Is Elite Status Still Worth It?

by Zac George

2016 has already been a huge year for airlines and their frequent flyer programs. We’ve seen many have devaluations, implement somewhat ’enhancements’ which don’t make the program better, and we’ve seen programs go revenue based.

With the amount of passengers wanting to travel more and more, airlines are often having to adjust to these increases. Buying more aircraft, changing seating configurations, adding new lounges the list goes on and on however, a lot of these changes are making people angry and frustrated.

Elite status used to be something that only a very small percentage of flyers would hold and the benefits were huge, sadly I wasn’t born then so I wouldn’t be able to tell you everything about it. Now a very large percent have some sort of status. It’s become so easy to get status that people can sign up for a credit card and get status with hotels, rental car companies and even airlines, it’s no longer exclusive.

Image: Quickmeme.com

Image: Quickmeme.com

Most business people travelling for work would have status andthat’s fine as they are getting  value out of it and using it to the best of their ability however, some people are getting status for the sake of it. It only makes sense to get the status if you travel frequently and you’re going to get a lot of value out of it or you’ve just wasted thousands of dollars to hold a gold or black card. I was guilty of this when I first started travelling, due to being at school I couldn’t take advantage of these benefits but now working full-time It’s much more valuable to me and I use it as much as I physically can.

You don’t want to be like this after a status run for no reason...

You don’t want to be like this after a status run for no reason…

Airlines have always had pricing war’s and now most travellers are deciding to choose the cheaper airline to get them from A to B and not worrying about their miles or status which is sad to see however the programs are getting harder and harder to understand a small percentage still care about it.

Qantas Status (Image: Houstongroup.com.au)

Qantas Status (Image: Houstongroup.com.au)

Collecting miles and points while flying used to be a good way to increase your balance, but in the last few years we’ve seen them offing more miles when you’re on the ground rather than in the air. They are offering things like selling huge amounts of miles at a discount, shopping portals are being more generous with rewards and banks are teaming up with airlines and offering big sign up bonuses which you can then transfer to that airline.

Summary 

It’s really sad to see program get worse but I guess we will have to get used to it. Status is fantastic when you get value out of it if you don’t though, you’re holding a VERY expensive piece of plastic.

 

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1 comment

Kerry Whitfield June 15, 2017 - 6:42 pm

I agree! Back in the late 80’s mid 90’s when I did a lot of international flights I was issued with a AAdvantage Gold FF card. Then the upgrades started. I couldn’t believe some of the great (free) upgrades I was given at the gate.

“Sorry Sir, your flight Sydney to LA is full in economy, we’re upgrading you to business class”

“We’ve upgraded you from economy to First….” Wholey shit!

Maybe I was just lucky. But whatever, I’m a firm believer in belonging to any – and every, loyalty program you can join – even Priceline, Rivers and Dan Murphy. These days I rarely rent cars, but I’m a loyalty member of every car rental company – hey, it’s free to join and you generally get a free upgrade and 10% off. Same with the airlines, no matter who you fly with you’ve got to try to join their loyalty program before you book.

I look at it this way. Maybe your number for something free or an upgrade will never come up, but at least you’ve got your hook baited and a line in the water.

If you don’t want to fork out $1200 a year for a Platinum Amex card, there’s always Diners Club for lounge access.

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