Elite qualifying miles (EQMs) are a measure of how many miles you fly on an airline. They are used to determine your elite status, which comes with perks like free upgrades and priority boarding. The number of EQMs you need to earn varies by airline, but is typically around 25,000 miles. To earn EQMs, you must fly on a paid ticket (not award tickets or upgrades). You also generally need to fly on the airline's own metal (not on a partner airline).