Status Calculator: Which is the Best way to Reach a Status Based on Your Flights?

You want to reach the Star Alliance Gold, Oneworld Sapphire, or SkyTeam Elite Plus status? Then you’ll have to decide on a frequent flyer program within that alliance! Each program has different requirements and ways to reach the desired status.

To make that decision easier for you, we’ve developed a status calculator. You just need to enter your flights, and we’ll tell you where you’ll be closest to the golden status:

Info

We do not guarantee that our calculations are correct! You should use this calculator’s results as an indicator for which program fits your flight patterns best, but we recommend checking the exact result before making a final decision. Also, there are some exceptions, that our calculator cannot consider. We still tried hard, though, to take as many of these exceptions into consideration as possible.

Should you find a mistake, please email your routing to Ditmar@Travel-Dealz.eu.

For the calculation to work, you’ll need to enter your flights. It is important that you state the route, operating airline, and booking class. This information can usually be found on your booking’s confirmation email or when searching a flight on the airline’s website.

Please enter the information using the following format:

Airline:booking class:flight segment(s)
  • Airline: IATA code of the airlines, e.g. LH for Lufthansa (Look out for codeshares)
  • Booking class: Booking class of the flights, e.g. A
  • Flight segment(s): IATA codes of the airports, separated by a hyphen. e.g. LHR-FRA-HKG for a oneway flight and LHR-FRA-HKG-FRA-LHR for a roundtrip from London to Hong Kong via Frankfurt.
Optional parameters

To calculate the status miles, the route, airline, and booking class will usually be enough. There are, however, some exceptions, such as United Airlines MileagePlus, where in certain cases the number of status miles is based on the flight’s price – at least if it was issued or operated by United. In that case, we’ll need that information from you. That’s very easy, though, as you only need to add it in the following format:

Operating airline:booking class:flight segment(s):ticketing airline:price (in USD)

Here are two examples:

  • LH:K:LHR-FRA-DEN-FRA-LHR:UA:150
    Lufthansa flights in booking class K, ticket issued by United Airlines at a price of 150 USD
  • UA:P:LHR-IAH-PHX-IAH-LHR:UA:1235
    United flights in booking class P, issued by United at a price of 1,235 USD

Please be aware that usually the flight price excl. taxes counts. This will be lower than the price that you’re actually paying for the ticket.

You Should Always Consider This Before Making a Decision

The easiest way isn’t always the best way – this is also the case for frequent flyer programs. There are big differences regarding the qualifying period, the status validity, and other factors, such as additional status benefits or the value of the award miles.

Further Requirements

Most frequent flyer programs require you to get a certain number of status miles. Some programs, however, have further requirements, e.g. a minimum number of flights with a certain airline. This is often the case for airlines that don’t offer any long-haul routes. Only if you’ve fulfilled that condition would you get the status.

Qualifying Period

(Almost) every frequent flyer program requires you to reach a certain number of status miles and/or segments within a fixed qualifying period. There are different kinds of qualifying periods:

  • Calendar year: From January 1 until December 31 of a year. As soon as January 1 starts, all status miles expire (even those, that were earned on December 31) and the qualifying period restarts.
  • Consecutive months: Instead of only considering the period from January through December, you can reach the threshold of status miles or segments within any 12 (or sometimes more, e.g. 24) consecutive months. This is usually far more flexible than a calendar or membership year.
  • Membership year: Every member gets an individual membership year (or membership months) when he/she joins the frequent flyer program). At a certain point of the year, the status miles counter gets reset to 0. That can be advantageous if you strategically decide when to join the program, but a big downside if you usually fly a lot in the months before and after the date when the counter is reset and a new membership year begins.

Status Validity

If you’ve reached the status, you’ll naturally want to use the benefits for as long as possible. Many programs will give you the status for at least 12 months (1 year) but some even give you at least 24 months (2 years).

For a longer validity, it may be worth flying a bit more. It won’t help at all, though, if you fail to meet the qualification requirements. Hence, you should make sure that you’ll be able to reach the threshold.

We only state the minimum validity, as most programs will state a validity of e.g. 12 months, but this only begins once the following qualifying period starts. However, you’ll get the status as soon as you reach the threshold, and thus you’ll be rewarded for reaching it quickly, e.g. right at the beginning of the qualifying period.
Frequent flyer programs with a qualifying period of consecutive months will usually only give you that minimum validity period. This can be quite a big downside.

Further Status Benefits

Beside the alliance-wide status benefits, some airlines will grant further benefits on their own flights. For instance, United Mileage Plus often gives standby upgrades on its domestic flights, or Miles&More Frequent Travellers (Star Alliance Silver) are granted access to Lufthansa’s business class lounges.

These additional benefits may be worth choosing a program with a higher threshold.

Value of the Award Miles

Apart from status miles, you’ll also simultaneously earn award miles, which are valid for a longer period of time and, as the name says, can be redeemed for awards, e.g. award flights or upgrades.

There are big differences between the frequent flyer programs regarding the value of these award miles. The exact same flights can cost a completely different number of miles and the surcharge can also vary by a lot. Most frequent flyer programs charge a fee on top of the taxes. This means that while a flight may cost less than โ‚ฌ100 at one program, a different program may charge over โ‚ฌ300.

Codeshare Booking Classes

Generally, it is quite easy to find out the booking class. If you already booked the tickets, you’ll usually find it in your confirmation email. If you haven’t booked them yet, you’ll be able to find it using the Matrix or Expedia, among other ways. More on this here.

It gets far more complicated when it’s a codeshare flight. Depending on the alliance, the number of miles you’ll get either depends on the marketing carrier (airline in the flight number) or the operating carrier (airline, which actually operates the flight):

  • Star Alliance:
    • The operating airline is decisive for the mileage credit.
    • Example: You booked a flight to New York on lufthansa.com, but it is operated by United Airlines. The booking class of LH7603 is K. In this case, you’ll have to enter UA:K:FRA-EWR
    • Careful, booking class mapping!
  • Oneworld:
    • The flight number is decisive for the mileage credit.
    • Example: You booked a flight from London to New York on British Airways’ website. This flight has a BA flight number with booking class O but is operated by American Airlines. In our calculator, you’ll enter it as a normal British Airways flight: BA:O:LHR-JFK
  • SkyTeam:
    • The flight number is decisive for the mileage credit.
    • Example: You booked a flight from Amsterdam to New York on Delta’s website. This flight has a DL flight number with booking class E but is operated by KLM. In our calculator, you’ll enter it as a normal Delta flight: DL:E:AMS-JFK

Booking Class Mapping at the Star Alliance

The booking classes are not the same at every airline. The letter N is a basic economy booking class at United, but a premium economy booking class at Lufthansa. In such chases, the Lufthansa booking class is mapped to the booking class of the operating airline.

Example: You book a premium economy flight from Frankfurt to New York on Lufthansa’s website, which is operated by United. Lufthansa shows booking class N. The miles, however, are credited according to United’s booking class for cheap premium economy tickets, which is R. So, you’ll have to enter: UA:R:FRA-EWR

Sadly, booking class mapping is very hard to accurately understand for simple consumers like us. Usually, the booking classes are similar within an alliance, but not always. When in doubt, avoid codeshares.

Restrictions

  • United MileagePlus:
    • Status points: If the flight was issued or/and operated by United, MileagePlus calculates the status points based on the ticket price. This means that we can’t calculate the correct number of miles simply by considering your routing but will instead need these additional parameters. Should you, however, fly with a partner airline, e.g. Singapore Airlines to Asia, the number of status points is calculated based on the distance, airline, and class – and thus no problem for our status calculator.
    • Segments: United requires you to fly 4 segments with United – regardless of the booking class. Then, there are two ways to reach a status: either by getting to a high points threshold or by reaching a lower threshold while flying a certain number of segments with United or its Star Alliance partners. For instance, you’ll either need 7,000 points (PQP) for the gold status, or 6,000 points and 16 segments (PQS). A further restriction: Transatlantic tickets in the cheapest economy fare (i.e. without luggage) do not count as PQS. As this cannot be recognized by simply looking at the booking class, our status calculator will not be able to know if the flight counts as a PQF or not.
  • Finnair Plus:
    • Sadly, Finnair Plus credits the points for Finnair flights based on the flight number and “ticket type”. As the ticket type can’t be recognized by looking at the booking class, we aren’t able to calculate Finnair Plus points for Finnair flights.

The following programs are not supported by our status calculator:

Oneworld:

  • JAL Mileage Bank
  • Malaysia Airlines Enrich
  • Qantas Frequent Flyer

Star Alliance:

  • Air India Flying Returns
  • Air New Zealand Airpoints
  • ANA Mileage Club
  • Avianca LifeMiles
  • South African Airways Voyager

SkyTeam:

  • China Airlines Dynasty Flyer
  • China Eastern Eastern Miles
  • Garuda Indonesia GarudaMiles
  • Korean Air SKYPASS
  • Xiamen Egret Miles

These programs were not implemented, either because the way they credit the status miles was too confusing, or because the conditions were basically impossible for Europeans to fulfil.

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