Q4 is Here: Make Sure You Gain Elite Airline Rewards Status For 2012

Q4 2011 is already here.  2011 has just “flown” by (okay, no more corny jokes).  It’s time to make sure you get elite airline reward mileage status in 2012.

Fourth-quarter planning is important for your airline travel. You want to make sure you use the last remaining business trips of the year to maximize your airline reward status for 2012.  Here’s some tips:

List all the trips you have planned for the balance of 2011 and check them against your progress toward elite status in airline programs for 2012. If you’re coming up short, consider making cheap flights that add a lot of miles, which will help you get to your preferred status level.  Seasoned business travelers call this a “mileage run”.

If you’re already at the most elite level you can reach with a certain airline, perhaps you may want to shift shift the last flights of the year to another airline.  This is a good strategy if you’re close to elite status at a second airline, and just need the last remaining flights of the year to put you over the balance.  You may not want to try this strategy if you’re an Elite member of the Delta’s SkyMiles program, and aren’t planning to fly as much in 2012.  Delta has a “rollover” feature that allows you to apply “excess” 2011 flying to a the next year’s elite qualification.

Also, if you really don’t like the current airline you fly the most, now is a right time to consider asking for a “status match” for 2012.  Most airlines will match some or all of your existing status with your current carrier automatically to get you to switch to them.  Some airlines require a flying “challenge”, where you prove how much you can fly with them over a certain time period before they match your status.  Call the different airline’s frequent-flyer program for details.

US Airways allows you to purchase elite status outright.  But do you really want to fly U.S. Airways that much in 2012?  I didn’t think so.  United and Continental airlines should announce details of their post merger 2012 Mileage Plus program in the next week or so.  Most likely elite status in their 2012 plan will be based on your flying with the existing United Mileage Plus and Continental OnePass plans.

Good luck in your pursuit of 2012 elite airline status!

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