Airline Status: Useless in the pointy end?

One of our members (who clearly has discovered the best value redemptions) asks an interesting question:

Assuming I only travel on J/F flights earned via CC and redeemed on points. Status runs etc seem bit irrelevant? Only advantage is extra baggage allowance? What other advantages are there?

So what are the pointy end passengers missing out on should they not have status? Are their benefits that money (or points) cannot buy? In the scenario described, some of our members felt there was little to be gained with status.

Well sometimes certain seats may not be available, e.g. on the QF A380 the first three rows of J are reserved for WPs. If push comes to shove and someone has to be downgraded/off loaded then status will mean you’re not first.

Airlines put together benefits for their elite frequent flyers that are aimed at giving them some of the treatment reserved for pointy end travel. Often that is access to the first class lounge when travelling in a lower class, perhaps a glass of wine from Business or even an amenity kit. All those things can be bought as part of travel in the higher classes. What’s overlooked however, is the unwritten benefits status brings, as well as fast track benefits with third parties (or crossover benefits).

Qantas Platinum One status is a good example of where the unwritten benefits can make all the difference. Offers to join Qantas at the Grand Prix in our Corporate Box, or perhaps a tour and lunch the Queen Mary 2 are examples of experiences not on offer to everyone. On the other side of the domestic fence, some Velocity Platinum guests recently shared a fine dining experience with Virgin and its partner Singapore Airlines in Sydney. It seems that when it comes to putting together guest lists for exclusive events, it’s the frequent flyer list that rises to the top of the pile.

Crossover rewards on the other hand are a newer phenomenon, where the star treatment of being a valued guest does not drive away with the departing limo. Instead, hotel and hire car companies appreciate your value as a customer to the airline, and offer a status fast track in their own programs. Upgrades, welcome gifts, free services such as internet and breakfast are all on offer, all because of your elite status with an airline. That’s something a first class ticket cannot buy!

Do you think chasing status is a waste of time if your travel solely in the premium cabins using points? Have you had experiences money or a first class ticket cannot buy, join the conversation HERE.


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