Qualifying miles are different than the reward miles that you redeem. They’re the ones that give you elite status with an airline. Earning them depends on how much you fly, how far and on what class of ticket.
If you’re just a few miles shy of the next level when the year is up, airlines hit the reset button. That’s why mileage junkies fly long—often crazy— international routes at the end of the year.
This January, American Airlines will actually let you pay for qualifying miles before the membership year ends in February. Say you want to get gold status, which requires 25,000 qualifying miles. You can purchase booster miles to get there, or pay a flat fee of $650 to renew your status.
And always do the math. If it costs hundreds of dollars to get status and you don’t fly often, it may be cheaper to pay a la carte for perks like premium seats and early boarding.
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