I took 3 Delta flights in one day after finally getting elite status to see if it's really worth having - here's what I discovered
- Elite status is the endgame for most frequent flyers as it offers high-end perks such as free first-class upgrades.
- I recently attained elite status on Delta Air Lines in the lowest level of its program and took a trip to see if I'd get upgraded despite my low seniority.
- To my surprise, I was upgraded on every flight and over $800 of value was added to my trip because I had the status.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
When most travelers shop for flights, factors such as price and schedule are usually the key determiners as to which one will be selected. For frequent travelers, however, the process involves more loyalty thanks to frequent flyer programs.
Each airline has its own loyalty program that keeps its most valued customers coming back for a few reasons, but normally chief among them is the desire for elite status and all the benefits that accompany it.
Rising to the top of any loyalty program has its perks in the form of freebies and special treatment, which is no different for airlines. As opposed to getting a free coffee at Starbucks, however, airlines can offer greater incentives such as first-class upgrades, lounge access, and other perks that make traveling easier, more enjoyable and luxurious.
Even at the lowest levels of an airline's elite status hierarchy, a frequent flyer can book the cheapest economy seat and still be sitting in first class without paying a penny more.
I recently attained elite status on Delta Air Lines on the lowest rung of its frequent flyer program for the entirety of 2020. As a SkyMiles Silver Medallion member, I would be entitled to all the trimmings of elite status including upgrades and priority access at airports, according to Delta.
But given my low seniority, I wanted to see just how many benefits I'd be able to take advantage of on a given trip, so I booked one specifically to find out.
Here's how having elite status changed my travel experience.
Get the latest Boeing stock price here.