Often, retirement or a change of workplace will completely alter one’s travel habits and frequency, causing many frequent flyers to lose their status. This may be a cause of grief, especially if one had gotten used to holding a status for many years. For that reason, there are many frequent flyer programs that offer a lifetime status, so that they can continue enjoying the benefits that they had earned through many years of loyalty.
We’ve compiled a list of programs that offer such a thing, and tell you what the requirements are for each one. At the end, we also compare all of these programs, so that you can get a quick overview, where you’ll get that wonderful lifetime status the quickest.
Table of contents
Miles&More has recently introduced a lifetime status as part of their complete program restructuration that will be launched in 2021. The new system replaces status miles with status points, and you will need 7,500 status points to get their Frequent Traveller status for life or 10,000 points (and 10 years of holding the Senator status) to become a lifetime Senator. Those points, however, have to be earned on Miles&More airlines only (not other Star Alliance partners).
Assuming you qualify for your status each year with the minimum required miles, flying all flights on Lufthansa Group flights, you would have to keep the status for
7,500 / 160 = 47 years for Frequent Traveller
10,000 / 480 = 21 years for Senator
You can keep your Platinum status forever if you manage to hold that status for 10 consecutive years. All other tiers do not offer a lifetime status.
British Airways Executive Club
Once you’ve reached 35,000 tier points, British Airways will grant you a lifetime Gold status. This is great, as Gold is their highest status. Nevertheless, with 35,000 points, the bar has been set quite high. Assuming you qualify for the Gold tier each year with the minimum required points (1,500) you would need
35,000 / 1,500 = 24 years.
Iberia Plus has two lifetime status tiers. The Infinita card will be granted to you once you’ve earned 125,000 Elite Points. Not only will you have all Oneworld Emerald benefits, but also two free upgrades per year, and you can gift a Oro card to another person. With 200,000 points you would even get the Infinita Prime card, granting 4 free upgrades per year, and two Oro cards to give away.
Assuming you hold on to your Platino card by requalifying with the minimum required points (6,250 elite points), you would need 19 years to reach the Infinita card.
Finnair Plus also has two lifetime status tiers: Gold and Platinum. You need 3,000,000 tier points for Lifetime Gold, and 5,000,000 for Lifetime Platinum. Assuming you requalify your status every year with the minimum required points, you would need
3,000,000 / 80,000 = 38 years for Gold
5,000,000 / 150,000 = 34 years for Platinum
SAS EuroBonus offers a Lifetime Gold status to everyone who manages to hold on to the Gold status (or higher) for 10 full years.
American Airlines AAdvantage
As is common for US-airlines, American Airlines AAdvantage implements a million miler scheme, where you get a lifetime Gold status and 35,000 bonus miles when reaching 1,000,000 miles. You can also get a lifetime Platinum status and 4 free upgrades once you reach 2,000,000 miles. You also get 4 more free upgrades after each additional million miles. Assuming you qualify for your status with the minimum required mileage every year, you would need 40 years to keep that status forever.
It is actually not that hard to get Asiana‘s lifetime status. To get the lifetime Diamond Plus status, you will either need 500,000 miles or 500 flights with Asiana, which means that you would get the lifetime status after having to qualify for their Diamond Plus status only 5 times. After 1,000,000 miles (or 1,000 Asiana flights), you would get their exclusive Platinum status for life.
Alaska Mileage Plan
Once you’ve reached 1,000,000 miles at Alaska Airlines‘ Mileage Plan, you will get their second-highest status, MVP Gold, for life. Assuming you qualify for the MVP Gold status with exactly 40,000 miles every year, you would need
1,000,000 / 40,000 = 25 years
If you manage to hold the highest status at Millemiglia for 10 consecutive years, you will be granted the Freccia Alata Plus Per Sempre Card.
To get a lifetime status at LifeMiles, you will have to have registered at LifeMiles (or a predecessor) at least 15 years ago and be at least 60 years old. Once you’ve then reached 1,000,000 miles, LifeMiles will grant you the Cenit1M status (equivalent to the Gold Elite for life), and after 2,000,000 miles you’ll get the Cenit2M status, which is basically a Diamond Elite status for life.
Assuming you qualify with the minimum required mileage each year, you would need
1,000,000 / 45,000 = 23 years for Gold
2,000,000 / 75,000 = 27 years for Diamond
After reaching 1,000,000 miles, you’ll get Delta‘s Silver status for life. You can also get their Gold status after reaching 2,000,000 miles, or even their Platinum status for life after reaching 4,000,000 miles. There isn’t, however, a Diamond status for life. Assuming you qualify with the minimum required mileage each year, you will have to hold on to your status for
1,000,000 / 25,000 = 40 years for Silver
2,000,000 / 50,000 = 40 years for Gold
4,000,000 / 75,000 = 54 years for Platinum
MileagePlus has a very similar concept. You’ll get their Gold status at 1,000,000 miles, their Platinum status at 2,000,000 miles, their 1K status at 3,000,000 miles, and their Global Services status at 4,000,000 miles. A special benefit at MileagePlus is that your spouse (or significant other) will also get your status! A big downside, however, is that only United flights count, and not flights with partner airlines.
Comparison – Where is it the easiest?
Assuming that you always qualify for the status with the minimum required mileage, how many years would you have to qualify for a status to get to keep that same status forever? For example, if you need 50,000 miles per year for the Gold status, and 2,000,000 miles for the lifetime Gold status:
2,000,000 / 50,000 = 40 years
|Frequent Flyer Program||Number of years|
|Asiana Club||10 years (but only 5 qualifications)|
|SAS Eurobonus||10 years|
|Alitalia Millemiglia||10 years|
|Iberia Plus||19 years|
|Miles&More||47 years for Frequent Traveller|
21 years for Senator
|Avianca LifeMiles||23 years for Gold|
27 years for Diamond
|British Airways Executive Club||24 years|
|Alaska Mileage Plan||25 years|
|Finnair Plus||38 years for Gold|
34 years for Platinum
|American Airlines AAdvantage||40 years|
|Delta SkyMiles||40 years for Silver and Gold|
54 years for Platinum
|United MileagePlus||Comparison not possible, as yearly status isn’t earned through miles|
Cover Picture: Ditmar Lange