Gaining elite status with airlines, airline alliances as well as hotel chains can be a good way to save money and get access to free amenities and upgrades. Generally elite status is gained through flying the requisite number of miles (usually at least 25,000). However, airlines also have various promotion schemes and credit card partnerships that enable an easier route to elite status. This informative presentation by a blogger lays out the details to some elite status fast tracks for major US airlines, international airline alliances, and hotel chains such as Hyatt and Hilton.
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Elite Status Basics and Fast Tracks