United Global Services
American Concierge Key
Lufthansa HON Circle
These are just three I can think of, I'm sure there are others. To earn these top tiers on these airlines require a lot, not only a ton of flying in a year but how much you have spent. I think if one has a choice of airlines and choose only one and wind up spending an enormous amount of money, they ought to give back. I am Global Services on United and have been for all years but one since it was introduced many years ago. Is it 10 years old yet?
Anyway, I spent just shy of $250,000 on United in 2012. Not my money, it was almost all business. But I did select United when I could have chosen a sexier airline. But I learned over the years that loyalty does pay back. But...have these über levels been watered down by offering the same benefits I get for a price. Certainly on United almost anything can get you priority boarding. The gate agents offer (at warp speed) families with children or elderly, service men and women, the disabled and pax in wheelchairs, pax in First or Business and everyone in zone one....1k's and Global Services. Frankly by the time they rattle off all the people who get priority boarding it's time for people sitting in zone two! And some people pay for this honor!
I get 6 global upgrades like all 1k's do. I do get a nice sexy kit in January with my black card and luggage tags as a gift. But I spent $250,000, which over a decade is a couple million!
So is it worth it on United or American or any other airline? Have these somewhat secretive clubs just fluff, or are they working things behind the scenes to make sure you're ok if your flight is delayed or cancelled (admittedly when things do get very messed up on international trips I give UA very high marks for taking care of me) but don't airlines (who dont have these uber level clubs) do this for thier top tier fliers too?
So is it a good idea to go out of ones way to fly UA or AA or LH or whomever vs variety if youre flying in a premium cabin?