American Airlines Changes How Credit Card Spend Counts Towards Status

American Airlines counts points earned from most activity towards status. Your flying, online shopping, car rentals and gas purchases count towards status.

This makes sense for the airline because miles sold to partners are high margin – far higher margin than selling tickets to fly on airplanes. And it makes sense because it encourages more spend on their co-brand credit cards.

A majority of miles are earned via credit card, and American’s U.S. co-brands earn 1 Loyalty Point per dollar spent, a lot of status is being generated by credit card. This means that customers with status aren’t necessarily experienced flyers anymore.

Since credit card spending is so important for driving elite status, American Airlines is letting customers know that they’ve changed how that spend is counted towards status.

  • American’s status year now runs March through February. That means you aren’t making a year end push for status. You have until the end of February to earn status for next year (March 2024 – February 2025). A lot of members forget this.

  • But say that your credit card statement closed February 5, and wouldn’t close again until March 5. Normally you’d expect then that spending done on the card February 6 though the end of February will actually count towards the following year‘s status, since it’ll post in the following year.

  • Instead American has changed this. And the date of your charge is the date that it’ll count for status. So spending in February will count for status in the current member year. Spending in March will count for status the next member year. That’s regardless of when your statement closes.

With a few months left in the status qualification year, we wanted to make you aware of a change we’ve made to reaching status with your AAdvantage® credit card.

What has changed?

The Loyalty Points you earn on AAdvantage® credit card* purchases between March 1 and the end of February of the following year count toward the current status qualification year.

This means you can earn Loyalty Points through February 29, 2024, instead of your last statement close date of the qualification year.

What will this look like?

As an example, if your monthly AAdvantage® credit card statement closes on March 5 (which includes purchases posted to your credit card account between February 6 and March 5), all the Loyalty Points earned from purchases made between February 6 through 29 will count toward 2024 status. All Loyalty Points earned between March 1 and 5 count toward the 2025 qualification year.

It may take up to 8 – 10 weeks after March 5 to post to your account, in this example.

American Airlines status requires:

  • Gold: 40,000 Loyalty Points
  • Platinum: 75,000 Loyalty Points
  • Platinum Pro: 125,000 Loyalty Points
  • Executive Platinum: 200,000 Loyalty Points

You may be like me, and you’ve already requalified for Executive Platinum status. I expect to end the year at the 400,000 Loyalty Point level, double the number of points required for Executive Platinum.

My bet is that I will want to avoid spending on the card in February, because it won’t help me earn status or reach the next Choice Benefit level. I might have wanted to spend on an American Airlines card after my statement closes in February because it would have given me a head start on status for next year. Now it won’t. I want to wait until March to spend on an American card, rather than wasting the spend.

But if you are using those last few weeks in February to hit your status with American AAdvantage, then this is a great change for you.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. I guess I can’t complain too much, but still, thi is the like the 6th major change that either AA or CITI has made to earning status in the last 3 years. Hopefully they keep everything stable for at least 2 years now. Getting a bit much to keep up with so many changes.

    Also, AA Hotels Sucks.

  2. So is American Airlines getting Citibank to send over specific transaction dates from AA affinity credit cards?

    Not a fan of one company giving another company ever more personal and detailed data about the partner company’s users/customers.

  3. I think people got confused earlier this year so they’re trying to make it more clear. They went back earlier this year and retroactively gave everyone credit for all spending between when their February statements closed and the end of the month.

  4. This makes sense and helps with consistency. American Airlines SimplyMiles® and eShopping already operate like this. The AAdvantage® miles and Loyalty Points are posted with the purchase date regardless of when the miles/Loyalty Points actually post to one’s AAdvantage account.

    A reason one may wish to continue to spend on an AA co-brand credit card when one has already earned Executive Platinum for the coming year is to increase the rolling 12-month amount of Loyalty Points. This is important if one is regularly not receiving upgrades while others with the same elite level are.

  5. What’s the thinking behind this? Historically, qualification thru 12/31 gave status thru end of Feb. Now they align qualification and benefit years, but the time lag hasn’t improved. In the extreme case, you spend $40K on a credit card on Feb 27, 2024. Your statement closes March 26, 2024, and it takes up to 10 weeks to post from then, so early June? Which earns you Gold thru Feb 28, 2025, less than 9 months of status?

  6. This seems like a policy change for Barclays as a whole? JetBlue also changed their points policy to mirror this (any spend in 2023 goes to 2023 tiles, any spend in 2024 goes to 2024 tiles regardless of when the statement close date is)

    @swag earning status after 3/1/24 will provide status until 3/31/26

  7. This is why I’ve given up on AA & Citi. If AA has the lowest & most convenient fares, great! I’ll fly them.
    Otherwise Delta, SW, Jet Blue, or Asian & Mid-East Airlines get my money.

    I’ve got over a 1 million lifetime miles on AA & this is AA & Citi’s kick in the teeth to thank me.

    Buh-Bye.

  8. This is so ironic because I moved my statement date from the 5th of the month to the 28th. I’m wondering how many savvy shoppers figured this out and it was overwhelming the Citi billing system for that date.
    Further irony was the spend $5000 in October and November a earn 13,500 miles promotion. I pulled that off and hit Platinum in the process. I’ll never make P Plus so I’ve switched back to my United card until March 1st .
    PS my Xmas shopping is done.

  9. Does anyone know when this new accounting starts as I have an Instant Status Pass challenge and phase 1 ends on February 9th?

  10. I am in the same boat as you, having already qualified for Executive Platinum, so I will not be using my AAdvantage credit card until after March next year.

  11. So for those of us who have already requalified for EXP & have millions of miles in our AA account, which seem to continue getting devalued, guess it’s time to charge everything until 3/1 on my AmEx platinum card, including AA tics, although for the latter, when purchasing tics in the 1st cabin, one needs to book on the aa.com website in order to get the lowest ticket price. Sadly, there are now many people out there who have achieved EXP status without flying at all and without being Concierge Key, you might as well not even bother trying to achieve status w/AA.

  12. Wow, 400,000 loyalty points! I would love to see a separate article breaking down how you got to that point

  13. I would like to see how you earned those as well, flying vs purchases. I can’t imagine you’d be spending on the card are 1pt/$ if you’re already over the 200,000. You value AA miles that much?

  14. I too will end up the status year with well over 200k miles. Wish there was a carryover!!

  15. I must have misunderstood when I looked at it this morning, I thought all of our earned points would be taken away in March if not used. Not true?

  16. The credit card program is infuriating! Call it what it is – not a mileage loyalty program, but a credit card program. This is a punishment for those who fly regularly.

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