPs): 0
Premier qualifying flights (PQFs): 0

Asiana Club Diamond

Katie's current Asiana elite status situation
(Screenshot courtesy of Asiana)

Tier miles: 0
Flights: 0

Katie’s take:

I didn’t fly much during the pandemic before becoming fully vaccinated. And even now, many of the routes I like to travel for lucrative airline elite earnings are still closed to tourists. My elite status goals and plans have changed a lot since the start of 2021. Frankly, this will be a difficult year to earn the higher-tier airline elite statuses that I’m working toward.

American Airlines status

The above stats for American Airlines are before I accept the most recent promotion of 3,000 bonus Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQDs) and up to 10,000 bonus Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs). But, even after these promotions, I’ll be far from the 80,000 EQMs and 12,000 EQDs required for Executive Platinum (or even the 60,000 EQMs and 7,000 EQDs required for Platinum Pro).

However, I have a lot of Oneworld flights booked during the last six months of this year. In particular, I have flights that would get me up to 112,130 EQMs and 13,442 EQDs by the end of 2021 before considering the promotional EQDs and EQMs. But, due to border closures and ever-changing entry and transit requirements, it’s impossible to determine now whether some of these trips will be possible.

Delta Medallion status

I didn’t expect to go for Delta Medallion status this year. But, a last-minute work trip to Italy to try out the COVID-tested flight experience as a tourist got me halfway to Silver status. And, I have enough SkyTeam flights booked during the remainder of the year to get me close to Delta Gold Medallion (59,030 MQMs and 5,304 MQDs). However, I expect some of these trips will get canceled due to ongoing border closures. As such, I expect I’ll only earn Delta Silver Medallion this year. But, if border restrictions ease significantly in the upcoming months, I may push for Gold Medallion.

United Airlines status

I plan to earn Marriott Bonvoy Titanium Elite status this year. And, one benefit of this hotel elite status level is being able to enroll in complimentary United MileagePlus Premier Silver status thanks to Marriott and United’s Rewardplus partnership. So, I’ll likely earn United status despite not crediting any flights to the airline.

Asiana status

Finally, there’s Asiana Diamond status. Asiana Club uses a 24-month qualification window based on when you initially enrolled. Unfortunately, due to the coronavirus pandemic, I haven’t made any progress during my 24-month evaluation window (Jan. 1, 2020 through Dec. 31, 2021). And to maintain Asiana Diamond status for 2022 and 2023, I’d need to earn 30,000 tier miles or fly on Asiana Airlines 30 times.

I have flights booked in 2021 that would get me 11,940 tier miles. But, this won’t be nearly enough unless Asiana lowers its requirements or extends the qualification window. However, requirements to maintain status are less than requirements to earn status from scratch. So, it may be worth booking more flights near the end of 2021 to keep Asiana Diamond status. After all, I enjoy having Star Alliance Gold status when flying with Star Alliance carriers.


Benet Wilson, Senior Credit Cards Editor

Benet Southwest status progress
(Photo courtesy of Southwest)

Southwest A-List

Tier-Qualifying Points (TQPs): 19,1-5
Segments: 17

Benet’s take:

I’m well on my way to get the 25 one-way flights I need to requalify for Southwest A-List. In December 2018, I had to do a last-minute mileage run and swore I’d never do it again. I have more than enough flights already booked through November to easily get my A-List status in 2022.


Stella Shon, Writer

Delta Gold Medallion

Medallion qualifying miles (MQMs): 40,407
Medallion qualifying segments (MQSs): 4
Medallion qualifying dollars (MQDs): 712
Card spend: $5K

Stella’s take:

I opened the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card ~2 months ago when the welcome offer was 80K miles + 20K MQMs. I just achieved the spending minimum recently, so I’m set for Silver Medallion status right now but am shooting for Gold (need less than 10,000 more MQMs) before the end of 2021. Once I spend $25,000 on the card by the end of the year, then I’ll get the MQD waiver, which will get me Gold Medallion status secured for 2022. Although I have $20,000 more of spend by the end of the year, my plan is to put expenses like rent and my car payment on my card to get to the spending threshold.

The Delta Reserve Card’s current welcome offer is 80,000 bonus miles and 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn a $200 statement credit after your first Delta purchase within the first three months. Offer ends 7/28/21.

Related: How to earn Delta Medallion elite status without flying in 2021


Andrew Kunesh, Senior Reporter, Cards & Loyalty

Delta One seat on 767
Delta One on the 767. (Photo by Benji Stawski / The Points Guy)

Delta Platinum Medallion

Medallion Qualification Miles: 64,538
Medallion Qualification Segments: 13
Medallion Qualification Dollars: Credit card waiver

Andrew’s take:

This year I’m focusing on Delta Platinum Medallion status. Delta has been my airline of choice over the past year or so, mostly due to its extensive NYC route network and better-than-average service. I think Platinum status is the best deal for Delta elite status since it has valuable benefits and is eligible for the $25,000 Amex MQD waiver. It’s also easier to earn this year with Delta’s status boost program.


Featured photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn a $200 statement credit after your first Delta purchase within the first three months. Offer ends 7/28/21.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles after spending $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months and a $200 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
  • Limited Time Offer: Plus, get a 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening, then a variable 15.74%-24.74%. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
  • Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
0% on purchases for 12 months
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.