There are a few simple ways to greatly improve your next business trip, and one is gaining elite status.

If you want to get the most out of your business trips, elite status perks significantly improve your traveling experience and, consequently, your productivity. While perks vary from airline to airline, they often include a faster line to your security checkpoint, complimentary access to airport lounges, priority boarding and more comfortable seating. You can also save money with free checked bags, in-flight Wi-Fi and meals.

How can you score those coveted elite status perks? You have a few options available.

Earn It
the Old Fashioned Way.


Flying enough with one airline to reach an elite status tier is the simple way. If you’re traveling weekly or going on cross-country trips often, this method actually isn’t that difficult. For example, you could reach American Airline’s Platinum tier by traveling 50,000 miles or 60 segments annually.

Taking a status challenge accelerates the process. You pay a small fee to the airline, and then you can earn your way into elite status tiers by traveling a certain mile minimum within the challenge period. American Airlines charges a $200 fee to challenge for its Platinum tier, and you then have 90 days to travel at least 12,500 miles.

The problem with this method is that booking all those flights gets expensive, especially considering you only earn elite-qualifying miles (EQMs) when you pay with cash, not reward points or frequent flyer miles. Shooting for those elite status tiers may be worth it if you travel often or have a few trips coming up and can take a status challenge. Otherwise, it’s not the best option from a value perspective.

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