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Old Nov 16, 11, 7:45 am   #1
 
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Which card for free upgrades to first class?

does anyone know which card automatically upgrades its users to first class for an airline. This is a perk that would get me paying up to a grand per year in membership. I am platinum with us airways but doesnt fly everywhere i wanna go.... anyway more specifically delta airlines..
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Old Nov 16, 11, 8:52 am   #2
mia
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No credit card will provide guaranteed upgrades on any airline. Two Skymiles credit cards issued by American Express will give you a number of EQM (Elite Qualifying Miles) which will allow you to qualify faster for the next level of Skymiles elite status. Read about the Platinum and Reserve cards here:

http://skymilesoffers.delta.com/cred...umer_index.php


The other possibility is an American Express Centurion card, but it exceeds your stated budget and you cannot apply, you must be invited. It is generally believed that the minimum spend to elicit an invitation is between $250,000 - $500,000 per year. Centurion includes automatic Delta and US Airways Platinum status, and other benefits. There is a $5,000 initiation fee, and the annual fee is $2,500.

Last edited by mia; Nov 17, 11 at 8:00 pm.
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Old Nov 16, 11, 3:15 pm   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by allworld97 View Post
does anyone know which card automatically upgrades its users to first class for an airline. This is a perk that would get me paying up to a grand per year in membership. I am platinum with us airways but doesnt fly everywhere i wanna go.... anyway more specifically delta airlines..
You've got several concepts combined, which should be separated. First, no airline "automatically upgrades" anyone. The closest is thing is that they automatically put you on the upgrade request list, but the actual upgrade is never guaranteed. (And see below about how status level affects this.)

Second, no airline even puts you on the upgrade list if you don't have elite status. So what you need is elite status.

Third, as mia already explained, no card gets you status on an airline. However, some cards get you closer to status. (But you still have to fly paid trips on the airline to make up the difference.)

Fourth, all of this card activity only gets you (part way) to the first level of status. But on most ailrines, someone with only the lowest level of status gets fairly few upgrades (but it depends a lot on the routes you fly, the days/times you fly, etc, etc). But no card gets you to higher levels of status. You generally need higher levels of status to get a sizeable number of upgrades to actually go through.
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Old Nov 16, 11, 3:20 pm   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdsearch View Post
You've got several concepts combined, which should be separated. First, no airline "automatically upgrades" anyone. The closest is thing is that they automatically put you on the upgrade request list, but the actual upgrade is never guaranteed. (And see below about how status level affects this.)

Second, no airline even puts you on the upgrade list if you don't have elite status. So what you need is elite status.

Third, as mia already explained, no card gets you status on an airline. However, some cards get you closer to status. (But you still have to fly paid trips on the airline to make up the difference.)

Fourth, all of this card activity only gets you (part way) to the first level of status. But on most ailrines, someone with only the lowest level of status gets fairly few upgrades (but it depends a lot on the routes you fly, the days/times you fly, etc, etc). But no card gets you to higher levels of status. You generally need higher levels of status to get a sizeable number of upgrades to actually go through.
Not quite correct. AmEx Centurion gets you status with DL at the second highest DM level and IIRC the same on US. I believe it also gets you some hotel status, for example with SPG.

At one time, certain tickets booked through AmEx PTS/CTS were upgraded into IFC from expensive business fare classes, but my understanding is that now one only gets a companion ticket instead.
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Old Nov 16, 11, 3:24 pm   #5
 
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The above posters have given accurate information.


If such a card existed (except for Amex Cent) I think many people would pay far more than one thousand dollars a year.
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Old Nov 16, 11, 5:08 pm   #6
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Originally Posted by allworld97 View Post
does anyone know which card automatically upgrades its users to first class for an airline. This is a perk that would get me paying up to a grand per year in membership. I am platinum with us airways but doesnt fly everywhere i wanna go.... anyway more specifically delta airlines..
One more thing: If you look into it, you may find that the grand per year that you were willing to pay for a card, if instead put into Mileage Runs, could get you close to lowest-level status on another airline. (Of course, it would cost some time on plane trips you others wouldn't need to take, in addition to the grand.) 5 transcons will net you very close to (or maybe even slightly over*) 25k elite qualifiying miles, and if you pick them very carefully only during sales, you might be able to do 5 same-day-turn transcons for about one grand (or at least not much over). Visit the Mileage Runs forum for more on this alternative concept for getting to status with a grand.

(*LAX to BOS is slightly over 5000 miles round trip, but LAX to JFK is slightly under 5000 miles round trip.)

Of course, since you dind't mention where you are, it's hard to say how practical this is. It might be easier for someone near either coast than for someone in the middle of the country, I don't know. (I'm based near LAX and so only experience with doing it from here.)

Of course, again, that grand-or-so of judiciously chosen mileage runs will still only get you to the lowest level of status, which may or may not get you what you consider a reasonbly success rate on upgrades (as I already explained in my previous post).
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Old Nov 18, 11, 8:04 am   #7
 
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Originally Posted by mia View Post
The other possibility is an American Express Centurion card, but it exceeds your stated budget and you cannot apply, you must be invited. It is generally believed that the minimum spend to elicit an invitation is between $250,000 - $500,000 per year. Centurion includes automatic Delta and US Airways Platinum status, and other benefits. There is a $5,000 initiation fee, and the annual fee is $2,500.
Damn. But I suppose somebody who has a $250k+ in annual Amex spending may very well already have earned elite status on one/many carriers. MoMoneyMoProblems.
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Old Nov 21, 11, 2:16 pm   #8
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Originally Posted by OtherDave View Post
Damn. But I suppose somebody who has a $250k+ in annual Amex spending may very well already have earned elite status on one/many carriers. MoMoneyMoProblems.
They can probably afford to pay for first class, as well...
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Old Nov 23, 11, 8:12 am   #9
 
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Originally Posted by sdsearch View Post
You've got several concepts combined, which should be separated. First, no airline "automatically upgrades" anyone. The closest is thing is that they automatically put you on the upgrade request list, but the actual upgrade is never guaranteed. (And see below about how status level affects this.)

Second, no airline even puts you on the upgrade list if you don't have elite status. So what you need is elite status.

Third, as mia already explained, no card gets you status on an airline. However, some cards get you closer to status. (But you still have to fly paid trips on the airline to make up the difference.)

Fourth, all of this card activity only gets you (part way) to the first level of status. But on most ailrines, someone with only the lowest level of status gets fairly few upgrades (but it depends a lot on the routes you fly, the days/times you fly, etc, etc). But no card gets you to higher levels of status. You generally need higher levels of status to get a sizeable number of upgrades to actually go through.
That is what i meant. I was looking for a credit card that provided elite status on the airlines which would put me on the upgrade list to 1st class when i buy a coach ticket.

I am a US airways platinum member and 95 percent of the flights from charlotte to laguardia i was upgraded to first class when i was a silver and almost all of the time when i became a gold. So the lowest level status (at least with us airways) does get you places.

Delta from what im experiencing is more of a pain in the ... airline.
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Old Nov 24, 11, 2:07 pm   #10
 
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until June 2011 the JP Morgan Palldium card offered

Quote:
Complimentary upgrade to first-class with each full-fare round-trip business class ticket from the U.S. to London
That benefit has ended but I heard there will be something similar added in the future.
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Old Nov 24, 11, 2:51 pm   #11
 
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Question is if you wouldn't be able to buy F tickets at about the same price as full-fare business tickets though...
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Old Nov 24, 11, 6:21 pm   #12
 
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Originally Posted by agehall View Post
Question is if you wouldn't be able to buy F tickets at about the same price as full-fare business tickets though...
True. But then Amex's 2-for-1 biz class is often not the deal amex advertises it to be either.
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Old Jan 22, 12, 9:58 pm   #13
 
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Are there credit cards that help/enable you to get elite status on any airline?

The Intercontinental or Priority Club cards and the Hilton Amex do for hotels, but how about for airlines.

I can see that Citi/AA has a me-too version of Amex Platinum that gives 10K status miles after 40K of spending (which means only 90K from flying). Are there others?

I'd like to boost my chances of hitting Exec Plat or Star Gold using a card if one exists. I don't fly SkyTeam that much.
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Old Jan 23, 12, 12:40 am   #14
 
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The Presidential Plus card from CO earns flexible EQM (I believe 1k EQM after every $5k of spending) that can get you elite status up to CO Platinum (1K is not obtainable from only credit card spend). The Mileage Plus Select Visa Signature card earns 1 EQM for every dollar spent on United (up to 5k per year).

The OnePass Plus/Mileage Plus Explorer/Various Delta cards can get you various elite-like perks on their respective airlines.

Honestly, if you have three alliances to choose from (and your flying is that spread out), you would be much better consolidating your travel onto a single airline.
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Old Jan 23, 12, 1:04 am   #15
 
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FlyerChrisK, I go to London a fair bit and really like the day flights from BOS-LHR which are only on OneWorld. I also fly to Toronto, Newark, and sometimes Houston, which are really Star Alliance (with occasional trips to Basle, Zurich and Munich that are typically best done on Star Alliance and to Singapore which is convenient on SQ). Plus trips to lots of random places depending upon the client and the year (Mexico City, Atlanta, Dubai, Hyderabad, Sydney, ...).

For the last ten years, I've been Gold on BA but don't think the change to Avios is good for Boston-based flyers and will probably switch my FF allegiance back to AA (and want to be Emerald and not Plat). This past year I was also Star Gold on AC, but might not hit that without some help this upcoming year. So, it's not easy to consolidate on one alliance.

I'm under the general impression that United does not treat its elites particularly well (relative to BA, for example) unless they are GS. Is Continental better? If so, do we have any reason to believe the Continental treatment will survive the consolidation?
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