In this article I will explain to you in 3 easy steps, how anyone can reach Elite frequent flyer status fast. And the great thing is that you don’t even need to fly like crazy or spend a lot of money. I started this test and journey myself about one year ago and it works!
Looking back, it was really not that difficult to achieve. I got to Silver Elite status with SkyTeam in 3 months and reached Gold Elite status within 12 months. The 3 steps I am about to discuss, will work on any Airline and Alliance. For this particular example, I will be using the SkyTeam alliance, of which Delta, Air France and KLM are members. In the SkyTeam alliance, you can achieve higher status based on the number of flight segments. The number of flights, distance flown and class equal a certain number of status points or status miles. So to reach Silver Elite you need 100 of these Points on Air France & KLM.
Step 1: Fly with a domestic / international with a change
For example, let’s consider here a flight from Amsterdam to Singapore (direct = 2 x 12 = 24 points round trip in Economy Class).
There are a huge amount of flights everyday between Amsterdam and Paris, which are easy to make with short or medium connection times. That flight from Amsterdam to Paris takes only one hour. If we were to take the same flight to Singapore but with a change in Paris, we would earn an additional 10 points.
So now we are earning over 30% more points on the exact same trip in Economy Class, as we will receive 24 points + 10 points = 34 points earned in total! The system will allow you, to earn significantly more status points or miles, within the same single trip.
As a result you will reach Silver Elite Status much faster, without having to sacrifice too much of your valuable time taking extra flights. Often these connecting flights are considerably cheaper than the direct flights. Although the change involved usually ads only 1 hour to your total trip’s duration.
I recommend that you use Google Flights to search and track price changes, for the best connecting flights. Look for partner airlines within the SkyTeam alliance, such as Delta, KLM, Air France. This will help you to maximize your trip in terms of actual flight segments / flight segment points.
Step 2: Look for cheap (indirect) premium economy or business class
Did you know that there is a huge uplift on the number of award miles, if you fly in premium economy or business class? It is true…. Often business class is expensive. But if you can get a reasonably priced ticket, you can earn up to 3 times more status miles and points.
Think about it… if you were to fly business class intercontinental or within Europe with a short stopover like the one I explained for Paris earlier, you would already be almost halfway to the Silver Elite Status. And all that with just one single trip.
If you can fly business class for work, then this is the easiest way to shoot yourself to Gold Elite and higher. Only a couple of trips can already get you there. But if you fly maybe once a year for business in Economy class, try searching for premium economy and business class flights using again Google Flights. Especially if you don’t want to do connecting flights, this could be a good option for you.
Google’s system will allow you to track a couple of options and routes, using your favorite airlines alliance. If you already know when you want to travel and in which period, go ahead and track a couple of options in business class. Then watch as the price drops over time and Google will notify you about these changes conveniently via e-mail.
By flying incidental in business class with a stopover, you can very easily bridge a large gap between your current status and a higher status level on your favorite airline alliance. Google will help you find a fare which is not that much more expensive compared to economy.
Plus you will save yourself from purchasing many more direct economy class flights to reach higher status levels. And you will save yourself a huge amount of time too.
Step 3: Use an Airline Alliance branded credit card for status acceleration
If you are going to be using a credit card for your daily purchases, you might as well get an airline alliance branded credit card. I signed up for the SkyTeam American Express credit card, with Air France and KLM.
I took the American Express Platinum card, because AMEX offers the very best customer service and travel insurances. With this credit card, you will not only earn 1,5 miles for every Euro spent, but you will also receive 60 status points every year on KLM & Air France’s program. Now you will need only 40 additional points to reach Silver Elite status.
As an example and how to bridge these 40 points: that’s only one flight for work every year and one private flight as a minimum. All in economy class. It is much easier now to get to Silver and it really opens up the door to get to Gold or even Platinum.
If you force yourself to only use your credit card for all your online and offline purchases, you will earn an amazing amount of frequent flyer miles. Frequent flyer miles, that you can use to purchase upgrades, book award flights or use to reserve complimentary hotel nights or gifts from a large online shop.
I have created a video about the benefits of the American Express cards with SkyTeam, you can watch it here.
It includes a full return on investment analysis and why it is worth the annual fee. The different types of Air France / KLM American Express credit cards, including attractive sign-up bonuses, can be viewed online right here.
I hope you enjoyed reading this article and that it made you realize, that becoming an elite frequent flyer is not as difficult as it seems. You just need to use these 3 steps, stay loyal to one airline alliance and spend time researching the best available options on Google Flights.
Please share this article and send me your comments. I will be looking forward to hearing from you!