You know it’s funny, the traveling world is filled with secrets and hacks that you can use to your benefit. I’d say one of the masters of travel hacking is Chris Guillbeau, this guy travels all over the world (around 120 countries) and really understands the ins and out of traveling. But I digress…
I’m sure everyone is already familiar with the various statuses one can achieve by flying i.e. gold, silver, platinum, etc; depending on how often you fly. The various status levels qualify you for various things such as lounge access and free flight upgrades. What most people don’t know though is that there are ways to get “status” on airlines such as American, without flying thousands of miles every month (side note, read this post by Chris on status matching). There are shortcuts.
American Airlines for example offers challenges that can instantly upgrade you to gold status if you complete them. These challenges aren’t really made public and are not even posted on the website, but if you call and ask about them American will tell you all you need to know. Here’s actually a great breakdown of what the challenges are all about (hat tip to Chris again).
I called American Airlines and here’s what you need to do:
Travel with American Airlines in a 90 day period enough to accumulate 5,000 points. Here’s a breakdown from American on what the miles/points are worth but essentially it’s one point/mile. Essentially if you take any long distance flight with around 5,000 miles round trip (for example across the United States), you are eligible to be upgraded to at least Gold Status. The tricky thing to remember is that you actually need to call American Airlines before you travel and tell them that you are going to complete a challenge so that they can monitor your activity. You will also need to join the American Airlines frequent flyer program.
I haven’t completed the challenge yet but I’m definitely going to the next I fly across the country or perhaps overseas.
What about you, do you have status on any airlines? What do you get and what it take for you to earn that status?