George Clooney's 10 Million Mile Club

Slate's Culture Blog
Dec. 4 2009 3:53 PM

George Clooney's 10 Million Mile Club

In Jason Reitman's Up in the Air —released onFriday—George Clooney's character strives for his ten millionth AmericanAirlines frequent flier mile. It's an accomplishment, he claims, achieved byonly six people, and it comes with serious perks—like a dedicated bookingagent. Is this for real?

Not quite. AA's elite-level rewards program is three-tiered:Gold, Platinum, and Executive Platinum, which requires 25,000, 50,000, and100,000 miles, respectively, flown within a calendar year. Each level offersgraduating benefits: Gold members enjoy complimentary upgrades; Platinummembers earn more bonus miles; and Executive Platinum members have perks likeguaranteed availability. (A chart of the various rewards offered is available here .)AA also offers a dedicated booking agent for EP members—but not a "personal"travel agent, like in Up in the Air .

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But log enough airtime, and AA will reward you with alifetime membership that doesn't require any minimum yearly travel. One millionaccumulated miles earns a lifetime Gold membership, and two million a Platinum.AA won't disclose the number of lifetime Platinum members, but a rep assured methat it's a "very, very exclusive" club. Reitman, the rep told me, used some poetic license withthe perks, as he did with the 'ten million' number—there is no special markafter two million. 

 

[ Update, 5:16pm, Dec. 5th: This post originally stated , incorrectly, that less than 5 million miles were redeemed in 2008. Actually, less than 5 million awards were redeemed. We deleted the sentence. ]

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