PointsHoarder 29: Chasing status or buying the benefits
So, how much are you spending on elite status these days? And does it matter if your travels are paid for by an expense account? With the announcement last week by United that they are joining Delta in tracking spend for elite status in 2015 the dollars involved have become a much more significant topic than they used to be. With our mix of leisure and business travelers on the show I think we provide a pretty balanced view of what it means for you and whether you need to be worried (or looking for a new address).
Some of the other changes in the past week were actually good news. Delta and Virgin Atlantic moved forward in their partnership and starting early next week reciprocity for redeeming and earning points kicks in. There are some reciprocal elite benefits, too, but don’t expect to be hanging out in the Virgin Clubhouse at JFK before all your Delta flights; they aren’t stupid.
Which airlines are best for frequent flyers and why? The answers might surprise you, at least until you take a step back and consider the definition of “frequent flyer” and also what most of them are looking for. Remember that the points game – while bigger now than it used to be – still hasn’t really gone mainstream, at least not the way we play.
Finally, on the status front, there was some more discussion of whether status is even worth chasing at all. There are ways to get at many of the benefits just buy purchasing them a la carte and the NY Times has a story about some of them. Upgrades on the cheap; who needs an elite card. And, while not discussed in the episode, the WSJ column on status matches is pretty interesting, too.
All that and more on this week’s episode.