What is a Mileage Run and Other Frequent Business Traveler Questions
American Airlines’ AAdvantage program, launched in May 1981, is the granddaddy of all frequent flyer programs. These programs credit flyers for miles flown with the airline and, in many cases, its partners both within an alliance and as part of a separate partnership. Members can accrue points via other means as well. This includes purchases from specific stores, credit and charge card usage, dining out at specific restaurants, and hotel stays.
Most airlines also award flyers “status” based on flying a certain number of miles within a year, typically at 25,000, 50,000, 75,000, and 100,000 miles. These levels are identified by names (see chart)
Flyers achieve these levels by reaching the requisite number of miles [referred to by various names including Elite Qualifying Miles (American and United) and Medallion Qualification Miles (Delta)] or by flying a specified number of segments (for example, United will give its top published status, 1K, to flyers reaching 100,000 miles or 120 segments).
The benefits of achieving a so-called “elite” status vary, but can include access to lounges (regardless of travel class), a bonus in elite qualifying miles when flying in first or business class, the ability to reserve better seats including enhanced economy class, free or discounted upgrades, priority in standing by for a different flight, priority in not being bumped if a flight is oversold, fewer or no nuisance fees, … well, you get the picture.
As a result, there are a lot of flyers out there who want to maintain their status with a particular airline, but sometimes their flying for the year doesn’t quite meet the airline’s requirements.
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