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In my daily search of new bonus offers to post on the Frequent Flyer Bonuses website I came across an interesting offer from Vietnam Airlines. I did a bit more digging and based on all the terms and conditions of the offer and Vietnam Airlines’ Lotusmiles program it appears that you can buy elite status within the program without ever setting foot on a plane.  The Lotusmiles program allows members to buy qualifying miles and/or flights to maintain or upgrade their membership. The cost to buy miles/flights are as follows:


  • Qualifying miles: VND 2,350,000 for 1,000 miles (within Vietnam) or USD 100 for 1,000 miles (outside Vietnam). The qualifying miles can be purchased in units of 1,000 miles and at a minimum of two units per purchase.

  • Qualifying flights: VND 2,350,000 for 1 flight (within Vietnam) or USD 100 for 1 flight if outside Vietnam. The qualifying flights are sold at a minimum of two flights per purchase.

As yo can see it costs USD100 for 1,000 qualifying miles or 1 qualifying flight. This means you could buy Lotusmiles lowest membership status called Titanium for US$1,500 as it requires 15,000 qualifying miles and get SkyTeam Elite status. You could spend as much as $5,000 to buy 50,000 qualifying miles for Lotusmiles Platinum status which gets SkyTeam Elite Plus status – the highest possible level for SkyTeam.

The buy qualifying miles page can be found here and if you read all the terms and conditions it doesn’t state a maximum number of miles you can buy so theoretically you should be able to buy Platinum status even without having any status. In fact the offer page say you an even buy the qualifying miles as a gift to someone else who technically may not hold any status.

Now I dug deeper into the Lotusmiles  and I can’t really find anything that wouldn’t allow you to do this. In fact in the program terms and conditions under Article 7 Earning Miles, Section 2 Qualifying Miles it states this as a method of earning them:

2.4. Purchasing Lotusmiles qualifying miles.

And an excerpt from Article 5 Section 3:

The Platinum membership tier shall be recognized after no less than 50,000 qualifying miles are accumulated within the qualifying period

Nowhere does it state you actually have to have flights – simply accumulation of 50,000 qualifying miles.

And further to that this is Lotusmiles definition of Qualifying Miles where they even state you can buy them but again no mention of limitations (bolding is mine):

Qualifying miles refers to miles accrued on eligible flights of Vietnam Airlines or any other airlines in the SkyTeam. In addition, Members can buy qualifying miles/flights from Lotusmiles or accumulate extra qualifying miles/flights from Vietnam Airlines promotional campaigns

So if this does work these are the benefits that would be afforded to you across the SkyTeam network:

As you can see it may not be worth it to go for Elite status as the benefits aren’t the greatest but Elite Plus does provide some extra benefits that could be worthwhile if you find yourself travelling lots when travel does come back into play. This especially holds true if your usual SkyTeam airline doesn’t extend your current status or if you don’t have status as a result of not qualifying due to you not travelling like you had anticipated prior to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Let us know if you have tried this or are thinking of giving this a shot in the comments section below. We’d love to hear how it went!

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  1. Unless you fly a lot with an airline that upgrades you each and every time (which is hard to believe as in my experience airlines are more reluctant to grant upgrades unless you have status with them) Elite Plus status is not worth anything near $5000.

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