Should you chase elite status in 2024?

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💸 According to the annual Worldwide Cost of Living Index, Singapore and Zurich were named as the most expensive cities in the world in 2023. Read more from the list here.

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💸 According to the annual Worldwide Cost of Living Index, Singapore and Zurich were named as the most expensive cities in the world in 2023. Read more from the list here.

Good morning from 30,000 feet over the Gulf of Mexico. I’m SUPER excited to be writing this to you all on my 100th flight of the year, which is absolutely bonkers to think about…

But my silly milestone is pathetic compared to the other MAJOR milestone I’m about to tell you about today:

  • 🥳 Daily Drop just hit ONE MILLION readers

  • 🤔 Should you chase elite status in 2024?

🥳 Daily Drop just hit ONE MILLION readers

When I sent out the first Daily Drop newsletter in August 2022, I never dreamed I’d be sitting on a plane writing to ONE MILLION of you.

We’re all super proud to celebrate this milestone with you fine folks. So, on behalf of the entire Daily Drop team, THANK YOU for making this weird travel newsletter a thing that we can all be a part of.

But a simple “thank you” doesn’t feel exciting enough for such a big achievement…

That’s why I’m pleased to let you know that Megan (our Community Manager) and I will be speaking at the Atlanta Travel & Adventure Show in early March.

And since the DD team will be there anyway… we’ve decided to host our very first in-person, large-scale Daily Drop reader meetup as well!

We don’t have all of the details yet, but mark your calendars and stay tuned for more information in the near future.

While I have you here, why don’t you give me an indication of whether or not you’d be into something like that:

Would you attend an Atlanta Daily Drop meetup in early March?

Only Email Recipients can participate in polls.

But that’s a whole three months away… So, how about some instant gratification to go along with it?

The first 1,000 people to click the button below and complete the checkout process will get a free Daily Drop sticker pack! 


Now you can be cool like me and slap these badass stickers all over the world, put them on your luggage, or give them away to strangers in weird countries.

Cool kids read Daily Drop

If you’re reading this later in the day and feel left out because you didn’t make the cut, all is not lost…

If you come and join us in the Daily Drop Lounge (our online FaceBook community), we’re giving away another 1,000 sticker packs there. Just join the lounge and find the post about it.

Anyway, I am seriously grateful to you all for reading this newsletter. I can’t wait to meet many of you at our meetup in March. Love you, mean it. ❤️

Now back to your regularly scheduled travel hacking. 👇

🤔 Should you chase elite status in 2024?

As we near the end of the year, I’ve been thinking long and hard about what kind of goals I want to set for myself in 2024.

Primarily, I’m trying to figure out if I want to renew my elite status, chase new status, or not aim for any status at all.

Since this is a larger topic, today I’m going to spew my thoughts about airline elite status. Specifically, I’ll cover the following:

  • What I love about airline elite status

  • What I hate about airline elite status

  • Am I going to shoot for airline status next year?

Airline status can be amazing. Personally, I have the following airline elite statuses:

  • Aeroplan 75k

  • United Premier Silver

  • American Airlines Platinum Pro

Of my 100 flights so far this year, 33 of them have been on Air Canada, so Aeroplan status is by far the most important to me.

My Aeroplan status has allowed me to take advantage of some amazing perks like upgrades, lounge access, same-day standby, and more.

But my favorite perk of Aeroplan 75k status? Star Alliance Gold Status. 

Essentially, if you have Aeroplan 50k or above (or top status with another Star Alliance airline like United), you’ll get elite perks when you travel with ANY Star Alliance Airline.

Although only 33 of my flights have been on Air Canada, 72 of them have been on Star Alliance airlines…

That means that when I flew with airlines like Lufthansa, ANA, Ethiopian, Turkish, and others, I was able to access lounges, get priority check-in and boarding, and more - even when flying in economy.

Star Alliance Gold Benefits

Honestly, these perks are more valuable to me than the ones I get solely when flying Air Canada, simply because of how often I use them.

So surely I must be chasing the same level of elite status next year, right?


In fact, I’m not chasing ANY airline status next year. Here’s why:

1. Elite status is expensive, y’all

Pretty much every year, airlines are increasing the requirements for achieving elite status.

I mean, look at what Delta just did this year to their elite qualifying requirements for 2024…

And make no mistake, this is the direction that most programs are heading…

To make things worse, most airlines base these heightened requirements on how much money you spend with them.

Here in the travel hacking world, our goal is to NOT spend money… it’s kind of our thing.

The fact is that most of my flights are booked with points and are with other airlines outside of Canada.

Therefore, none of them are contributing to my earning Aeroplan elite status. It’s devastating.

If I want status, I need to spend money that I otherwise wouldn’t be spending, which is becoming harder to justify for me.

Especially when…

2. Most of my favorite perks can be achieved with credit cards anyway

You can get many of the best perks of airline elite status simply by holding an airline credit card.

For example, my premium airline card of choice (sorry Americans, it’s a Canadian card) gets me access to Air Canada lounges, free checked bags, priority boarding, priority security, excellent insurance, and earns me Aeroplan points on all of my spending.

Since I have other premium cards like this shiny hunk of metal, I also get lounge access in hundreds of airports all over the world, including many business and first-class lounges that participate in the Priority Pass program.

In my mind, it’s not worth spending thousands of dollars to chase elite status when I can get most of the same perks on the same airline (and lounge perks all over the world) with the right card combo.

The one thing that hasn’t been accounted for, however, is the upgrades thanks to having airline elite status. Thankfully, however…

3. I use points for most flights anyway

As I mentioned earlier, most of the business-class flights I took this year weren’t due to upgrades.

Rather, I booked straight into them with points - even most of my Air Canada business-class flights.

The flight I’m on right now is a great example of why it made more sense to NOT use my upgrades.

This flight from Mexico City to Toronto (via Montreal) cost 18,700 points in business class, which is fantastic.

If I wanted to use my upgrade credits and get a confirmed seat in business class, I would’ve had to book a Flex Economy fare, which would’ve cost me 24,000 points. 😑

Do you see the issue there…?

Plus, as I mentioned, most of my flights this year were with foreign airlines, where Air Canada upgrades don’t apply anyway.

For example, I flew from Tokyo to Los Angeles on ANA’s “The Room” business class earlier this year, which only cost me 75,000 points.

ANA “The Room” Business Class seat

When you book directly into business class, you don’t have to worry about getting upgraded (or not upgraded), and you still get all of the best benefits like lounge access, priority boarding, checked bags, onboard meals, and more - all without needing to play the rat race of chasing elite status.

As more and more people travel and attain elite status, actually getting to use these benefits becomes harder.

After all, if there are only 24 seats in business class but there are 65 elite members on the upgrade list, you won’t be finding your butt in that nice comfy seat very often…

For me, all signs point to spending less money while enjoying the same perks I’ve been lucky enough to experience with my elite status.

But what about you?

Will you be pursuing airline status in 2024?

If so, tell me which program(s)!

Only Email Recipients can participate in polls.

Honestly, there is SO much more that I could drone on about concerning elite status, but I hope this gives you some insight into how you might pursue (or not pursue) your own elite status in 2024.

Although I’ve decided not to pursue airline status next year, hotel status is a COMPLETELY different story… but more on that in another newsletter. 😉

Are you excited about being one of our million readers?

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That’s all for today, folks! I used to think elite status was the ultimate travel hacking goal, but my thoughts have certainly evolved over the years, so I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the subject, too.

I’ve blabbered enough for today, so I’ll let you go now. Have a fantastic day and I’ll see you tomorrow. ❤️

Mike Dodge
Head Writer, Daily Drop

26.625719, -94.818283

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