It goes without saying that my 2024 travel strategy is very different from what I thought it would be.
Last year‘s travel strategy began centered around maintaining my existing Delta Diamond and SkyTeam Elite medallion status.
However, with the Delta elite requirements changing midway through the year, I dramatically shifted my strategy in late 2023 for this year and beyond.
I took advantage of some promotions and special deals available only for Delta Diamond Medallion members at the end of the year, and now my 2024 travel strategy looks far different than I first imagined.
I always look to such changes with opportunity. The last time I dramatically shifted airline allegiances, I moved into Delta Medallion status in 2019 and flew the carrier thru some of its best years.
Having flown over 150,000 miles last year, I’ll still be traveling quite a bit this year. I imagine I will be on fewer flights overall, but with greater focus on international trips than before.
At the end of December 2023, I had the most and highest elite statuses I’ve ever had in my life. I’m not saying that to brag, as some of these are part of credit cards I hold. I’m simply sharing so this can be helpful to others who travel often, to see what is gained and what isn’t.
I entered 2024 with five airline elite status
- Alaska MVP Gold 75K (Oneworld Emerald)
- Delta Silver Medallion (Skyteam Elite)
- Air France / KLM Flying Blue Silver (Skyteam Elite) – comes with the Air France Flying Blue credit card.
- Air Canada Aeroplan 25K (Star Alliance Silver) – comes with the Chase Air Canada Aeroplan credit card.
- LATAM Pass Black
I lost two elite status at the end of 2023
- Delta Diamond Medallion (SkyTeam Elite Plus)
- JetBlue Mosaic 4
This year I do not have a membership of elite status for any airlines that fly out of my home airports around New York, NY. I did intentionally elect to pursue a “free agent” strategy this year, to maximize flying value and also for the opportunity to review additional airlines.
In 2024, there are some notable changes to my flying strategy.
The End of My Delta Diamond Medallion Status
I’ve covered it extensively in another article: I’ve decided to drop my Delta Diamond Medallion status in favor of going mostly free agent!
This is a huge change in my flying habits – I first earned Diamond status in 2019, and have been flying the airline almost exclusively since then. Only in mid-2023 did I break this pattern and try some new airlines.
Originally I was targeting to keep some form of mid-tier Delta Medallion status, as I’d been making solid progress thru most of the year. Unfortunately due to a series of mistakes, I also missed earning Delta Gold Medallion status by a mere $1000 MQDs. Instead, I will settle for Delta Silver Medallion status for 2024, and likely won’t maintain it.
I have Delta Diamond Medallion until the end of January 2024, and still have one Global Upgrade Certificate remaining to use before the end of the month. After that point, I’ll drop to Silver Medallion.
I won’t be flying Delta exclusively domestically this year, and will be effectively a “free agent” for domestic flights.
Since I now have Alaska Airlines MVP Gold 75K and OneWorld Emerald, I’ll be aiming to hold onto it moving forward!
Adding Alaska Airlines MVP Gold 75K and Oneworld Emerald Status in 2024
Prior to the end of the year, I had the opportunity to pursue an Alaska Airlines Status match from my Delta Diamond Medallion Status, and I took it. I’ll be posting a detailed article on this in the near future.
I now have Alaska Airlines MVP Gold 75K thru the end of the year, in conjunction with the Alaska Airlines Business Card that I already hold. This status has a range of useful perks in both Alaska and the oneworld network.
Alaska Airlines MVP Gold 75K status perks
- Complimentary Premium Class seating
- Complimentary First Class upgrades
- 125% status mileage bonus (and mileage based earning)
- Alaska first class guest upgrades
- Priority check-in, security, and boarding
- Same day flight changes & priority standby
- Three complimentary checked bags
- Complimentary drink or chocolate in economy
- Four Alaska Lounge day passes
Oneworld Emerald perks
- Oneworld Emerald status (including lounge access)
- Reciprocal elite perks on American
- American Airlines upgrade certificate
I use Alaska Mileage Plan for award bookings frequently, including flights to South America on LATAM for 45,000 or more points, and flights to Japan on Japan Airlines for 60,000 or more points. My favorite part about Alaska MVP Gold 75K is that you still earn miles on Alaska from actual miles flown, not just cash spent. With the elite status bonus multiplier, some flights on Alaska can earn large mileage bonuses.
LATAM Pass Black
Concurrently with receiving Alaska MVP gold 75K, I also decided to apply for Latam Pass status match at the end of the year, and matched from Alaska MVP Gold 75K into LATAM Black.
This is available for various folders of all kinds of airlines, and I’ve covered this in a separate article.
LATAM Pass Black perks
- Priority Check-In, Security and Boarding
- Signature Lounge access
- Free premium seat assignments
- Unlimited complimentary upgrades within South America,
- Upgrades on eight segments outside of South America within 48 hours
- Status mileage earning bonus (100% for international, 167% for domestic)
- Same day flight changes & priority standby
- Preferential support
- Complimentary associated benefits on Delta Airlines.
As I need to make several trips to South America this year, I’ll be looking forward to trying and covering LATAM flights and lounges extensively. I’ll be crediting my flights to Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan.
I Missed JetBlue Mosaic 4 for 2024
Unfortunately I also missed the opportunity to extend my JetBlue Mosaic 4 status, which I sorely regret. Late last year I also status matched from Delta Diamond Medallion into JetBlue Mosaic 4, but did not hold the JetBlue credit card at the time, and simply applied for it too late, and was not approved in time.
Without the credit card in hand, my status expired at the end of 2023, and thus I enjoyed it briefly for three months.
Before I lost my status with JetBlue, I had the opportunity to try JetBlue Mint twice, both their A321neo Herringbone Mint Business Class, and their standard A321 classic Mint Business Class in the Throne Seat. I also tried some of the Mosaic 4 perks, including BLADE helicopter transfers in Manhattan. These reviews will be coming out on Oscape soon!
Other Travel Strategies
Beyond airlines and covering hotels, credit cards, rental cars, and other allegiances, here are a few updates.
I will continue to hold National Executive Elite and Hertz President Circle this year.
I have a couple of car rental reviews in queue, and hope to review additional products from both companies when I can.
On the hotel side, I still have Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite, a perk of holding the Marriott Bonvoy credit card. I mostly use this for the annual free night perk that comes with the card.
On the credit card I mentioned in the Delta section, I will be downgrading and removing my affiliation with the Delta Reserve credit card series across two different businesses and my first cards. I currently have two cards in this category, which will be downgraded.
Since I’m no longer maintaining Delta elite status, this is not a perk worth holding onto for me anymore.
My 2024 travel strategy is very different from what I thought it would be.
The greatest shift is switching out of Delta Diamond Medallion and the Sky Team network, and into Alaska MVP Gold 75K and the OneWorld network.
Quite frankly, I also feel like we’re in an era of diminishing returns for elite status programs. I mostly hold onto these for the ease of addressing problems with customer service teams when they happen – it’s far easier when holding status due to the automated priority you receive.