Originally Posted by Angus
It was down to how many kills you made - but unlike the BBC version there was a point system - so a Thargoid would be worth more than an Asp, which would be worth more than an asteroid. You got a "Right on, Commander!" message every 256 points and I think you acheived Deadly status at 3000 points, and Elite at 6000 points. That's to the best of my memory, anyway.
Alas, no... if that were the case you'd only need about an hour to get to Elite with the way the Amiga version scored for ships. Luckily, I saved the game when near Elite without realizing it way back when, and quickly refiring the game up again today, and blasting a few ships, you become Elite somewhere near 1,638,435 points. And the "Right On Commander" is for every 256 ships, not points. You also get one when you rank up.