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American Airlines Status
There are currently several status challenge opportunities for American Airlines AAdvantage elite status. Last week I covered a new status challenge opportunity “Founderscard Offers AA Status Challenge”. There is also an American Airlines Gold Status Promotion being offered to World of Hyatt Elites who link their AA and Hyatt accounts. AA also periodically targets members for status challenges. Last summer I received a targeted promotion offering me free AA Gold Status as well as the opportunity to earn top tier Executive Platinum elite status with about only 25-30% of the usual earning requirements. I covered the details and requirements in this post at Miles to Memories.
Related: A Better Way to Buy AA Miles
Shortcuts to American Airlines Status Challenge Requirements
In this post, I’ll detail a few easy and cheap ways to meet the current AAdvantage elite challenge requirements. There are a few shortcuts to completing the AA Status requirements and the best path to status for you will depend on whether you’re trying to minimize spend or time. The best part of these challenges is that they will give you status until January 31, 2021.
Related: Earn Alaska MVP Status with One Trip
Shortcuts to Save Time
If you’re hoping to save as much time as possible you can easily book a quick flight in F or J. For example, a flight from JFK-DFW on a full fare ticket would earn you over 8,000 EQMs since the miles flown is 2760 and that would be multiplied by 3 based on the earnings chart pictured below. Bear in mind these fares are generally very expensive. A much better option is a round trip flight in discounted business or first. For example Chicago to Los Angeles or NYC to Las Vegas are popular routes that are generally available for around $1000 and with the double EQM bonus you’ll easily meet the 7k requirement.
Shortcuts to Save Money: 2 Ways
- Elite Qualifying Segments
- Partner Flights
Since only 8 segments are required for Gold, it can be achieved very cheaply though cheap economy flights with multiple segments. I personally think it’s crazy but you could do it for less than $200 if you’re willing to take some very obnoxious flights. Here’s an example of one such flight. This gives you 3 segments and only costs $73, I found a bunch of others with 3 segments that were under $65. This is obviously a lot of work and not a very fun way to fly but it is cheap. I definitely wouldn’t choose this option if you’re going for Platinum.
The more interesting option to meet the challenge requirements without actually spending thousands of dollars is by flying American’s partner airlines. (Note: Only flights operated or marketed by AA, Iberia, British Airways, Finnair and JAL would be eligible.) Flights marketed and operated by these specified partners earn EQMs and EQDs as a percentage of the distance flown as determined by the purchased fare class. The American Partner page details which partner marketed flights earn elite qualifying miles and the specific earn rate for each eligible fare class. Make sure you check the fare class code you’re booking against the specific airline chart.
The partner earning chart for British Airways (pictured below) shows that eligible flights booked through BA and credited to American earn EQMs equal to at least 100% of the number of miles flown for all except the most deeply discounted fare classes. This means that a flight distance of 10,000 miles would earn a minimum of 10,000. If you actually want to earn status with only one flight, you’ll have to do a long flight possibly with several stops because that will increase the miles flown. If a fare booking code is not listed in the tables, no EQMs or EQDs are earned.
A great example is this flight from LAX to LHR. The roundtrip flight miles is about 11,000, so an economy fare would give you 11,000 EQMs and $1100 in EQDs (which is enough for the Gold Challenge) and a Premium Economy flight could give you 16,500 EQMs and $2200 EQDs. I found a bunch of British Airways economy fares from $450 Round trip that would meet the requirements and Premium Economy fares for around $800 that would meet the Platinum Requirements.
As with anything in life you have to weight the benefits versus the costs. Here you need to decide whether Gold or Platinum status will be worth the time and money needed to achieve it. The biggest downfall is that these challenges don’t offer the path to the higher elite levels like American Airlines Platinum Pro and Executive Platinum.