Why First Class Upgrades Will Be Easier Starting Next Week

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Have you flown this month and noticed extremely long upgrade lists on flights? January is notorious for long upgrade lists for First Class because there’s more elite members than anytime else during the year.

Those who have you earned airline elite status last year still have it until the end of January. New elite members who earned their status late last year are reaping the benefits as well. Well your elite qualifying miles reset on January 1st, your status doesn’t drop until February 1st.

However starting February 1st this all goes away, as those who didn’t re-qualify for elite status or dropped a level, their status will be updated.

As an example, here’s how the Delta Medallion year works:

  • 2020 Medallion Status is earned through flight and spending activity for the 2019 calendar year (January 1, 2019 to December 31, 2019); 2020 Status is valid from the day it is earned until January 31, 2021.

Hang in there a few more days, and if you hold elite status on any of the big airlines including Delta, American, or United, except to see shorter upgrade lists and yourself higher on the list next week!

Are you dropping a tier or even dropping completely your airline elite status this year perhaps due to switching loyalty to a difference airline. Feel free to share your comments below. 

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or suggestions expressed on this site are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. For details on current offers visit the card issuer’s site.

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  1. Are there REAL numbers to support less people qualified for 2020? Or is this speculation based on the calendar?

  2. I was Alaska 75K for 4 years BIS flown miles, did not even qualify for MVP this year but somehow I got an email welcoming me to MVP. Which is nice! Since I have a few flights coming up in Feb;)

    I booked these flights when I was 75K and they instantly said first class waitlisted even though I intended on not having any status this year. Will the upgrades if any be based on the 75K status, or my new MVP?

  3. Are there statistics about the percentage of people who actually lose their status? I would assume most people on the January upgrade lists retain their status, especially if they’re already ahead in the queue?

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