Elite Upgrades in 2017 & Status for 2018

During 2017, I carried elite status on American Airlines, Virgin America and United. The upgrade results were almost 100% which isn’t typical! Checkout the results below…

American Airlines Executive Platinum

American Executive Platinum is top tier status and required 100K+ of flying in 2016 to use this status in 2017. I’m happy that I made a mileage run trip to Portugal for a weekend as I was upgraded on 100% of my domestic flights and cleared all requested upgrades to Business Class on international flights. Wow!

SFO-LAX (x3)

Using SWU’s (Systemwide Upgrades):
LAX-LHR (x2)

Using Miles + Co-Pay:

I re-qualified for Executive Platinum again for 2018 so hopefully I’ll have another year of upgrades 🙂 The requirement during 2017 was 100K+ EQM (elite qualifying miles) and $12K+ in EQD (elite qualifying dollars) which wasn’t easy, but there is a trick. If you are trying to qualify for American Executive Platinum I’d highly recommend flying their Oneworld partners in Premium Economy. I flew multiple flights in Premium Economy (E Class) on Cathay Pacific to boost my EQD and EQM miles. You earn 1.5x in EQM and EQD is calculated at 20% of the miles flown rather than what you paid for the ticket. For LAX-HKG on Cathay Pacific in Premium Economy, I paid $800 for the ticket and earned: 10,871 EQM & 1,450 EQD. ~50% of my qualifying EQD was posted by Cathay Pacific flights.

AA Elite Qualification 2017

AA Elite Qualification 2017

Virgin America Silver (now Alaska MVP)

Virgin America Silver status was the lowest tier of the program although Virgin only had 2 levels, Silver & Gold. To achieve Silver Status, you had to earn 20,000 status points or take 15 qualifying segments within a calendar year. I flew 15 segments in 2016 therefore I just qualified for Silver status. I was upgraded to Main Cabin Select on 91% of my flights during 2017 whereas I was only upgraded on 46% of my flights in 2016 while holding the same Silver status. The results are a bit skewed as 55% of my flights in 2017 were between SFO & SAN.

SFO/SAN (x6)
SFO/LAX (x2)

I didn’t re-qualify for Silver status for 2018 although due to the Alaska Airlines integration they granted me MVP status until the end of 2018. Excellent surprise during this tough transition as Virgin America comes to a close!

Alaska MVP

Alaska MVP

United Airlines Silver

I never fly United and only have status thanks for Marriott Platinum status. I flew United once from SAN to SFO, but with a Basic Economy fare it didn’t do anything.

0% upgrades with United 🙁

Which airline elite statuses do you carry? How was your luck with upgrades in 2017? Comment below…

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1 Response

  1. Ketz says:

    Palo, thank you for this post. Its very inspiring.

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