American Airlines Is Selling Elite Status, No Match Or Challenge Required

American Airlines offers elite status challenges. You can earn status on an expedited basis, with a fairly complicated formula. It’s a way of getting their status quickly, rather than having to wait until you earn (say) 200,000 Loyalty Points in a year to become an Executive Platinum. The airline usually charges for this, but the charge can be appealed and they may waive it.

However American is also sending out marketing emails to members offering to let them straight up buy elite status. This isn’t the usual ‘buy back status you lost last year’ or even ‘buy a level of status higher than what you earned’ (which historically has generated over $30 million per year in revenue).

Instead, American is sending out offers to members who do not have status at all – members who may not have flown them in years – and offing to let them buy Gold or Platinum status through March 2024 directly.

This is a targeted offer so prices may vary, but I’ve seen them offer:

  • Gold status: $749 or 75,000 miles
  • Platinum status: $1,349 or 135,000 miles

It’s interesting that they’re offering payment in miles at one cent apiece, and this could be better for some people than jumping through he hoops of “Instant Status Pass.” It’s also another way that Gold members and one million miler status has become less valuable: someone with status can redeem 75,000 miles to be above them on upgrade and other wait lists for nearly a year without having earned status themselves.

(HT: Nick)

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, 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 »

More articles by Gary Leff »


  1. […] AA is selling status through targeted personal offers:– Gold for between $350 and $1,000– Platinum for between $1,000 and $1,800They’ll also sell you the status for miles at the exchange rate of $0.01 per mile. Since no one asked for my opinion, I’m going to, err, share it anyway: These prices range somewhere between meh and lol, or extrapolating geographically somewhere between Amarillo and Lubbock. (Thanks to VFTW) […]


  1. AA equals revenue whores selling status
    One big joke and a slap in the face to those who earned it flying and seriously spending
    Lifetime Plats should have gotten Plat Pros

  2. Obvious cash grab. So much for that stimulus money keeping them afloat. Bankruptcy within two years.

  3. “One big joke and a slap in the face to those who earned it flying and seriously spending”

    Did you spend your own money or your companies?

  4. Alas, no offer for me, but I only have 58,000 lifetime miles, and no activity since 2020 for a ticket I bought, cancelled, and never used the credits.

  5. Platinum is not worth 1350.00. As a lifetime plat I get free checked bags. You get that with the credit card. You get exit row seats.

  6. My offer was $1369 or 137K miles for gold status.

    I wonder if your flight history affects the offer. I haven’t flown on AA for about 4 years, but I have accrued AA miles on One world partner airlines in the last 2 years. I have enough miles in my account that I could upgrade entirely with miles if I got the 75K offer.

  7. Who would be so crazy to buy these statuses? These days, upgrade does not even appear in your dream! Your bags will show up same time as other elite flyers. Boarding first, no, other credit card holders will board with or before your status. Save the cash for nice meal or a deluxe hotel stay.

  8. I actually think you could get decent value out of that Platinum offer, especially if you do a fair amount of short-haul international. Mexico and Central America upgrades often clear for Plats, you’d get AC access on those flights, and MCE at booking on everything. Greenwich/Flagship access on long-haul is a nice perk too. I think this is a great deal for MIA based passengers, and could shift some NYC business over to AA for people who might otherwise fly B6 or DL.

    If you’ve already earned status, it doesn’t matter. At 0 LPs, they’ll be way behind you on the upgrade list.

  9. Can anyone explain, I was first on the upgrade wait-list on AA. It didn’t clear, but still shows one seat available for upgrade, but on the actual plane all the first class seats were full? The flight attendant has no clue, but as we are delayed, she wasn’t interested in asking the desk. Any ideas?

  10. I have been an Exec Plat since 2010. The first years were great but as they went by it just felt less and less ‘special’. I now spend most of my time in Peru and can still get a high status with the One World Group using Iberia as my main mileage bank. Plus Iberia still works with LATAM which is great for me. I can fly to the US using LATAM which offers a far superior service to AA now. Miami to Lima on AA is now basically a 5 1/2 hour domestic flight. They even canceled their partnership with the lounge in Lima airport which was kind of what broke the camels back for me after all the other down grades in service over the years.

  11. I was offered some obnoxiously expensive cost of 75,000 points or $750 for Platinum Pro despite already having three confirmed and paid for business class tickets for May 2023 that will take me over the requirement.

  12. Reminiscent of Marriott too. Worked my ass of to get Starwood Platinum for Life when it meant something. Not so much for Marriott and now they give it away with the right credit card. End result, maybe breakfast but forget suite upgrades. I guess there’s still some value in the game. I retired and no longer manufacture miles. Have to be happy with truly amazing memories.

  13. Wow. Can’t believe I wasted my BusinessExtra points on a gold status gift!

  14. Status is already a joke 3/4 of the plane has status now and boards first. Most is from credit cards

  15. @Steven S:

    You “worked” your “ass off to get Starwood Platinum for Life?” Really? Did your employer happen to pay for any of those nights when you “worked” that arse off? What exactly did the “work” involve? Did you wash dishes or clean floors in exchange for your hard-earned status?

    Sarcasm aside, it always baffles me when people somehow feel entitled to hotel or airline status they “earned” through work travel vs. people who get it other ways such as paying for it. Did I “earn” my Marriott Platinum status all those years when I hosted meetings and got Meeting Rewards? Am I “cheating” those AA Exec Platinum members our of their “earned” upgrades when I pay cash for a J class ticket? Hilton Diamond and Marriott Platinum status are not “given” away with credit cards: They are benefits that come with premium cards with hefty annual fees. I don’t see how that’s different than paying for airline lounge membership.

  16. I fly with them shortly, 400 to upgrade to First Class. I haven’t flown in years so worth it to me but don’t expect anything besides a bigger seat. There is no prestige to flying, and unless you’re going international with a special first class, the seats are a joke.

  17. I feel my AA stock price going up as they can buy down some of the mileage balances on paper or add revenue selling low-level status that cost them next to nothing. It’s a good move on their part and we will see more of this across all brands in the future.

  18. I’d like to respond to Tim and Texan@Heart who take issue with business travelers whose companies reimburse them for business travel. Just because you’re getting reimbursed, doesn’t mean you aren’t dealing with all the adversity that being on the road a lot brings. And if you decide to do all your travel on one airline so you can get status and points and early boarding and all the things that will possibly enable you to keep up the travel pace that your job demands without getting burnt out, you deserve to have those perks. I do EVERYTHING on American to keep my status, including giving them money out of my pocket when I haven’t qualified to keep Platinum Pro the past two years because we’re still coming back to normal from the pandemic. And because I’m trying to keep status, I do all my personal travel on American, that I am paying for myself. I often take trips with connections when I could fly direct, simply to stay loyal to American and keep my status within reach. So yes, hearing some of this stuff, is a bit disconcerting, but I think we all understand how hard it is for airlines to be profitable. Not that I truly care, but I will put it this way: Please don’t look down on me for having a job for 26 years that requires me to travel a lot and for the fact that I choose to focus on an airline to leverage all of it. If I didn’t do that, I would be stupid. And please understand that for some people who are doing what I do, hearing about these offers, understandably, doesn’t feel all that good. I don’t think they have any reason to be shamed for that.

  19. As a Platinum for Life, I find the offer by AA to be a slap in the face. I earned P4L the old fashioned way. Then they watered it down with Platinum-Pro.
    American Airlines is stinking up the airport again.

  20. As an EP who spends my own money, no company money, since apparently it matters how people earn status. It’s insane the things AA sucky US Airways management focuses on. Stop using 787 delays as an excuse. Provide us with a better international route map, instead of expanding and making Austin a domestic hub. Build the international routing, give us metal options or build true codeshare partnerships that benefit us, not the other guy’s customers. And please be loyal to those of us who actually fly on AA planes and not spend credit card and shopping to get status we don’t use.

  21. For just a dollar a day – less than the price of a cup of coffeeA you can sponsor a lowly Gold to Executive Platinum.

  22. I blame all if this nonsense on deregulation….100 years ago. Life would have been so much smoother with:
    First Class Ticket
    Coach Class Ticket
    30 Day Advance Purchase (Coach only)
    Child Fare

  23. The most I would ever pay for gold status is 249. Having gold is almost nothing. Chances of getting upgraded is less than 5%, early boarding with very little but it’s nice if you’ve got a big carry on. Free checked bag, got it with a credit card. I used to get upgraded to main cabin extra once or twice a year, now, most planes only includes bulk head seats for MCE which I’ll never sit in. Never been upgraded to 1st in many years of traveling. So no, it’s not worth much, gold status is still a gamble at 249.

  24. PK also sells premium status, and VS will match it with a booking. And it’s cheaper. Haven’t flown VS for awhile, but I might just do this, later this year. AA is OW like QR, but I think I would prefer OW status from QR rather than from AA, but I might think about this some more.

    While not entirely new, I don’t know if selling status like this is going to become big and trendy or not.

  25. Damn. I bought 87 Bonsai trees from 1800flowers to get 200,000 LP last year for only $4700. Now any shlub can buy a piece of nothingness for a few thou! Sounds almost as good as crypto!

  26. No womder there is always a massive wait time on the EP help line. Elite means nothing on aa.

  27. Ugh. Bring back the good old days of the Boeing 314. White tablecloth service dinners…for 30k.

  28. Longtime platinum and above member. This offer has been a standard in past years (a dollar or mile amount to bump yourself up a category or two). As it stands, they’ve shut me out of the offer to which you linked. Another way in which — as you alluded to — AA devalues the status earned by veteran customers. More than perturbing.

  29. @Mary, I do not “take issue with business travelers whose companies reimburse them for business travel.” I am one of those travelers. I take issue with business travelers who think they should receive special treatment because their status is “earned the hard way” vs. people who PAY for lounge access, suites, J class tickets, or hotel perks out of pocket.

    Paying for lounge membership or Hilton Diamond/Marriott Platinum status via a premium AMEX card is not a mortal sin. I understand why business travelers (like me) don’t appreciate it when our upgrades don’t clear, there’s no suite upgrade availability, or the lounges are crowded. I understand why we wish these perks weren’t for sale. But they are. And I don’t blame people for buying them or consider myself superior to those who choose to.

  30. @loungeabuser:

    Suppose you “buy a piece of nothingness for a few thou!” to earn a higher American Airlines elite status and enjoy the privilege of boarding ahead of a pesky infestation of gate lice. In that case, you will never enjoy the tranquility and peacefulness emoted by your 87 Bonsai tree forest.

  31. Platinum Pro isn’t worth it. I’m always 3rd or 4th on the Upgrade List and it never clears. I travel weekly but have switched most of my travel to United (because of their schedule). The Premium Economy seats are ridiculously tight and offer very little extra legroom. It’s time to bring back the CAB:)

  32. It really is only going to help people get a free checked bag and access to better seat selection. But should not do it expecting to get upgrades. On the upgrade list someone that does a buy up without flying will still be below someone that earned Platinum. Upgrades still go to EXP primarily

  33. If you travel for work for the State of Oklahoma, any miles earned have to be deposited to the state account. I wonder if this will happen for corporations in the future as well.

  34. Lawsuit should be filed against AA here. The government needs to crack down and regulate these airline circus programs!!!

  35. Million Mile member with business class to Europe which I paid for handsomely coming up.

    My offer: no offer.

    Thanks for absolutely nothing, AA.

  36. I only fly first class on every flight…i pay it…i dont upgrade…i book it first class…nobody reimburses me…i have an executive platinum and fly 1 million miles + every year..i also have an ambassador elite marriot bonvoy….it does make a difference on all of them..when you think you have the upgrade or the credit card to get on the plane first, im the rich guy that gets on before even them…put in the travel and you too can experience true rewards

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *