I am curious as to how most people really feel about the buying elite status subject. I really started thinking about this after the new Marriott Platinum Elite guidelines, which is a criterion not based on purchasing but true loyalty. Yesterday, however, I received solicitation to literally purchase elite status.
One airline I fly a lot of is USAirways. Where I live in Pittsburgh, it used to be a hub. Well I just found out that for $ 2816, I can literally "buy" Chairman's Preferred Status until 2014. That would just about guarantee first class seating on every flight I take, and includes 2 round trip upgrades to Europe. Amazing what can be bought these days. I would be so offended if I was doing the 100,000 qualifying each year (or 120 segments), and found out I did not get an upgrade based on somebody like me who, for (excuse the phrase) a "song and a dance" can purchase their way to "royalty".
THIS INCLUDES STATUS FOR ALL AIRLINES IN THE STAR ALLIANCE by simply paying the USAirways portion. That is most of the big carriers.
I see the same can be done for the IHG Hotel group now, and for a really low cost.
Although it will be a blessing for me (I would save already as opposed to 2 first class ticket purchases and not ever have to fly coach to build status. Also get double miles for first-class seating from the start), I personally do not feel this trend is the best for the industry in fostering loyalty. Now you can just about be the most elite in everything, which essentially just now entails an all-out price war as the difference.
It just does not make sense to me. How loyalty can be bought these days. DO YOU THINK this method esentially waters down the best for the rest?
Thank You All!