Tips for frequent flier miles

Leverage your frequent flier status for perks on other airlines

The goal of piling up frequent flier miles is not to get free plane tickets. The goal is actually to garner elite status.

Become elite, get the perks

The airlines won't go out of their way to tell you this (nor will gate agents always know your status unless you tell them), but once you achieve "elite status" on an airline (sometimes called "preferred" or "premier")—usually at 25,000 miles—you get all sorts of perks.

Elite status travelers usually get:

Other benefits abound; check your fine print. Also, the higher your elite or preferred status (gold/silver/platinum or whatever), the more and better the perks.

One annoying fine print wrinkle: usually, the miles must all be earned in a single year for "elite" or "preferred" status through the following year.

Elite on one, elite on all

That's all fine and well, but here's the real secret weapon. Once you are "elite" on one airline, you can claim elite status perks whenever you fly any airline in its alliance.

That means that you're elite on Delta or Continental, you're also elite on Alitalia, since they're all part of the Skyteam Alliance (

(The other two major airline alliances are and

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This article was by Reid Bramblett and last updated in June 2012.
All information was accurate at the time.

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Copyright © 1998–2013 by Reid Bramblett. Author: Reid Bramblett.