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AA (Aadvantage) Status Challenge - fast track to gold or platinum status

theimage13 3,027 1,201 January 6, 2016 at 09:12 AM in Travel (2)
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If you're one of those people who takes a couple pretty lengthy flights, but never quite enough for status, this could help you big time.

American Airlines is offering a Status Challenge for 2016. It's only valid for people who do not currently have status with the Aadvantage program, and it works like this.

Sign up by calling 888-697-5636. Once you register for the program, you'll have 90 days to meet the requirements for status. Meet it, and you'll have that status for the rest of the year.

7,500 EQMs (elite qualifying miles) + $120 = gold status (first level - usually requires 25,000 miles in a calendar year)
12,500 EQMs + $200 = platinum status (second level - usually 50,000 miles in a year)

A list of benefits per status level can be found here: https://www.aa.com/i18n/AAdvantag...e&from=Nav

Basically: if you have ONE round trip international flight coming up in the next three months, you'll be able to qualify for at least gold, if not platinum, status. Well worth it if you fly even a couple times a year, if you ask me.
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#2
Just called them about this. Some more info:

You pay the $120 upfront so make sure you have an upcoming flight or set of flights that you're planning on booking before signing up.

You can book flights with any airlines in the Oneworld Alliance (British Airways, Cathay Pacific, etc.) and use those miles towards status with American, but you HAVE to use your AAdvantage account to post miles on there.

If you already have an upcoming flight with AA (or a Oneworld partner) you can still use those EQMs to achieve status as long as it posts against your AAdvantage number.
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#3
Haven't tried it yet myself, but I'm told (by travel bloggers) that you can also challenge from current Gold status to Platinum status, though I have no idea what the requirements (EQM's or cash) would be.

Anyone verify this to be true or not?
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#4
You can challenge for Platinum, but if you come up short (e.g. you earn 11k EQM), you can still qualify for Gold status.
They don't refund any of the $200 though.

Make sure the flight qualifies for EQM when booking with a OW partner. I don't think all OW partners are included (but BA is).

The clock starts on the challenge within a week or so after you call. so you want to have something booked, but you also want it to be close to the start of that trip, so you have the longest window possible to get miles.
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#5
Quote from NihmRodd View Post :
Haven't tried it yet myself, but I'm told (by travel bloggers) that you can also challenge from current Gold status to Platinum status, though I have no idea what the requirements (EQM's or cash) would be.

Anyone verify this to be true or not?
I've been told that you're not eligible to challenge if you already have status with them. On an individual basis, sometimes AA will send out a targeted, unsolicited offer to try to level up - this happened to a colleague last year, and I believe it was something like $75 and 90 days to meet the mileage requirement, but I could honestly be remembering those details wrong.
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#6
If one is flying above economy class on an international flight, one may already be close to gold status after the flight. Should do the calculation before paying for the challenge. The gold status will not do much for a flight above economy.

Also, gold status does not give a whole lot. If one only have a couple of flights after the challenge, one may be better off paying for better seating on a flight than the $120. If one is doing this just for early boarding, can do that with a Citicorp credit card. This is only worthwhile if one is planning to fly often after meeting the challenge. Note AA is changing status renewals to Jan of following year.
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#7
Quote from theimage13 View Post :
I've been told that you're not eligible to challenge if you already have status with them. On an individual basis, sometimes AA will send out a targeted, unsolicited offer to try to level up - this happened to a colleague last year, and I believe it was something like $75 and 90 days to meet the mileage requirement, but I could honestly be remembering those details wrong.
If you were close to meeting a status level last year, AA would have offer you ability to buy the status. That email came out around December. I do not consider these deals worthwhile if one is not going to fly often or AA is not the hub. Especially if one flies based on the lowest fare. AA often not the lowest against Southwest or Jet Blue.
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#8
This is tempting. I have a RT from LAX to Houston in April (1380 each way), and am debating taking a trip to Hawaii (2600 each way). But doing both within 90 days wasn't in the plan.

I take it they don't count flights previous to enrolling? I just had a 3K segment on AA 5 days ago.
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#9
Quote from haserfauld View Post :
This is tempting. I have a RT from LAX to Houston in April (1380 each way), and am debating taking a trip to Hawaii (2600 each way). But doing both within 90 days wasn't in the plan.

I take it they don't count flights previous to enrolling? I just had a 3K segment on AA 5 days ago.
Try calling. I heard they sometimes make an exception if it's a week before you sign up...
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#10
Damn, they are charging money also on top of qualifying miles, crazy, they never used to do that before.
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#11
Quote from Commentary View Post :
If one is flying above economy class on an international flight, one may already be close to gold status after the flight. Should do the calculation before paying for the challenge. The gold status will not do much for a flight above economy.

Also, gold status does not give a whole lot. If one only have a couple of flights after the challenge, one may be better off paying for better seating on a flight than the $120. If one is doing this just for early boarding, can do that with a Citicorp credit card. This is only worthwhile if one is planning to fly often after meeting the challenge. Note AA is changing status renewals to Jan of following year.
Something to think about:

Gold status means a free checked bag - that's $50 round trip for each flight you take.

It means free preferred seats, and main cabin extra once you're checking in. That's about $80 one way for a cross country flight or $150 per leg for an international flight. East coast to Asia, for example, this would save you about $400 based on the prices I've encountered on that route. Not available with a number of credit cards.

It means priority check in (not available with the credit card) and boarding before credit card holders, which makes the airport slightly less of a pain in the butt.

It's also gotten me free first class upgrades on shorter flights, and offers for cheap (under $100) for longer ones).

Hence, why I said that if one has even a couple of flights coming up later this year, it can already be worth it. If you have numerous flights, I'd say it's definitely worth it.

And depending on your international flight, you may be close but no cigar. You can fly from the east coast to Indonesia and back and still not have status. With this, you could have status after you land in your destination, and use it to save money on a better seat on your way home.
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#12
No ExPlat challenge?
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#13
I wonder, do both flights have to be under my name? or same booking?

Also what does Gold or Platinum get you to make it worth?

I may just jump on international flight early for this..
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#14
aren't status challenges/matches better in the second half of the year, as you'll get status for all of the next calendar year as well?
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#15
Quote from theimage13 View Post :
Something to think about:

Gold status means a free checked bag - that's $50 round trip for each flight you take.

It means free preferred seats, and main cabin extra once you're checking in. That's about $80 one way for a cross country flight or $150 per leg for an international flight. East coast to Asia, for example, this would save you about $400 based on the prices I've encountered on that route. Not available with a number of credit cards.

It means priority check in (not available with the credit card) and boarding before credit card holders, which makes the airport slightly less of a pain in the butt.

It's also gotten me free first class upgrades on shorter flights, and offers for cheap (under $100) for longer ones).

Hence, why I said that if one has even a couple of flights coming up later this year, it can already be worth it. If you have numerous flights, I'd say it's definitely worth it.

And depending on your international flight, you may be close but no cigar. You can fly from the east coast to Indonesia and back and still not have status. With this, you could have status after you land in your destination, and use it to save money on a better seat on your way home.
Not sure how you get free first class upgrades. AA does not give free upgrades except to EXP. Otherwise, you have to have stickers. They are also raising the price of stickers.

The preferred seating and MCE is nice. But if you are only gold and in a major hub, you would often not get it. The plats and EXP will trump you. One may be better off paying extra for those trips.

Priority boarding is nice. But group 1 is usually adequate if one only wants to get on first to have room for luggage. One can the free check bag and group 1 with the Citicorp card, which also sometimes do give a 10% back when redeeming miles.

I think the challenge is great if one is going to fly AA often. But if one is already going to earn the status after one or two flights, may not be worthwhile to pay them.


Citicorp credit card benefits:

NEW! - No foreign transaction fees on purchases^
Your first checked bag is free for you and up to 4 traveling companions on domestic itineraries
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