How to Earn Airline Elite Status, Fast

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I don’t think there’s ever been a time when every airline passenger was treated equally. Your travel experience has always been dictated by the class of service you are seated in, and having elite status is the easiest way to get an upgrade. Having airline elite status will also offer you priority service, fee waivers, and bonus miles.

On the other hand, it takes a long time to earn elite status, and now it often requires meeting a minimum spending threshold. Thankfully, the right credit card can offer you additional elite qualifying miles and even waiver of the spending requirements.

These seven credit cards allow you to earn airline elite status quickly.

1. Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®. This card offers you 10,000 AAdvantage® Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) after you spend $40,000 in purchases within a calendar year. This can be just what you need to earn elite status, or let you climb to the next level. In addition, new applicants can earn 75,000 miles after spending $7,500 in purchases within three months of account opening. And in the mean time, you’ll enjoy many of the benefits of elite status including priority check-in and boarding, a free checked bag, and an Admirals Club membership for you and all of your authorized cardholders. There’s a $450 annual fee for this card.

2. and 3. Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express and the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express. Both the business and personal versions of these cards offer new applicants 70,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card within your account’s first three months. You can also earn 10,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in a calendar year, and an additional 10,000 bonus miles and 10,000 MQMs after you spend a total of $50,000 in a year, for a total of 20,000 bonus miles and 20,000 MQMs. All of these MQMs can allow you to earn valuable Medallion status. In addition, cardholder benefits include priority check-in and boarding, free checked bags, and a domestic (contiguous 48 states), round-trip, economy class companion certificate each year. There’s a $195 annual fee for these cards (see rates and fees).

4. Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card. This card offers new accounts 40,000 bonus miles and 10,000 MQMs after you spend $3,000 in purchases within three months. You also earn 15,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) and 15,000 bonus miles after you spend $30,000 on purchases in a calendar year, and an additional 15,000 MQMs and 15,000 bonus miles after you spend a total of $60,000 in the same a calendar year (see rates and fees).

5. Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card. With this new premium airline card, you’ll earn 1,500 tier qualifying points (TQPs) for each $10,000 spent on in purchases, for up to $100,000 in purchases annually.  This can equal a total of up to 15,000 TQP of the 35,000 needed to earn A-List status.  Once you have A-List status, you’ll get priority check-in, a better boarding position and bonus points.  This card currently offers new applicants 40,000 points after spending $1,000 on new purchases within three months of account opening. Other benefits include a $75 annual travel credit, four upgraded boarding positions and a 20% rebate on in-flight purchases. There’s a $149 annual fee for this card.

6. Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card. This card also offers you 1,500 tier qualifying points (TQPs) for each $10,000 spent on in purchases, for up to 15,000 TQP annually. New applicants earn 40,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on new purchases within three months of account opening. There’s a $99 annual fee for this card.

7. Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card. The business version of this card also offers you 1,500 tier qualifying points (TQPs) for each $10,000 spent on in purchases, for up to 15,000 TQP annually. However, new applicants earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on new purchases within three months of account opening. There’s a $99 annual fee for this card.

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