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Which airline elite status is hardest to attain?

Which airline elite status is hardest to attain?

Old Aug 11, 15, 1:45 pm
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Which airline elite status is hardest to attain?

http://www.umbiumbiclub.com/

After a quick trip to Luanda, I was just looking at status on DT's Umbi Umbi Club and noticed that to attain Gold (the top tier) one must spend US$60,000 in 18 months - DT's program is based solely on spend, a model many other airlines are moving towards.

I am not sure about all programs but US$60,000 seems a heck of a lot of spend to attain top tier status on any airline, particuarly when you look at the benefits DT offers its elite.

I don't think EK's IO can be compared as it is not an official published tier level so I have just compared DT's Gold with EK Platinum, although I think DT's Gold is more akin to EK Gold. I achieve Gold on EK spending less than 1/6th of DT's spend requirement and could achieve EK Platinum for less than half of DT's requirement.

Of the programs I am familiar with and others that I have looked at, DT's seems by far the most difficult (ie, expensive and requiring the most amount of miles flown as a result) to obtain top tier status.

Are there any other programs out there that are harder to obtain top tier status on?
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Old Aug 11, 15, 2:03 pm
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UA GS or LH HON
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Old Aug 11, 15, 2:29 pm
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Originally Posted by Time traveller View Post
UA GS or LH HON
I also would add DL unless you spend a lot on a Amex card.
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Old Aug 11, 15, 2:32 pm
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Originally Posted by Time traveller View Post
UA GS or LH HON
What would typical annual spend be to obtain UA GS or LH HON?

Like EK Platinum, these top levels offer benefits that DT Gold does not, although in EK's case it is easier to obtain this top tier level than to obtain DT top tier.

DT Gold is more akin to Star Alliance Gold - and that is being generous! The spaghetti bolognaise I enjoyed (or didn't) in DT lounge was not on a par with most lounges! And DT partners are few and far between.
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Old Aug 11, 15, 3:15 pm
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In addition, BA's Premier status typically requires being responsible for upwards of 2m in travel expenses and is invitation only. SQ's PPS is no ride in the park either. AF has something called Club 2000 I believe, which a business colleague has, though he's not sure what it does for him!
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Old Aug 11, 15, 4:56 pm
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Originally Posted by groundops View Post
... US$60,000 seems a heck of a lot of spend to attain top tier status on any airline...
Let's not confuse "hard" with "expensive." There's no minimum flying requirement, just a minimum spending requirement. Many people think $60,000 is a lot of money (I certainly do!), but others, and many companies, don't.

I would argue that any status level that requires 100,000 or so actual "butt in seat" flight miles is HARDER - not more expensive, but HARDER - to attain than one that essentially gives you status for writing a sufficiently large check.
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Old Aug 11, 15, 5:33 pm
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In a country as corrupt as Angola, there will be plenty of people who will spend that much.
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Old Aug 11, 15, 6:10 pm
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Originally Posted by LondonElite View Post
In a country as corrupt as Angola, there will be plenty of people who will spend that much.
Precisely. However, the thought of spending 200 hours in an economy airplane seat, or 130+ hours in any airplane seat reflecting 1.5x status credit for paid premium-class travel, would turn their stomachs. So, which is really harder? (Hint: it's not spending the money, if $60K is chump change to someone.)
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Old Aug 11, 15, 7:48 pm
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Don't forget DT is not exactly expensive to fly. It is cheaper than all other airlines flying to Luanda as no one would fly it otherwise. A J class return from LAD to JNB to LAD is $1145 at present. So if you flew that once a week for a year and took advantage of DT's current US$600 round trip fare LAD to GIG to LAD and so slipped a Y class mileage run in to Rio during one of those weeks, you could acheive Gold that year!

ETA ~ If you joined SAA Voyager and flew on its cheapest J Class LAD to JNB to LAD you would achieve Star Alliance/Voyager Silver after eight flights (two months in), Star Alliance/Voyager Gold after your next six flights (now three and a bit months in) and Voyager Platinum after your next 10 flights (after about half a year) and it would only cost you about US$36,000. That is why DT's program is both hard (you have to do a lot more flights) and expensive (almost twice the price of SAA's) and arguably Star Alliance Gold/Voyager Platinum on SAA is better than Gold on DT's Umbi Umbi.

Last edited by groundops; Aug 11, 15 at 8:38 pm Reason: To show the difference in difficulty and expense between Voyager and Umbi Umbi
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Old Aug 11, 15, 8:32 pm
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As a number of airlines have invitation-only above-the-top-normal-level statuses (with unpublished qualification criteria), I would think those are truly the hardest to attain, since neither a known amount of spend nor a known amount of flying will guarantee those.
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Old Aug 11, 15, 8:43 pm
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Originally Posted by sdsearch View Post
As a number of airlines have invitation-only above-the-top-normal-level statuses (with unpublished qualification criteria), I would think those are truly the hardest to attain, since neither a known amount of spend nor a known amount of flying will guarantee those.
EK IO, it is purported, requires annual spend of US$1m. BA Premier, someone above, suggesed needs $2m.
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Old Aug 12, 15, 3:27 am
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SQ PPS Solitaire requires S$250k within 5 years counting only SQ first & business class.
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Old Aug 12, 15, 3:57 am
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Originally Posted by groundops View Post
BA Premier, someone above, suggesed needs $2m.
It generally requires being responsible for a travel budget of in excess of 2m. BA Prems are not the most frequent flyers, but those that steer large amounts of money to BA, so it goes to senior decision-makers, not necessarily flyers. Status must be approved annually by the BA board.
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Old Aug 12, 15, 7:12 am
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Originally Posted by groundops View Post
http://www.umbiumbiclub.com/


I am not sure about all programs but US$60,000 seems a heck of a lot of spend to attain top tier status on any airline, particuarly when you look at the benefits DT offers its elite.
I've already spent that much this year and will spend more in the coming months.

It's not that difficult if your company pays for business class. Luckily, my job requires that I go to different cities, but if your company had a lot of business in Angola, it would be different.

I sincerely believe that any company that's serious about their international business strategy should pay to keep their employees happy and well-rested.

...Well, I can see why start-ups or small businesses can't afford business class, but international efforts can cost millions, if they can't fork over the cash to pay for a decent plane ride, perhaps they need to re-evalute whether they're ready to go global.

Note: this opinion is coming from someone who has worked at a small company and a large company, with tons of int'l economy experience. It's just not worth the toll it takes on your body if you travel more than a few times a year.
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Old Aug 12, 15, 11:17 am
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Originally Posted by Efrem View Post
I would argue that any status level that requires 100,000 or so actual "butt in seat" flight miles is HARDER - not more expensive, but HARDER - to attain than one that essentially gives you status for writing a sufficiently large check.
Not to mention that those 100,000 miles could garner you somewhere between 0 and 25,000 status miles, based on class of service. That's almost too painful to contemplate
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