There was a time when I first started earning frequent flyer miles in earnest that it made sense to mileage run for elite status. Fares were so cheap, status was based on distance flown, and the elite levels valuable enough that flying around taking extra trips just for the benefits could have made sense. Then airlines started imposing minimum spend requirements for status, and stopped awarding miles based on distance flown. They blew up the system.
However with American’s move to Loyalty Points where most mileage-earning activity counts towards elite status, the quest for elite is fun again. And you can ‘mileage run’ from your computer, without having to get on a plane.
You don’t have to fly at all to earn elite status, even Executive Platinum, though earning ‘choice benefits’ like systemwide upgrades (that start at the 125,000 Loyalty Point level) require at least 30 flights during the year.
Elite status will require:
- Gold: 30,000 points earned
- Platinum: 75,000 pointss earned
- Platinum Pro: 125,000 points earned
- Executive Platinum: 200,000 points earned
Frequent Miler flags two offers available right now that provide great value ‘mileage run from your desk’ opportunities to earn American AAdvantage miles cheaply and generate credit towards elite status at the same time.
Broadly speaking what you want to be looking out for are
- Outsized AAdvantage shopping portal offers, that award a lot of miles per dollar spent or a lot of miles to engage in a single transaction that may be inexpensive (these may be first-time customer bonuses with brands)
- Where you can stack these offers with additional mileage-earning through the SimplyMiles site, linking your credit card and paying with that card to earn more points for the same transaction when you pay for your shopping portal purchase with the card.
- And where you may also be able to take advantage of card-linked offers from an issuer, for instance Citibank has their own offers you can register for that may be valid at the same merchant as the SimplyMiles offer and AAdvantage shopping portal. (If there’s no SimplyMiles offer, which requires paying with a Mastercard, you can look to Amex Offers – but note that there are a handful of Mastercards issued by Chase where looking to Chase Offers can make sense, too.)
Here are the two offers.
- 2500 miles and loyalty points for $10, plus 4 mediocre bottles of wine 1500 miles for signing up with Winc Wines through the AAdvantage shopping portal. There’s an additional 1000 miles you can opt in for via the SimplyMiles portal, paying with a linked Mastercard. That’s 2500 miles and the minimum purchase needs to be $30.
Citibank has a card offer for $20 off $30, opt into that offer and make sure your Citi Mastercard (such as an AAdvantage card) is what’s linked to your SimplyMiles account. You can link 3 Mastercards there.
Then make a $30 purchase, and you’ll generate 2500 miles that count as loyalty points for $10. Then make a purchase, though you do need to be over $30 so if the total package recommended to you is less than that you’ll want to choose your own wine and replace a bottle with something more expensive. And after you’ve made your purchase, go into your account and pause your subscription. Once the miles post, go back and cancel the subscription. Trust me most folks will not want them auto-shipping bad wine.
- 6200 miles and loyalty points starting at $5, plus Prepaid Verizon service The shopping portal is offering 6200 miles for new Verizon service and this works with prepaid service which starts at $40 (you’re not going to want to keep this for more than a month). If you don’t want to spend $40 for the miles and Loyalty Points, Chase and Amex may have your back.
Some people are targeted for a Chase Offer of $30 off $40 for prepaid Verizon spend. Nick at Frequent Miler notes that “the total for a single line on the cheapest plan was initially $39.40, I turned off the autopay to take away that $5 discount and paid $44.40” to trigger the offer and generate a net cost of $14.40.
Even better there’s a targeted Amex Offer on some business cards of $75 back on $75+ spend. And while this is intended to be applicable to Verizon for Business, reports are that regular Verizon charges trigger the credit. Choose the $75 Unlimited Plus plan and you should be out of pocket around $5 in taxes after the rebate.
Here it doesn’t need to be spend on a Mastercard since there’s no applicable SimplyMiles offer at this time to stack with. Notably though 6200 miles is even worth it for the full $40 without a Chase or Amex offer, since that’s still just two-thirds of a cent per mile (and per Loyalty Point). Nick over at Frequent Miler is testing whether this offer can be earned multiple times, which would be interesting to say the least! Update: He reports having successfully used this more than once!!!
- 1000 miles and loyalty points for an email signup Babylist is offering 1000 miles for signing up for a baby registry, which remains private unless you share it, so non-expecting non-parents should be able to earn miles at no cost (“Reward only eligible on the inital registry sign-up.”)
With these three offers you can earn nearly 10,000 miles and loyalty points at a cost of $15 – $70, which is easily worthwhile for many. That’s even one third the way towards Gold elite status, and no AAdvantage Mastercard or flight is even necessary.