Want to Hold Onto Elite Status With Your Airline? It’s Going to Cost You.
When your airline cuts a great seat from a high-paying one, the company has to pay for the new one. It’s not just the extra time the person can be reimbursed for, but the cost to replace the seat. It can be the biggest cost your airline can ever incur.
This is where frequent flier miles and other special bonuses come in. If you’re flying on a regular schedule, they take up a very small space on your itinerary. But if you have a lot of miles, you can reserve a seat at a higher-than-normal rate. The extra miles you have can even go towards booking an elite level seat on the aircraft. And, as the name of the bonus is says, it’s only available to you as long as you fly on a frequent flier-friendly airline.
A person with 3,000 frequent flier miles can book a premium economy cabin on an American Airlines flight for $2,000 for an hour and 45 minutes. A person with 7,000 miles can book the same seat for $4,000.
But that doesn’t mean the airline is going to let you book the seat at that cost.
In fact, if you’ve got elite status with the airline, the total cost of your flight has to include the cost to upgrade your cabin, the cost to upgrade one of your seats, and most importantly, the cost to upgrade one of your seats.
And once again, it has to be flown on a regular aircraft.
“The fact that the airline will not be able to upgrade your seat without you flying on a regularly scheduled flight is pretty much the point,” said a frequent flyer who asked to remain anonymous for fear of losing his frequent flyer miles.
The biggest barrier to this new policy is the fact that most of those with the most frequent flyer status will have to give up their status in order to use the upgrade. This is because the policy only works for those with enough frequent flier miles to book both a premium economy cabin and an economy or business class seat for the full hour