American Airlines Rolls Out 3 New Promotions To Re-Qualify For Elite Status Faster

American Airlines has 3 new promotions to accelerate earning status for existing AAdvantage elite members, and it helps put me back on track to where status can be reached this year. One of the three is available to general members also.

I reported two weeks ago that during the first week of June American Airlines would extend expiring systemwide upgrade certificates (and that happened) and provide a status boost. Here’s the details on the status boost for current elite members.

Registration is required, log into your account and click on your ‘promotions’ tab and you’ll see a promotion to register for. There are actually three separate promotions and you need to accept each one separately.

Free Elite Qualifying Dollars Instantly

Register by August 31, qualifying dollars post to your account some time between instantly and within 24 hours of registration. There’s no strategic reason for most people to wait to register.

  • Current Executive Platinum and Concierge Key members: $3000 qualifying dollars
  • Platinum Pro members: $1500 qualifying dollars
  • Platinum: $1000 qualifying dollars
  • Gold: $500 qualifying dollars

Bonus Qualifying Miles On Your Next 10 Segments Flown By August 31

Register by August 17, but do so right away because only flights taken after registration are valid. This promotion is available not just to elites but to general members as well.

  • Current Executive Platinum and Concierge Key members: 1000 bonus qualifying miles per segment
  • Platinum Pro members: 750 bonus qualifying miles per segment
  • Platinum: 500 bonus qualifying miles per segment
  • Gold and no status: 250 bonus qualifying miles per segment

Flights on American and its partners that earn elite qualifying miles count (e.g. you can earn the bonus flying Alaska Airlines). Basic economy fares are excluded, and the bonus qualifying miles don’t count towards lifetime status.

They’ll Sell You More Qualifying Miles, And The Cost Counts Towards Qualifying Dollars

They are also offering to sell you elite qualifying miles, something I wrote about earlier in the year on a more targeted and expensive basis.

You have until August 31 to buy these qualifying miles, which is an incentive to guess if you need them rather than waiting to find out whether you do. (You may spend money unnecessarily but the cost is non-crazy especially for top elites.)

Register by August 31 and pay $495 to earn:

  • Current Executive Platinum and Concierge Key members: 10,000 qualifying miles
  • Platinum Pro members: 7500 qualifying miles
  • Platinum: 5000 qualifying miles
  • Gold: 2500 qualifying miles

These Offers Help You Reach Already-Reduced Qualifying Thresholds

Already American had reduced miles and qualifying dollars required for earning status this year by 20%:

  Gold Platinum Platinum Pro Executive Platinum
Elite qualifying dollars (EQD) 2,000 4,500 7,000 12,000
Elite qualifying segments (EQS) 20 45 70 95
Elite qualifying miles (EQM) 20,000 40,000 60,000 80,000

How These Work For Me In Practice

Take my case as an Executive Platinum. They’re giving me 3000 qualifying dollars, and I’ll earn 10,000 bonus qualifying miles. I can earn 20,000 qualifying miles via (a lot of) spend on their Citi Executive and Aviator Silver credit cards. And I can earn 3000 qualifying dollars with spend on the Aviator Silver.

That leaves me needing 6000 qualifying dollars and 50,000 qualifying miles to keep my status this year. For $495 I can buy that down to 5505 qualifying dollars and 40,000 qualifying miles.

I’ve got about 500 qualifying dollars and 6000 qualifying miles already, meaning I’ll need 5000 more qualifying dollars and 34,000 miles flown this year. Since I have business trips in June and July already this is all within reach again. I sort of resent the $495 but I may wind up paying, I have until late August to decide based on how my future travel bookings shape up.

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 »

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  1. Personally I don’t need these promotions as I am a very frequent traveler….now that I have my Exec. Platinum with AA I will finish the year flying United primarily to maintain my GOLD with this airline.

    Having more people with Exec. Platinum status, which will be the result of the current AA promotions will result in less upgrades for me so I’m not a fan of these promotions.

  2. Missed opportunity. This only gives to people who are already using American. By not giving to someone who does not have status American does nothing to broaden their customer base or even convert a competitor’s customer to American. A smart company would use the pandemic to expand.

  3. This strategy makes sense. 2021 is going to be dominated by leisure travel, not the business travel. 2022 should be the real return to normal as far as frequent flyer programs are concerned.

    This is just supposed to be a band aid to keep the typical business traveler from starting fresh next year, potentially with another airline.

  4. T: 100% agree

    I’m going to qualify for AA status for the first time in five years on Saturday after I finish a TATL leg in J. But since I’m not gold already, I’m not eligible for any of these promotions.

    Sounds like AA doesn’t want my money for the rest of the year, which was going to be enough flying for plat pro and would have kept me loyal for at least two years. I’ll just status match over to Delta now I guess. Disappointing.

  5. Wonder if this would trigger those pesky Amex airline credits that are useless as an ExecPlat….

  6. @ T, there is precious little evidence AA is a smart company but by the diluted standards of AA land, this is well thought out. Everybody with status gets something immediately to help them feel better about AA and benefits from actually flying are material. For anyone that does even a modest amount of international premium class travel, the bar for requalifying is actually quite low.

  7. One of the problems for the infrequent business flyers is that too keep status, one has to pay for many of the personal trips. That makes it hard to use all the miles one accumulates using the card to help maintain status.

  8. With this promo I will be PLT Pro by mid of July. But it would be difficult to re-qualify to EXP without long-haul international business travel.

  9. Contrary your advice above, it seems strategic to wait until just before your next actual fight to accept the EQDs, as they presumably will count/roll off your 12-month total based on the day of deposit, so you’d like them to be applied to your upgrade status as long as possible–no point in grabbing them before you’re actually going to be on any upgrade lists!

  10. Meh. Was hoping for better. Already have EQD waiver, the bonus miles per segment helps a little since I projected I’d be about 500 miles short based on some creative routing on planned travel, but the buy-up is worthless unless you don’t have the time to use $495 more productively for EQM. Even from my non-hub city I can get 5000 EQM for $187 by flying for a long weekend before Aug 31. Won’t turn it down, but not wowed.

  11. What are the odd they’ll apply the bonus to a paid F flight I took on AS last week?

  12. @Erasmus – yes, there’s a potential 2 month period you can have them included in your rolling EQD total if you aren’t flying in the next couple of months

  13. I know it sounds a little tough, but if you put 30,000 on your credit card you don’t need any EQDs.

    If I pay my income taxes of 25,000 (already have 5000 on the card), and pay the 1.99 percent fee for pay 1040, that will be $500 fee. Please check my math. And I bet the $500 might be deductible.. Not to mention the 25k miles from the card spend. I only need 50k for the million miler.

    If I pay too much, I can get a refund, but that lets me totally ignore EQDs which is always tough. The option to buy 7500 eqm for $495 and get that 495 as EQDs was attractive but if I don’t need EQDs then maybe I can find another way to get the eqm.

    By the way, my goal is Platinum Pro

  14. @mark johnson

    Your math is correct.

    I do something similar, without the fee. I happen to a have a kid in college and they accept tuition and housing fees via credit card. Plus, since it’s a foreign school, no exchange fee. Pay tuition just after closing date, have a two month interest free loan, just pay it off when it hits the statement.

  15. The nice thing about the tax payment is that if you over pay, they send you the money back. albeit at zero percent interest, but that isn’t far from what I am getting on my bank funds anyway.

    I have to admit that if I had charged the same amount on my chase csr, then I have to add that lost revenue to the calculation.

    I just don’t want to be AA naked with a million miles in the bank. Please someone, help me find an easy 40k eqms.

  16. @mark johnson

    The following AA flights in late August are promising, so you can also collect whatever segment EQMs you have on offer. Main Cabin fares. There are other fares out there, but 40k EQM just isn’t easy no matter what. There are some international runs, from LAX in particular, that are in the 5 to 6 cents per EQM range, but that’s more expensive than the domestic runs.

    LGA-ORD-FAI (New York to Fairbanks) $252 RT – 7014 EQM
    MIA-LAX (Miami to LA) $127 RT – 4684 EQM

  17. @Gary, I think these promotions are great!! Especially in combination with the promotions at the end of 2020 for spending & miles that carried over to 2021 qualifications. I registered for the EQD promo and now have enough EQDs for platinum pro, along with the rewards for qualifying in 2021 (miles, charity donations, SWU). I now should be able to requalify for exec plat by the end of this month.
    @Alex I used my amex credits to buy an Admirals lounge yearly membership. I much prefer the Centurion Lounges but since every airport doesn’t have them, the Admirals Lounges will do.

  18. “Already American Airlines reduced the requirements to earn status in 2021 and then introduced three promotions for existing elites to keep their status. Then American even rolled out two more ways for existing elites to keep their status next year, $2000 qualifying dollars in spend on the airline this fall, or $15,000 spend on co-brand credit cards over four months.”

    I obtained EP status from original AA/Hyatt Globalist match in 2019 — meeting the challenge to keep EP status through Jan 2021. Got 4 SWUs, too.

    Status extended to Jan 2022 due to Covid, and SWU’s recently extended to July 31, 2022.

    Does anyone know if these existing elite promos will apply to status from 2019 Hyatt Status Match/Challenge?

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