When does airline elite status expire?

Qualifying for and maintaining airline elite status is a goal for many frequent flyers. It comes with a range of benefits, including priority boarding, free checked bags, and access to airport lounges. However, earning and keeping elite status is typically a yearly endeavor unless you have lifetime elite status. As we approach the end of 2023, it’s worth checking that your status qualification requirements are squared away. One question you might have as the year ends is, “When does my airline status expire?” In this guide, we’ll discuss when airline elite status expires for several major U.S. airline loyalty programs.

To fully understand when your airline elite status expires, you should consider two sets of dates: the qualification period and the membership term. The qualification period refers to how long you have to earn the elite status, while the membership term describes how long you keep elite status once you earn it.

Most major U.S. airlines use a calendar year as their qualification period. However, there is one notable exception. With American Airlines’ switch to Loyalty Points in March 2022, the qualification period for AAdvantage is from March 1 through February 28 (or February 29) of the following year.

Once you’ve qualified, the membership term varies slightly from airline to airline but generally refers to the period during which your elite status is valid. If you’re starting from scratch, you may want to try to qualify early within your qualification period. Doing so can maximize how long you’ll enjoy your elite benefits.

Let’s take a more detailed look at the elite status expiration policies of several U.S. airline loyalty programs:

1. Alaska Airlines: Your Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan elite status typically expires on December 31, following the year you earned your status. For example, if you reach your 2024 MVP Gold qualification in November 2023, your status will be valid through December 31, 2024.

2. American Airlines: American Airlines AAdvantage switched to Loyalty Points in March 2022. Your status is determined by the Loyalty Points posted to your account for the 12 months starting on March 1 of each year. The status qualification year starts on March 1 and runs through the last day of February. Once you earn elite status with AAdvantage, your membership term is through March 31 of the year after your qualification year ends.

3. Delta Air Lines: Your Delta Medallion elite status is typically valid for 13 months following the calendar year in which you earned the status. For example, if you earned status in 2022, it will expire on January 31, 2024. Delta Platinum and Diamond Medallion travelers also have deadlines for selecting Choice Benefits, which are usually the same as when your status expires.

4. JetBlue: JetBlue Mosaic status is valid through the end of the calendar year after which you qualify. For example, if you earn Mosaic status in November 2023, it’ll be valid through December 31, 2024. JetBlue is one of the few airlines that allows you to earn its top status without flying.

5. Southwest Airlines: Southwest offers the Companion Pass, which is not an elite status but a separate perk. However, Southwest does offer two elite tiers: A-List and A-List Preferred. These tiers are generally valid for the year you earn them and one full calendar year afterward. Southwest occasionally offers promotional Companion Passes or promotional elite status with different expiration dates.

6. United Airlines: United MileagePlus elite status is valid for the program year, which runs through January 31 of the following year. Your status is good for the year you earn it, all of the following year, and a month into the next year. PlusPoints, which are awarded at the United Platinum status level and above and used to confirm upgrades, typically expire on January 31 of the next program year.

Earning airline elite status can unlock many perks, but it’s important to know when your status is valid and when it is set to expire. This will help you prepare for the next year of qualifying for status. Be sure to check the specific expiration dates for your chosen airline loyalty program to ensure you don’t miss out on any benefits.

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