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It was a photo finish
At the end of 2016 I status matched my AA Executive Platinum Status to Alaska’s MVPG75. I valued Alaska’s miles and program much more than AA’s, and had been pleased with their communication regarding the Virgin America merger. When I matched, Alaska had standing partnerships with Delta and AA, and I figured hitting status wouldn’t be too difficult. Little did I know, Delta and Alaska would end their partnership in April, and AA’s earning chart would be gutted mid-year. Ouch. I had to re-strategize my entire year, which included giving up on any level of American status ( More on that ) and with a bit of luck, I just got notice I hit MVPG75. My last 3 flights of the year posted today ( Dec 27th, 30th, and 31st) , and I cleared by roughly 2000 Elite miles.
I really didn’t know if I was going to be able to squeeze it out, but I’m very happy I did.
The 50k bonus posted immediately:
As did my lounge passes:
I now have 12 companion upgrades.
This could be a good thing to do as a giveaway sometime this year. Stay tuned.
I’ll have to figure out who to nominate for MVP status
Another perk of MVPG75 is the ability to nominate someone for MVP status. A very cool perk.
I will put the bulk of my flights on Virgin and Alaska domestically, even if this requires a layover, or marginally more money. I just value the miles that much. I’m interested to see how upgrades start to work on Virgin America as the year continues. My hope is that by mid-year I’ll start receiving first class upgrades on Virgin metal.
I’ll also continue to choose international partners that earn huge promotional bonuses. Hopefully these continue for 2018 as Alaska and Virgin finalize their merger. Flying BA, crediting to Alaska, and upgrading with Avios has been a great way to earn a ton of Alaska miles and fly in great comfort. I’m interested to see who Alaska strikes partnerships with to Europe as they lost KLM/Air France ( Maybe Aer Lingus?).
What I’ll do regarding One World/ AA status.
My strategy involves 2 things. Hitting One World Sapphire via BA which will give me lounge access when flying domestically on AA, as well as access to Main Cabin Extra seating, etc. My loyalty year is May to May, so I run the risk of having no status on AA until June. I have a trip I’m planning at the end of May which should earn me 600 Tier points, and thus, 2 years of One World Sapphire. I’d be happy with that, but the trip could fall through if dates don’t end up working.
The other option is an AA Platinum status challenge. AA has recently given out status to many members, but the status challenge is still available to everyone. Since I carry no status at all, I’m eligible. Had I earned AA Gold I couldn’t challenge for Platinum, a weird preclusion that values non-elites more than lower tier elites, and incentivized me to avoid AA flights to drop from Executive Platinum to nothing at all.
I’m going to wait and see. Since I’ll be traveling far more on Alaska flights, I’m not too concerned about not having AA perks and privileges. In the past, there have been targeted offers for former Executive Platinums to regain status through a challenge, and most times it’s several months after status has been lost. If this happens, especially post July, I’d go for it as it would secure status through Jan, 2020. If not…my goal is to gain One World status via BA and enjoy lounge benefits, etc.
My $700 upgrade to BA First made the difference.
In September, I paid quite bit of money to fly from LA to London on BA first. It ended up crediting as a first class flight and gave me a bonus 5456 Elite miles. I’d toiled over the decision all year. As a blogger it was worth the upgrade to review the product and experience BA’s flagship cabin on their flagship plane. But, I ended up flying BA first again, prior to the end of the year, on the 747, in the nose, and that was super cool. Until I re-qualified, I was having a bit of buyer’s remorse. Was the $700 worth it in the end? Absolutely. It pushed me over the threshold for MVPG75. That’s impulse decision making 🙂
Affiliate link via Card Ratings
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great starter card that earns Premium Ultimate Rewards that can be transferred into over a dozen partners many of which are US based.
60k Points after $4k spend in 3 months
Transferrable Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you carry this card alongside Chase’s cashback cards like the Chase Freedom Flex℠and Chase Freedom Unlimited® or the business versions: Ink Business Cash , Ink Business Unlimited you can combine the points into Preferred account and transfer into hotel and airline partners
Annual fee is quite low at $95 a year + you get a 10% anniversary bonus on points + $50 hotel credit in Chase travel.
- 3x on dining
- including eligible delivery services for takeout
- 3x on select streaming services
- 3x on online grocery purchases
- (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
- 5x on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards – Chase Travel Portal
- $50 Annual Credit on hotel stays purchased via Ultimate Rewards/Chase Travel
- The begins immediately for new cardmembers and after your account anniversary for existing cardmembers
- 10% Anniversary Bonus
- Every year you keep the card, your total spend will yield a 10% points bonus. If you spend $10k in a year, you’ll get 1k bonus points
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® continues to redeem at 1.25c in the Chase Travel Portal and the slew of other benefits remain in tact including primary rental car insurance, purchase protections, etc.
- Points are transferrable to 13 Ultimate Rewards partners
- Redeem in the Chase Travel center for 1.25 cents per point
- No foreign transaction fees
- Suite of Travel and Purchase Coverage
- Primary rental car coverage is my favorite
We keep an up to date spreadsheet that lists the best ever offers: You can find that spreadsheet here.
Historically 80k is a very, very good offer and hit in both 2022 and 2023. In 2021, we saw the offer hit an all time high of 100k. Who knows if that will ever come back.
Cards that earn flexible points and should be used on the bulk of your purchases.
Cards that earn fixed points in the currency of the airline/hotel and can not be transferred at attractive rates. These cards yield benefits that make it worth keeping, but not necessarily worth putting a lot of your everyday spend on.