With promotions for bonus qualifying miles and qualifying dollars a current Executive Platinum needs to spend $9000 and fly 70,000 qualifying miles to re-earn their status. American will then sell 10,000 more qualifying miles to an Executive Platinum for $495.
But many AAdvantage members who do not have any status at all are being gifted,
- Platinum status
- Coomplimentary upgrade certificates
- An expedited path to even higher status
In fact, just 25,000 miles and $3550 qualifying dollars in 3 months is enough for these customers to earn Executive Platinum, which is similar on an annualized basis to normal Executive Platinum qualifying criteria – but less than half of what Executive Platinums need to do overall this year with promotions.
- The first half of the year was mostly a writeoff. There was very little business travel, almost no long haul international travel, and many elites still weren’t even traveling for leisure.
- So comparing with ‘normal’ criteria doesn’t make sense, doubling 3 month criteria to compare it to six months of travel is more realistic.
- And while the back half of 2021 should be ‘more normal’ than the prior 16 months, business travel won’t really begin to ramp up in earnest until the last four months of the year and many long haul destinations – bread and butter for corporate travelers – won’t even be open in a meaningful way.
With Long Haul Travel Limited, Many American Airlines Widebodies Are Flying Domestically
Some status challenge offers are for lower levels than Executive Platinum, for instance topping out at Platinum Pro. You can log in to check if you’re targeted. Even if you don’t plan to fly American, it’s worth registering for the free 500 mile upgrade certificates which do not expire and might be useful in the future.
Airlines give away status all the time. Usually it’s the lowest levels of status, rather than top tier. It’s rare to offer people without even competitors’ status an expedited path to top tier elite that your existing best customers don’t get.
Recently when American Airlines came out with its promotions for existing elite members to retain their status, a senior manager at the airline argued to me that I wouldn’t have wanted the promotions to be more generous, because that would have inflated the elite ranks and meant more people competing for scarce things like upgrades and spots on standby lists. But the airline is doing just that, opening a targeted fast track to top status that’s easier than the one they’re providing as a tool to retain the people that have been their best customers.
Ultimately though status is only useful and competition for rivalrous benefits only meaningful to the extent that newly minted elites actually fly, and if this becomes material it’s likely because they’re flying enough where there contribution is worthwhile to the airline.