American Will Let You Keep Your Current Status For $2000 In Travel Spend Or $15K In Credit Card Spend

American Airlines has introduced two new ways to keep your status that you held at the start of 2021. These make it really easy for existing elites to keep status, especially upper tier elites or those who do a lot of credit card spend.

  1. Spend $15,000 on an AAdvantage co-brand credit card between July 15 and November 15

  2. Earn 2000 elite qualifying dollars between September 1 – December 31

If you do either of these two things you will keep the status you started the year with (and yes this means status that was extended in 2020 during the pandemic too) and it will last through January 31, 2023. Those whose temporary status comes from a status challenge do not qualify for this.

However if you keep Platinum Pro or Executive Platinum status this way it will not come with ‘elite choice rewards’ such as systemwide upgrades or bonus miles.

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

And they’re running 3 simultaneous promotions to make earning status this way easier: free qualifying dollars for existing elites, bonus qualifying miles on 10 segments flown by August 31, and purchased qualifying dollars.

Anyone that’s purchased qualifying dollars is now punching air. When I covered the offers I told you to wait, since there was little advantage to doing it right away. And the offer is non-refundable.

To be sure, $15,000 spend on an AAdvantage co-brand credit card is a lot in four months. But remember these are Mastercards to you can pay a mortgage with them via Plastiq (2.5% service fee). Make your car payment this way. Put your utilities on your credit card and pay them forward a few months if you’re able.

Anyone on track to re-earn Platinum Pro or Executive Platinum, at least, would probably have been earning 2000 qualifying dollars anyway during the last four months of the year as well. However anyone qualifying through a reasonable amount of flying is going to be happy-ish despite a promotion that really swells the elite ranks compared to where they’d otherwise have been, since upgrades are prioritized based on rolling 12 month qualifying dollars and those requalifying this way will have low qualifying dollars totals.

The funny thing for me is that the promotion will make me less likely to fly American. Giving them planned trips would have gotten me to Executive Platinum with the current promotions. Now that it’s easier to stay at that level (without systemwide upgrades for which there’s rarely advance-confirmable space), I’ll be able to spread my travels out for the rest of 2021 and use these easy offers instead.

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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  1. Agreed, Gary. This makes it easier for me too fly some WN or DL instead of just flying American/Alaska/Jet Blue for the remainder of the year. Would have qualified organically, but now who cares?

  2. @ Gary — I guess this is cheaper than. Installing seat-back TV.

    I will be very curious to see Delta’s response.

  3. @ Gary — I wonder how much AAs status promotions are driven mt their lack of interest in investing in IT?

  4. Congratulations to the EXPs that got the free Hyatt status match in 2019, and will be milking that all the way though to 31 JAN 23. Bravo. Truly, spectacular.

  5. I have no idea what my status was with AA on 01/01/21. With AA’s IT I doubt they can tell me.

  6. Got this one as well but will re-qualify for EXP without this shortcut with >4K EQD planned. I do not have AA credit cards anymore and do not plan on getting one. My understanding is that one would not be getting SWUs/choice awards if using this promo.

  7. It’s really disappointing that they are making you wait until 9/1 to start the 2k.

    I’ve booked a couple of flights with Southwest because it’s just not worth being loyal to AA anymore.

  8. Because the devil is in the details, is a CitiBusiness/AAdvantage card an “eligible AAdvantage® credit card”?

  9. It’ll be fun to see the most creative ways of earning $2000 EQDs; spending outright on AA or flying “per miles flown” on a partner.

  10. As to me, I’m pissed. With BOTH options!

    1) I’ve already spent 30k on affiliated cards this year, now I get the privilege of spending another $15k???

    Or…

    I was planning a status run to JNB that would have nearly met the EXP requirements at a cost of $3k.

    But now that means that I am a dope for spending $1000 more than I need. What’s worse is I was flying in July… so if I don’t make the EXP numbers with that flight, I’ll still need to fly more. Instead of a simpler flight in Sept.

    Just pissed.

  11. Hi Gary,

    Would you be kind enough to share some examples of easiest way to do $2k in EQM for a NYC (JFK) based traveler? Will really appreciate it.

  12. Wow! Thanks, AA. I can spend $2000 and still be a “normal/non-elite” AAdvantage member. That’s a slick proposition! (Yeah, I know this promo isn’t directed towards me).
    I’ll spend my money elsewhere until DP is no longer at the helm, you clean up your act and attempt to be the great airline you once were, you train your employees to be kind and friendly to everyone, you start having on-time flights, you add decent meals back to all classes (including buy-on-board), and add seat back entertainment screens to all your mainline aircraft. This probably means I won’t be flying with you AAnytime soon.

  13. For spending $2k to earn EQD, any fare with AA should count, except basic economy, right? It seems basic economy does not earn EQD anymore?

  14. Dear high value customer: ops this summer is gonna suck (again). tbh, we know you’ve been booking DL lately. See you in the fall.

  15. Gary, AA revenue management aren’t stupid, and they know some folks (such as yourself) will defer spending until September. What does AA know about the course of covid that would make them try to incentivize spending in the fall?

  16. @Charles. correct, basic economy will not help with this promotion. Also, any EQD earned via any bonus program, not sure what that might be. And then my question is if the eqd advantage when flying partner airlines would count.

    This is just what I needed. I was waiting to pull the trigger on the previous promotion until more near the last moment. I recommend reading all of the detailed rules. It would really suck to think you made it and find out you failed

  17. Love what AA is doing. My work travel has cut down last year and this year. Glad I can keep my PPro until 2023…

  18. @Mark Johnson:
    Thank you very much. The reason I asked is I had a couple tickets cancelled last March/April (due to Covid 19), so I am going to reactivate them, possible this fall, that should get me a few hundred dollars, then I will make a couple more travels (in US), taking all these together, I should have $2K, but just make sure not to book in basic economy. Thanks,

  19. So big question: I was on an elite challenge with American on January 1 and I had Platinum status on January 1, 2021. Does that mean if I spend the $2000, I get that status back?

  20. at JohnC. I don’t think so. Seems I read in the specific details that if you earned it through a challenge, this feature would not maintain that status. unfortunately since you did the challenge before June of 2021, that status will expire jan 2022. just a note, if you finish a challenge after June 1 or something like that, then you get to keep the status thru the next year.

    on the aa.com website where it talks about this deal, there is a link to the rules and it talks about if your existing status was due to a challenge. I will also try to read it again to see what applies

  21. @Gary, is it too late to get a co-branded AA card and meet the spending requirement?

    Don’t have a co-branded AA card yet but would like to get one and meet requirement if I’m still eligible.

  22. I’ve paid the cash offer to maintain my Platinum status for the last few years (+ COVID extension) so spending $2K with 1 September trip $~444 plus Alaska trip @30% ~500 then just need and old fashion mileage, oops dollar run 😉
    Fun marathon would be DCA (lv 08:30) MIA (77W) LAX (A32T red eye) JFK DCA return 14:00 next day. 🙂

    Unfortunately earns more than enough, 2450. 🙁

  23. If you have trip credit due to Covid-canceled flights. If used this year, does the trip credit count towards this year’s EQDs?

  24. I’m banned from Barclay so I can’t get their AA card as well. Citi denied me as well. Can I get a Citi Business card and spend $15k on it?

  25. @ Matt the Coffeeman @ James — Yes, AA now has a tracker for the $15k credit card spend under “Promotions” in your Advantage account. My only spend is on a business card, and it is correctly reflected there.

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