Chasing Status: Like Running in a Hamster Wheel?

hamster-wheelThis week a new member seeks to understand why some travellers go to such extreme lengths to chase elite airline status. Some frequent flyers willingly spend dozens of unnecessary hours in the air – often for a hefty price tag – in order to supplement their status credit balance. Known as a status run, this is all done to reach the heights of Gold or Platinum airline status. So, what makes status so valuable? And is it really worth taking unnecessary flights to get there?

Many of our members hold status with one or more airlines. Each sees a unique sweet spot. For some, lounge access makes all the difference between an enjoyable flight and a dreaded experience. Others most appreciate the ability to avoid lengthy airport queues. One member likens their recent experience at a South American airport to the Sea of Galilee parting, after finding the priority check-in counter.

Another member believes status is invaluable when things go wrong. In the event of a flight cancellation, status flyers are first to be reaccommodated.

One member willingly acknowledges that their desire for status is irrational, and purely emotional. This member plans to spend $1,400 on a status run so they can own a shiny gold card that makes them feel “just a tiny bit ‘elite'”!

It seems that the beauty of status is in the eye of the beholder. One member compares the status chase to a hamster running in a wheel. Once earned, it can be tempting to spend even more on flights the following year in order to retain it. This member believes that while status is nice to have if you’re already flying a lot, it’s not worth undertaking an expensive status run to achieve.

How do you value status? Join the discussion HERE.


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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]