|by Jason Steele|
I have always said that the hardest ways to earn airline miles is to actually fly on an airplane. Well, the same can be true of reaching higher status levels in airline’s elite. You can get there by flying on paid tickets, so called “butt in seat” miles, but there are actually other ways to do so.
How To Make Elite Status Without Hardly Trying
1. Credit Cards. Just because you are not leaving home often, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy elite status when you do. Several premium credit cards offer elite status miles. The Delta Reserve and Platinum cards as well as the newest American Airlines Executive card come to mind. In the case of Delta, there are enough miles at stake with their Reserve card that one could actually make Silver Medallion status before setting foot on a paid flight, especially if you spring for both the business version and the personal version.
2. Be A Republican Elected Official In Georgia. Yes you too can earn free Delta Medallion status, merely by obtaining elected office in their home state of Georgia. It appears that Delta has been handing out Platinum and Gold Medallion status to Georgia legislators under the guise of “campaign contributions” that they conveniently value at far less than what most travelers would value them. Coincidentally, these same legislators also voted to extend the sales tax break that Delta receives for fuel purchases. This offer only appears to be valid for members of the Republican Party.
3. Provide In Flight Medical Assistance. I know a doctor who was recently able to provide medical assistance during a transcontinental Delta flight. Her actions prevented the carrier from having to make a costly diversion. Although this person remains a lowly Silver Medallion, all of the sudden she seems to be upgraded 100% of the time. This offer only appears to be valid for doctors who actually have the chance to use their skills in flight, although technically she still remains a Silver Medallion.
Elite status is still a closely guarded commodity. Airlines will offer it for flight miles, and very rarely on other occasions. I think it is telling that Delta chose to give out only Gold and Platinum status, not the highest Medallion status in their
bribes “campaign contributions” to elected officials. Even the upgrades given to my Doctor friend were not officially deemed to be status. There seems to be some hidden setting that Delta can give people to ensure upgrades, even from the lowest Medallion level. Finally, there are plenty of credit card based opportunities to earn status. These cards typically require a high level of annual spending.
I never understood why elite status was traditionally granted only on the basis of miles flown. It would seem like dollar spent would be a much more efficient way of granting status to one’s best customers. Fortunately, there is one practical way to earn miles without flying, and two much more unusual possibilities as well.