Big Spenders: Spend Your Way to Airline Elite Status

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Big Spenders: Spend Your Way to Airline Elite Status

Million Mile SecretsBig Spenders: Spend Your Way to Airline Elite StatusMillion Mile Secrets Team

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BIG SPENDER SERIES:

Airline Elite Status via Credit Card Spending

Airline elite status is a great benefit if you travel frequently on paid tickets because it will help you save time at the airport and you will get additional miles for flights.  But I wouldn’t spend my way to airline elite status if I was an occasional traveler.

You can earn – outright – all levels of Delta Medallion status via credit card spending and Silver elite status on Virgin Atlantic via credit card spending.

For $280,000 in annual spending (less the 1st year because of the sign-up bonuses) you could earn top tier Delta Diamond status which puts you first for upgrades, gets you 125% more miles for paid flights, free lounge access, and the ability to gift Delta Gold elite status to anyone.

Delta is the only US airline which lets you get top tier status via credit card spending.

American Airlines, Southwest, US Airlines, Virgin America and Virgin Atlantic don’t let you earn elite status outright via credit card spending, but you can earn elite qualifying miles or points which could help you reach an elite status level.

Note that the calculations below do NOT take into account the sign-on bonus – because you may already have these cards – but just the recurring benefit for regular big spending on the credit card.

Earn Full Elite Status Via Credit Card Spending

  • Delta:

    •  Silver Medallion Status (25,000 MQMs) after spending $55,000
      • $30,000 for 15,000 MQMs on the Delta Reserve card
      • $25,000 for 10,000 MQM on the Delta Platinum card
      • Earn a total of 25,000 MQMs and 80,000 redeemable Delta miles

       

    •  Gold Medallion Status (50,000 MQMs) after spending $110,000
      • $60,000 on the Delta Reserve card for 30,000 MQMs
      • $50,000 on the Delta Platinum card for 20,000 MQMs
      • Earn a total of 50,000 MQMs and 160,000 redeemable Delta miles

       

    •  Platinum Medallion Status (75,000 MQMs) after spending $170,000
      • $60,000 on the personal Delta Reserve card for 30,000 MQMs
      • $60,000 on the Business Delta Reserve card for 30,000 MQMs
      •  $50,000 on the personal or business Delta Platinum card for 20,000 MQMs
      • Earn a total of 80,000 MQMs and 250,000 redeemable Delta miles

       

    • Diamond Medallion Status (125,000 MQMs) after spending $280,000
      • $60,000 on the personal Delta Reserve card for 30,000 MQMs
      •  $60,000 on the Business Delta Reserve card for 30,000 MQMs
      • $50,000 on the personal Delta Platinum card for 20,000 MQMs
      • $50,000 on the business Delta Platinum card for 20,000 MQMs
      •  An additional $60,000 on the Delta Reserve for 30,000 MQMs in someone else’s name (partner, friend etc.) whom you trust to transfer the MQMs to your account
      • Earn a total of 130,000 MQMs and 410,000 redeemable Delta miles

       

  • Virgin Atlantic:

    • Silver elite status after spending $37,500 on the Bank of America Virgin Atlantic credit card

American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, US Air & Virgin America don’t let you earn elite status outright without flying, but you can earn elite qualifying miles  via credit card spending to perhaps get a bump to the next status level.

Spend Your Way to Airline Elite Status – The Details

1.   American Airlines

Link:   Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®

  • 10,000 elite qualifying miles after spending $40,000 within your January to December billing cycles

2.   Delta

You can earn Delta’s top tier Diamond status just by spending on a credit card without entering a Delta plane.  I’m not sure why you’ll want Delta top tier status if you don’t fly with them, but you can use this method to accumulate elite miles which will count towards lifetime Delta status.

Elite or Medallion miles earned via a Delta Reserve credit card can be transferred to anyone’s Skymiles account, so you can theoretically have someone else transfer elite qualifying miles to your account.

You can earn 100,000 MQMs after spending $220,000 within a calendar year (30,000 MQMs each for the personal and business Delta Reserve, and 20,000 MQMs each for the personal and business Delta Platinum.  

You would also earn 320,000 redeemable Delta miles each year (220,000 Delta miles at 1 mile per $1 spent & 100,000 bonus miles) after spending $220,000 (not including sign-up bonuses).

And if you want to go for top-tier Diamond status on Delta you could have a friend or family member apply for the card and then add yourself as an authorized user and spend $60,000 on the Delta Reserve card.  Your friend or family member would then gift you 30,000 elite qualifying miles.

This together with the 100,000 miles above will get you 130,000 MQMs which is 5,000 MQMs more than the 125,000 MQMs needed for Delta Diamond status!

Delta Platinum Card:

Link:   American Express Delta Platinum (Personal & Business)

  • Earn 10,000 bonus elite & redeemable  miles on the Delta Platinum personal or business card after spending $25,000 in a calender year
  • Another 10,000 bonus elite & redeemable miles on the Delta Platinum personal or business card after spending $50,000 in a calender year

Delta Reserve Card:

Link:   American Express Delta Reserve (Personal & Business)

  • Earn 15,000 bonus elite & redeemable  miles on the Delta Reserve personal or business card after spending $30,000 in a calender year
  • Another 15,000 bonus elite & redeemable miles on the Delta Reserve personal or business card after spending $60,000 in a calender year

3.   Southwest Airlines

Link:   Chase Southwest Airlines Premier (Personal)

Link:   Chase Southwest Airlines Premier (Business)

  • 15,000 Tier Points after spending $100,000 from your December statement date to the next December statement date
  • Earn 1,500 Tier Qualifying Points toward A-List and A-List Preferred Status for every $10,000 you spend on the card (capped at 15,000 Tier points)
  • $100,000 in spending will count towards the 110,000 points required for the Southwest Companion Pass.

4.   US Airways

Link:   Barclays US Airways (Personal)

Link:   Barclays US Airways (Business)

  • 10,000 elite qualifying miles after spending $25,000 within a calendar year on the personal and business US Airways card

5.   Virgin America

Link:   Barclay’s Virgin America Card

6.   Virgin Atlantic

Link:   Bank of America Virgin Atlantic

  • Spend $37,500 for 15 tier points to get  Silver elite status (earn 50% bonus miles on flights)
  • You earn 1 tier point for every $2,500 spent on the card, and you can earn up to 2 tier points per month.  That’s 24 tier points a year with $5,000 spending per month ($60,000 per year)

Bottom Line:  Big Spenders can get top tier elite status on Delta and get extra elite miles for spending on credit cards.

 

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by American Express. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of American Express, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express. This site may be compensated through American Express Affiliate Program.

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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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Hi just curious how one can apply both The personal reserve and platinum? I am preparing for the new year application and have some amount to spend but the applications say one can’t have another delta personal card within 12 months. So how is it possible that one can apply for and have both cards at one time?

I travel often for business, usually two times or so a month. I used to be Silver Preferred on US Air but that recently went away due to either US Air increasing the requirement or me falling just under the needed amount. To re- establish and keep my Silver Preferred status for the future I wanted to look into getting the US Air Credit Card (the $89 annual fee card) with the hopes that spending a few of my business expenses on there would boost me back into Preferred Status.

Would you consider this a sound approach? Does it this work this way? Can I get back to Silver Preferred just by using my credit card and doing some moderate travel (which right now doesn’t get me to that level)?

Thank you!!

Jerry

Author
Million Mile Secrets

@Jerry Hines – You will get 10K elite miles after spending $25K within a calendar year on the US Air credit card. You need 25K elite miles to get US Air Silver status, so you’d need to earn 15K miles from your regular travel. Or you can buy some of the elite miles needed to get US Air status —> http://www.usairways.com/en-US/dividendmiles/preferred/buy-up-to-preferred.html

Commenting on what Penny wrote on the AA miles with credit card. Frankly speaking you were close so maybe AA GOLD status would have some value for you. In my opinion (Lifetime Plat) Gold is not worth much on American. Even as I am lifetime Plat the benefits are not as much as you think. In fact Delta at Diamond or Plat is better than AA Plat. Delta does upgrade on domestic flights for status flyers. AA will leave empty seats in F and never move a Plat up in class without using stickers or vouchers. Now with American in Chpt 11 they may merge with another airline and who knows what will happen to Plat. I got to AA lifetime (2 million) by using the card over many years etc. Exec Plat on AA does have alot more value than Plat. if you fly AA alot.

Thank you so much for your prompt reply! Now I can stop searching everywhere for this answer. I know that you have the definitive answer to all of these questions. Much appreciated. Safe travels! 🙂

I was never made aware of the changes to the American Airlines Citicard last year or that they had a limited time offer in which one could accumulate miles through purchases that would accrue to Million Miler status on American Airlines. I am 60,000 miles away from Million Miler status and I keep checking to see if there are any American Airlines credit cards offered (even for a limited time) that will allow me to get credit towards Million Miler status with purchases that I make on that card. It appears that the very last offer was a year ago where for a $450 annual fee one could accrue miles for Million Miler Status with the opening of a new American Airlines Executive World Elite Credit card. That offer expired December, 2011 and was good for miles accumulated through December , 2012. I have searched everywhere and hope that you can give me the answer. Is this option available anyway, anywhere, anyhow on American Airlines any longer? Thanks!

Author
Million Mile Secrets

@CAROL PENNY – Unfortunately, there are no current ways to earn miles towards lifetime status on American Airlines using a credit card. But you could just mileage run or try to find cheap flights to get the 60K flights you need.

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