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Earn elite status through your credit card

Elite status is the dream of many a coach passenger. Free upgrades, preferred check-in and boarding, and special treatment seem like a huge jackpot when you’ve waited in long lines to spend several hours in a cramped seat. We recently wrote about the many ways to attain elite levels, but there is also another way to receive a huge boost toward preferred status. All you need to do is have the right credit card.

Specifically, you need the Platinum Delta SkyMiles American Express card or the US Airways Dividend Miles Visa Signature card. These cards will award thousands of elite-qualifying miles after you spend a certain amount of money, as well as conferring other elite-level perks. If you’re a frequent shopper as well as a frequent flyer, you could soon be among the ranks of the elite.

Platinum Delta SkyMiles American Express card

Delta’s top-tier credit card can take you two-fifths of the way to elite status. Platinum cardholders who spend $25,000 or more in one year can have 10,000 miles earned from those credit card purchases count toward elite status. As you need 25,000 elite-qualifying miles to attain Silver Medallion status (Delta’s lowest-level elite tier), these credit card miles will put you close to half of the way to status. A few long-distance flights could easily take care of the remainder.

The annual fee for the Platinum SkyMiles American Express card is $135 ($80 if you have an additional American Express consumer credit card). You will receive one mile for every dollar spent, or two miles for purchases at Delta, supermarkets, drugstores, gas stations, hardware stores, and U.S. post offices. When you enroll, you’ll receive a signup bonus of 15,000 SkyMiles (5,000 of these will also count toward elite status), and each year when you renew your card, you’ll receive a free domestic companion ticket valid on Delta, Delta Connection, Delta Shuttle, and Song flights.

For more information about this card, visit American Express’ website.

US Airways Dividend Miles Visa Signature card

The Dividend Miles Visa Signature card offers the same bonus as the Delta card: Spend $25,000 or more in one calendar year and receive 10,000 elite-qualifying miles. However, just possessing the card gives you elite-like perks, such as preferred check-in and boarding and the ability to purchase space-available upgrades. In this way, you can have some of the benefits of being elite before you have attained official status with US Airways.

The annual fee for US Airways’ top-tier card is $90. You will receive one mile per dollar spent, plus double miles for US Airways purchases. Each year, you will receive a one-time pass to a US Airways Club lounge and a $99 round-trip companion ticket. Plus, US Airways will periodically offer cardholders discounted mileage awards.

US Airways frequent flyers should also note that the Dividend Miles Visa Platinum, a slightly lower-tier card, also rewards members who spend over $25,000 with 10,000 elite-qualifying miles, but this card does not have the additional elite-level perks. The annual fee is also $90.

For more information about Dividend Miles Visa cards, visit Bank of America’s website.

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