Which Airline Elite Status Should You Pursue in 2022?

Know your travel goals for the year before deciding which elite status is worth the effort.

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Airline elite status offers many valuable benefits, like complimentary upgrades, lounge visits and more. However, airlines regularly make changes to their loyalty programs that make travelers question if elite status is worth it. So, which airline status should you pursue in 2022? Here’s how to decide.

Elite status requirements for 2022, broken down by airline

Determining which airline status you should pursue in 2022 depends on your current elite status, how much you plan on flying and how much you'll charge to your credit cards this year.

Alaska has currently extended elite status through April 30, 2022, for all members who held elite status as of January 1, 2021, even if they didn't requalify by year end. This provides more time for members to enjoy benefits and potentially requalify.

Qualifying flights

MVP

MVP Gold

MVP Gold 75K

MVP Gold 100K

Eligible miles earned on Alaska Airlines, Oneworld alliance and global partners

20,000.

40,000.

75,000.

100,000.

Eligible segments flown on Alaska Airlines, Oneworld alliance and global partners

30.

60.

90.

140.

Qualification via eligible miles or segments must include this minimum number of flights marketed and operated by Alaska Airlines

2.

6.

12.

24.

Starting March 1, 2022, American revised its previous AAdvantage qualification metrics to a more simplified Loyalty Points program. Members earn miles on flights, co-branded credit card purchases and eligible partner transactions. Each mile earned is equal to one Loyalty Point.

Loyalty Points needed for status:

Elite status level

Loyalty Points

Gold

30,000 points.

Platinum

75,000 points.

Platinum Pro

125,000 points.

Executive Platinum

200,000 points.

Delta Medallion status is based on your annual spending on flights with Delta and its partners (Medallion Qualification Dollars) and either the number of miles or segments flown (Medallion Qualification Miles or Medallion Qualification Segments). You may be able to waive the spending requirement based on your total purchases on an eligible Delta co-branded credit card.

Elite status level

Medallion Qualification Miles requirement

Medallion Qualifying Dollar requirement

Silver

25,000 MQMs.

$3,000 or MQD Waiver.

Gold

50,000 MQMs.

$6,000 or MQD Waiver.

Platinum

75,000 MQMs.

$9,000 or MQD Waiver.

Diamond

125,000 MQMs.

$15,000 or MQD Waiver.

Hawaiian Airlines Pualani elite status is earned based on the number of miles or segments flown on a revenue fare by Hawaiian Airlines.

Pualani Gold

Pualani Platinum

30 segments or 20,000 miles.

60 segments or 40,000 miles.

JetBlue traditionally has only one level of elite status: Mosaic. However for 2022, JetBlue introduced Mosaic+ with even more perks, like free Mint premium seat upgrades and a complimentary FoundersCard elite membership. This additional elite status level is only available through the end of 2022.

Mosaic

Mosaic+

15,000 Mosaic qualifying points.

OR

30 segments + 12,000 Mosaic qualifying points.

OR

$50,000 in eligible spending on the JetBlue Plus Card or JetBlue Business Card.

45,000 Mosaic qualifying points.

OR

$150,000 in eligible spending on the JetBlue Plus Card or JetBlue Business Card.

Southwest offers two different types of elite status — A-List and Companion Pass. A-List status has two tiers based on qualifying flights or tier qualifying points (points earned from revenue flights or spending on eligible Southwest credit cards). Additionally, with these cards, you can earn an unlimited number of tier qualifying points.

Qualifying points earned toward the Companion Pass are measured differently from those earned toward A-List. And different types of transactions qualify for each elite status. For example, partner hotel stays and car rentals count toward the Companion Pass but do not count for A-List status.

Elite status level and Companion Pass

Requirements

A-List

25 one-way flights or 35,000 tier qualifying points.

A-List Preferred

50 one-way flights or 70,000 tier qualifying points.

Companion Pass

100 one-way flights or 125,000 Companion Pass qualifying points.

United has lowered its elite status qualifications for members to earn status through 2023. The number of Premier qualifying points and Premier qualifying flights required have been lowered across all levels of elite status to make it easier to qualify. PQPs were added to member accounts based on the elite status achieved at the end of 2021, which should accelerate reaching 2023 elite status goals. Additionally, PQPs earned from eligible United co-branded credit cards now count toward Premier 1K status.

Premier status

PQF and PQP

or higher PQP goal

Premier Silver

8 PQF and 3,000 PQP.

or 3,500 PQP.

Premier Gold

16 PQF and 6,000 PQP.

or 7,000 PQP.

Premier Platinum

24 PQF and 9,000 PQP.

or 10,000 PQP.

Premier 1K

36 PQF and 13,500 PQP.

or 15,000 PQP.

Why it could be a good year to earn elite status

With many airlines reducing elite status requirements or carrying over 2021 activity, achieving elite status should be easier to attain in 2022. For all airlines mentioned above (with the exception of Mosaic+), if you earn elite status this year, you'll enjoy those benefits through at least the end of 2023. In some cases, the elite status year extends beyond the calendar year, so you'll have extra time to use your elite benefits.

If you're ready to travel again, there's a chance you'll receive upgrades and other perks that previously may have been reserved only for top-tier elites. With many consumers and business travelers still wary of traveling, there should be fewer elites ahead of you on the upgrade list.

While some countries still maintain strict coronavirus measures, more and more countries are opening up their borders to international travelers. And many are reducing or eliminating their testing and quarantine requirements, making it easier to travel for short visits.

For travelers who have elite status or are able to earn it based on the qualifications listed above, now is a good time to match your status to other airlines. Many airlines offer status match opportunities to elite travelers to try to convince them to switch their travel preferences. This could be a good way to try another airline or to move your business if you're not happy with the benefits you've been receiving or with the changes in the loyalty program.

Credit cards that help travelers earn elite status

Some airline credit cards enable travelers to earn or accelerate elite status based on their spending. You may want to consider a credit card from one of these airlines if earning elite status is a travel goal this year.

  • American Airlines. Every dollar you spend with an AAdvantage credit card counts as one Loyalty Point toward elite status.

  • Delta Air Lines. At times, Platinum and Reserve cards offer MQMs as part of their welcome bonus offer. You can also earn additional MQMs based on your annual spending. Plus, you'll receive an MQD waiver based on your spending on an eligible card.

  • JetBlue Airlines. Achieve Mosaic elite status when you spend $50,000 or more on eligible purchases with the JetBlue Plus Card or the JetBlue Business Card.

  • Southwest Airlines. Welcome bonuses and all points earned from purchases on co-branded credit cards count toward earning the Southwest Companion Pass. Additionally, select cards earn 1,500 tier qualifying points toward A-List status for every $10,000 you spend each year. Some limitations apply.

  • United Airlines. Earn PQPs toward elite status based on your spending each year on eligible cards.

The bottom line

When thinking about which airline elite status you should pursue in 2022, keep in mind the above requirements and your travel plans. While many of these loyalty programs offer appealing benefits, if your expected flights won't qualify, it may not be worth the effort. Depending on which elite status you're aiming for, one of the airline's credit cards may make it easier to achieve status based on your spending. If you charge enough to your credit card, you may even be able to earn elite status before taking your first flight.


How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2022, including those best for:

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