Earn Airline Elite Status (Before Year End) in a Hurry With These Methods

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Earn Airline Elite Status (Before Year End) in a Hurry With These Methods

Joseph HostetlerEarn Airline Elite Status (Before Year End) in a Hurry With These MethodsMillion Mile Secrets Team

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2019 approaches, and with it the fruit of your 2018 airline elite status efforts.  Have you secured your elite status for next year yet?

If you’re close to earning elite status from flying in 2018, some of the best travel credit cards can get you that last-minute boost you need to achieve your goal.

Here are a few basic tips to help you achieve your status in a hurry with American Airlines, Delta, United Airlines, JetBlue, Alaska Airlines, and Southwest.

Targeted Free American Airlines Status Do You Qualify
You Could Be in Line for Exclusive Perks With Airline Elite Status

Here’s what to do if you need a top-up to help you reach that next elite status level!

American Airlines

Here’s what it takes to earn American Airlines elite status:

You Can Get a Bump Up to American Airlines Elite Status With Certain Cards

Here’s how you earn it.

Credit Card Spending

You’ll earn 5,000 Elite Qualifying Miles for every $20,000 in qualifying net purchases each calendar year (up to 10,000 EQMs each year) with the AAdvantage® Aviator® Silver MasterCard®.

You’ll also earn 10,000 Elite Qualifying Miles after spending $40,000 in purchases within the year with the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®.


You’ll earn American Airlines miles based on the actual number of miles you fly, which is multiplied by the type of ticket you buy.  So if you find a cheap inconvenient 3-connection flight across the country, it could be worth jumping on a plane just to accumulate the Elite Qualifying Miles!

But regardless of the number of miles or segments you fly, you’ll also still have to meet a minimum spending requirement (Elite Qualifying Dollars) to earn status.


Here’s what it takes to earn Delta elite status:

Similar to American Airlines, You’ll Need to Fly and SPEND a Certain Amount to Reach Elite Status With Delta (But There’s a Way Around the Spending)

Here’s how you earn it.

Credit Card Spending

There are several cards that help you earn airline elite status:

With the current offers on the AMEX Delta Platinum personal and small business cards, you’ll earn:

  • Another 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles after spending $50,000 in a calendar year

These cards have increased offers ending September 19, 2018.

With the AMEX Delta Reserve personal and small business card, you’ll earn:

  • 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles after spending $3,000 within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Another 15,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles after you spend $30,000 in eligible purchases in a calendar year
  • Another 15,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles after you spend $60,000 in eligible purchases in a the calendar year

So you’ll earn Silver Medallion status after spending $25,000 on an AMEX Delta Platinum card.  Or, if you are a big spender and you’re nowhere near the elite status you want, you could potentially open more than 1 AMEX Delta card by the end of the year and earn a whole bunch of Medallion® Qualification Miles!

Keep in mind there’s also a spending requirement to reach elite status.  But with certain cards this requirement is waived.

For example, you can get the Medallion® Qualification Dollar amount to reach Diamond Medallion Status if you make $250,000 or more in eligible purchases during the calendar year with one of these AMEX Delta credit cards.  And the Medallion® Qualification Dollar requirement for Platinum, Gold, or Silver Medallion status will be waived if you make $25,000 or more in eligible purchases in that year with your eligible AMEX Delta credit card.


You’ll earn Medallion® Qualification Miles based on how far you fly, and the type of ticket you purchase.

The Number of Medallion Qualifying Miles You’ll Earn Depends on the Class of Service and the Fare You Paid

So if you find a cheap long-haul flight, hop on it!

Status Challenge

If you currently have elite status with another airline, Delta will gift you their equivalent status for 3 months.  You’ll then have to fly a certain amount on Delta to retain that status more than 3 months.

You can check out the Delta Status Challenge here.

United Airlines

Here’s what it takes to earn United Airlines elite status:

You’ll Have to Fly and Spend to Earn United Airlines Elite Status as Well

Here’s how you earn it.


You’ll earn Premier Qualifying Miles based on the distance you fly and the type of ticket you purchase.  So if you find a dirt-cheap long-haul flight, it could be worth booking just for the Premier Qualifying Miles (except for the very cheapest “N” fares).

Status Match Challenge

You can have your United Airlines account upgraded for 90 days to an elite status based on the level you have in another frequent flyer program.  For example:

A Status Challenge Might Do the Trick If You Have Elite Status With Another Airline

Then, to retain the status, you’ll have to earn a certain number of Premier Qualifying Miles or segments on United Airlines within that 90-day period.

Premier Accelerator

Please don’t do this.

You can use a feature called Premier Accelerator to boost the number of Premier Qualifying Miles you’ll earn on your upcoming flight.  The price per mile can be WELL over 10 cents each.  Unless you’re just a smidge away from earning status, that’s robbery.

Alaska Airlines

Here’s what it takes to earn Alaska Airlines elite status:

Earning Elite Status on Alaska Airlines Is MUCH More Simple

Here’s how to earn it.


You earn miles based on the number of miles you fly.  So a cheap flight to anywhere could be worth the miles.

Status Match

You can match elite status on Alaska Airlines with Aeromexico, Air Canada, American, Delta, Frontier, Hawaiian, JetBlue, Southwest, and United Airlines.

To do so, you’ll need to provide proof of your elite status with one of the airline programs above.  Just head to the online status match page and submit:

  • A screenshot of your online elite account showing your name, current status, and your year-to-date miles flown
  • Your Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan number

Team Member Keith wrote about his experience doing just this.

You’ll earn elite status through the rest of 2018, and then you’ll have to qualify the normal way for 2019.


Here’s how you earn JetBlue Mosaic status:

Even Simpler! JetBlue Mosaic Status Rules Are Easy to Understand

Here’s how you get it.

Credit Card Spending

You’ll receive Mosaic elite status after you spend $50,000 on the JetBlue Plus Card or the JetBlue Business Card from Barclays.  Easy peasy!


How to earn Southwest elite status:

Southwest Elite Status Isn’t as Valuable as Other Airlines, but It’s Still a Nice Deal If You Can Get It

Credit Card Spending

If you have the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card or the Chase Southwest Premier personal and small business cards, you can earn 1,500 tier qualifying points for every $10,000 in eligible net purchases you put on your card (up to 15,000 tier qualifying points per year).

If you’re a big spender and you have a couple of these cards, you can earn top-tier Southwest status without stepping foot on a plane.

Bottom Line

If you’re scrambling to reach elite status before the end of the calendar year, your worries could be alleviated by opening a credit card or two!  Plenty of the top travel credit cards come with miles that help you qualify for elite status.

Many airlines also still award elite qualifying miles based on the number of miles you fly.  So it could be worth jumping on a cheap-o long haul flight to a destination you care nothing about if it will earn you fancy perks for 2019.

Let me know your elite status strategy, or anything you think should be included in this post!

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Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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Mr. Cyril Uebbing

Nice job