Airline Elite Status: Is It Worth It?


What is airline elite status? Is it a big deal? Should you try and get airline elite status?

One year I bought an economy-plus subscription from United so I could always fly in comfort. That is when I decided flying in comfort was worth it. That economy-plus seat was much nicer than regular economy. I just didn’t want to pay a yearly subscription to do it year after year.

My solution? Get elite status. One of the easiest ways to get elite status is to pick one airline you always fly on and primarily use that airline when you pay for a ticket. With a credit card, of course! I live near Denver, a United hub, so it is a no-brainer for that to be my airline of choice. I prefer to save my points and miles for business-class seats when I travel internationally so I don’t mind paying cash for domestic flights and earning elite status with United.


Why is Elite Status Important?

I recently achieved Gold Premier status with United and was so excited! Why? Previously, as a Silver Premier member, I got to pick an economy plus seat at check-in and check in at the Premier Access line. I like those perks of flying. I was fortunate to get an economy-plus seat on almost every flight.

With Gold Premier status, I can book those economy-plus seats when I book my seats. Additionally, I can book them for a companion traveling with me too. I get more complimentary upgrades on flights (I just got one last week!) and can get checked for two free bags. One of the best things about my recent upgrade is that I also get Star Alliance Gold status which means that whenever I am flying to an airport with a Star Alliance Gold lounge, I can go in it. Last year, I went into a really nice airport lounge in Athens with this status.

I am sure that the higher elite statuses will offer me even more benefits, but I am happy with Gold Premier for now. Your elite status with another airline would be similar, and you should research what you would get.


Two women on plane

Thanks to elite status, sitting in Economy Plus seats is always a nice treat!


Ways to Obtain Elite Status

Meet Airline Requirements

Each airline has its own requirements regarding obtaining elite status. You will want to check out the requirements for the airline you would like elite status us.

With United, you have to start with a minimum of 4 flights. To obtain United Airlines’ requirements to get Silver Status, their first status, you must fly 12 PQFs (Premier Qualifying Flights). This means twelve take-offs and landings, not in the Basic Economy class. You also have to have 5,000 PQPs (Premium Qualifying Points). You get one point for every dollar spent, so you must pay $5,000 in United purchases. The following items qualify:


screenshot United Airline

Alternatively, you could fly the four flight segments and increase your PQP to $5,000.



Status Match Challenge

If you have elite status, you can sometimes status match it to another airline and get their elite status. My husband and I have often status matched from United to Alaska Airlines.


Screenshot statue match challenge

This is from Alaska’s latest match challenge. You get the elite status for 90 days, and then they offer you reduced miles to fly and keep it for a year. It’s really easy to do. Just upload a screenshot of your elite status and information about your account. This is usually offered once or twice a year.

What if you have status with United and then move to an airport that United doesn’t serve? Do you have options when a status match challenge isn’t being offered? Absolutely! I can ask another airline to status match my elite status. Most airlines will do this. Simply google “status match” and the airline name, and see what you need to do.

I googled “airline elite status match delta,” and this page was presented:


Screenshot Delta Status Match


Most airlines will offer a similar form, including:

  • Air Canada
  • Alaska Airlines
  • American Airlines
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • Southwest Airlines
  • Turkish Airlines
  • United Airlines
  • Virgin Atlantic


Bottom Line

Airline elite status may not be your thing. If it is, there are several ways to obtain it. I totally enjoy having my United Gold Premier status and think airline elite status is worth going after. What are your thoughts?


Airplane in the sky with clouds

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