A frequent flyer shared their amazement that the purchase of 127 bonsai trees could earn them Executive Platinum status. But it’s actually much easier – and cheaper – than that.
Right now FTD (the florist) earns 20 American AAdvantage miles per dollar, and those count as “Loyalty Points” which determine elite status. However frequently they’ll offer 40 miles per dollar (one such offer just ended). There might even be a SimplyMiles deal for paying with a Mastercard. But even if there’s not, if you pay with an American AAdvantage credit card you’ll earn 41 Loyalty Points per dollar.
You need to spend $4878.05, then, at FTD to earn American AAdvantage Executive Platinum status when they run 40 miles per dollar.
- Gold: 30,000 Loyalty Points
- Platinum: 75,000 Loyalty Points
- Platinum Pro: 125,000 Loyalty Points
- Executive Platinum: 200,000 Loyalty Points
Gold elite ‘costs’ just $731.71 in FTD spend under a 40 miles per dollar offer. And Bonsai trees are $63 apiece (plus tax and shipping). Twelve Bonsai trees to Gold and 78 Bonsai trees to Executive Platinum.
Earning AAdvantage elite status,
- Is cheaper through online shopping than flying. A new member looking to earn Gold status would need to spend $6000 in airline tickets or $732+tax and shipping in Bonsai trees.
- An Executive Platinum looking to requalify on flights alone would have to spend over $18,000 in airfare, or less than $5000+tax and shipping in Bonsai trees.
The key is going to be scouring SimplyMiles.com for card-linked offers and the AAdvantage shopping portal (and looking for offers that allow you to stack the two, buying through the shopping portal with a SimplyMiles offer you’ve added to a Mastercard).
Yesterday there was something better and cheaper than Bonsai trees for earning status. It was supposed to last through January 31 but pulled early, joining Motley Fool Stock Advisor for $79 earned 7400 AAdvantage miles and loyalty points. That was buying Loyalty Points at just over a penny apiece or ’94 loyalty points per dollar’ assuming you value Motley Fool stock advice at zero. (You may see the offer at $99, if so leave and return via AAsdvantage shopping or click on one of the other links on the page for the offer to get the $79 price to come back.)
You’ll still need to take at least 30 flights if you want choice rewards (like systemwide upgrades) starting at the Platinum Pro level, but redeeming AAdvantage miles for award travel on American counts for that, too.
This may all seem strange, and most people won’t take advantage of opportunities to earn status at the lowest cost this way. but it underscores the point that activities other than flying are simply higher margin for the airline that traveling in a metal tube between cities. So you earn 5 to 11 loyalty points per dollar spent on airfare (depending on elite status level) and 20 – 40 loyalty points per dollar sending flowers.