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When does airline elite status expire?

Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with the latest information.

Qualifying for and maintaining airline elite status is often a yearly endeavor unless you have lifetime elite status. As we approach the end of 2023, it’s worth checking that your status qualification requirements are squared away.

But, since it’s possible to earn status at any point throughout the year and each loyalty program is different, one question you might have as the year ends is, “When does my airline status expire?” In this guide, we’ll discuss when airline elite status expires for several major U.S. airline loyalty programs.

Airline elite status basics

Southwest Airlines and American Airlines planes on runway
HMBSOFL PHOTOGRAPHY/SHUTTERSTOCK

To fully understand when your airline elite status expires, you should consider two sets of dates:

  • Qualification period: How long you have to earn the elite status
  • Membership term: How long you keep elite status once you earn it

Most major U.S. airlines use a calendar year as their qualification period. However, there is one notable exception. With American’s switch to Loyalty Points in March 2022, the qualification period for AAdvantage is March 1 through Feb. 28 (or Feb. 29) of the following year.

Once you’ve qualified, the other set of dates to understand is the membership term. This varies slightly from airline to airline but describes the period during which your elite status is valid.

If you’re starting from scratch, you may want to try to qualify early within your qualification period. Doing so can maximize how long you’ll enjoy your elite benefits. Now, let’s take a more detailed look at the elite status expiration policies of several U.S. airline loyalty programs.

Related: The best credit cards to reach elite status

Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-800 at gate
KYLE OLSEN/THE POINTS GUY

Your Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan elite status typically expires on Dec. 31, following the year you earned your status. For example, if you reach your 2024 MVP Gold qualification in November 2023, your status will be valid through Dec. 31, 2024.

Related: Your guide to earning and redeeming with Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

American Airlines

American Airlines plane
ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

As mentioned above, American Airlines AAdvantage switched to Loyalty Points in March 2022. Now, Loyalty Points are how you earn American Airlines elite status. Your status is determined by the Loyalty Points posted to your account for the 12 months starting on March 1 of each year.

The status qualification year starts on March 1 and runs through the last day of February. This means that in 2024, your status counter will reset on March 1, 2024, and will run through Feb. 28, 2025.

However, once you earn elite status with AAdvantage, your membership term is through March 31 of the year after your qualification year ends. So the Loyalty Points you earn between March 1, 2024, and Feb. 28, 2025, will get you status through March 31, 2026.

You can qualify for American elite status from credit card spending alone. As such, some of the best American Airlines cards, including the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® (see rates and fees), have become increasingly more important for American Airlines elite members.

Related: Best uses of American Airlines miles

Delta Air Lines

Delta plane
ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

Delta has been making big changes to Medallion elite status, but the date your status expires isn’t set to be changed.

Your status is typically valid for 13 months following the calendar year in which you earned the status. For example, your status will expire on Jan. 31, 2024, if you earned status in 2022.

It’s important to note that Delta Platinum and Diamond Medallion travelers also have deadlines for selecting Choice Benefits. Usually, these deadlines are the same as when your status expires.

Delta also has a Reclaim My Status program, a Delta Medallion benefit that helps you return to status. However, you must meet some basic requirements to qualify.

Related: Delta SkyMiles change saga: Improvements made to Medallion status and Sky Club Lounge access

JetBlue

Jetblue cabin
ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

JetBlue Mosaic status is valid through the end of the calendar year, after which you qualify. For example, if you earn Mosaic status in November 2023, it’ll be valid through Dec. 31, 2024.

JetBlue is one of the few airlines that allows you to earn its top status without flying. You could earn Mosaic status from home with enough spending on JetBlue cards.

Related: How to get upgraded on JetBlue Airways

Southwest Airlines

Southwest Boeing 737 MAX 8
KYLE OLSEN/THE POINTS GUY

Southwest offers the famed Companion Pass, but this perk isn’t an elite status. However, Southwest does offer two elite tiers: A-List and A-List Preferred.

A-List, A-List Preferred and the Companion Pass are generally valid for the year you earn them and one full calendar year afterward.

If you have your eye set on the Companion Pass, you should try to qualify as early in the year as possible to get close to two full years of free companion flights. However, Southwest occasionally offers promotional Companion Passes or promotional elite status with different expiration dates.

Related: The best Southwest Airlines credit cards

United Airlines

United jets at gate in LAX
KYLE OLSEN/THE POINTS GUY

United uses the term “program year” to refer to the timeline in which your United MileagePlus elite status is valid. The program year with United Airlines runs through Jan. 31 of the following year. Thus, your status is good for the year you earn it, all of the following year and a month into the next year.

United also has PlusPoints, which are awarded at the United Platinum status level and above and used to confirm upgrades. Any PlusPoints you earned from 2022 flight activity should expire on Jan. 31, 2024.

Related: Your guide to the United MileagePlus program

Bottom line

Earning airline elite status can unlock many perks. To enjoy the benefits from the hard work required to achieve status with an airline, you want to know when your status is valid and when it is set to expire. This, in turn, will help you prepare for the next year of qualifying for status.