New promotions from three airlines allow frequent fliers to earn double miles toward elite status. Benefits can add up, with free baggage allowance for you and your traveling companions, free space-available upgrades and priority check-in and boarding. Plus, you can reserve choice seats in the front of coach, in the exit rows and on the aisles.
With these promotions, travelers can earn double the miles they actually fly toward elite status when they travel on paid flights this spring. You won't earn double frequent-flier miles; you'll only accrue miles toward elite status faster.
Fly through June 15 to earn double elite-qualifying miles. The offers are valid for tickets purchased on American, for travel on American, American Eagle or AmericanConnection; on United, for travel on United or United Express; and on Continental, for travel on Continental, Continental Express, Continental Connection or Continental Micronesia.
You must register for these promotions before traveling. To do so, visit www.aa.com/aadvantage, www.continental.com/onepass or www.united.com/eqmoffer.
To qualify for the first tier of elite status, you need to earn 25,000 miles, so you'll only have to fly 12,500 miles during the promotional period. The first tier of elite status is Gold on American, Silver on Continental and Premier on United.
One round-trip flight to Australia from anywhere in the continental United States would earn you enough for elite status. Travel to Sydney has been cheap this year, with recent flights from Tampa (via Atlanta and Los Angeles) for $673.
Passengers with elite status who travel two or more times a year can really save on baggage fees, especially if they're traveling with friends or family on the same record.
Once you earn elite status, you will have it for the remainder of 2009 and throughout 2010. On American and Continental, you probably will have it through February 2011, because their elite-program years typically run from March through February.
If you fly short-haul flights, elite travelers can earn a 500-mile minimum, instead of actual miles flown.
On all three carriers, you'll earn a 25 percent bonus on actual miles flown if you qualify for the first tier of elite status and 100 percent bonuses for the higher tiers of elite status.