The new American Airlines elite status-earning program that goes into effect next year is going to make some flyers very happy. Anyone who can spend a lot on credit cards is going to find status-earning much easier. In fact, you can earn Executive Platinum status with $200,000 in spend alone.
- Gold: 30,000 miles earned
Platinum: 75,000 miles earned
Platinum Pro: 125,000 miles earned
Executive Platinum: 200,000 miles earned
Doing that won’t earn “choice rewards” given at the Platinum Pro and Executive Platinum level (options such as confirmed international upgrades). That will require a minimum of 30 flights on American Airlines, oneworld airlines, or JetBlue. I can see a return of ‘segment runs’ – people taking extra flights to earn their choice benefits after they’ve hit the 125,000; 200,000; or more qualifying points thresholds to make sure they reach those 30 segments.
Earning elite status via credit cards is even easier in 2022 for the 2023 program year.
- Normally you’ll earn 1 qualifying point per dollar spent on their co-brand card.
- You’re going to have 14 months (instead of 12) to earn 2023 elite status, January 2022 through February 2023, since January and February of 2022 are ‘double dip’ months that count as both an extended 2021 and a new 2022 as the program transitions to a new March – February qualifying year.
- However the Citibank premium AAdvantage Executive card and the Barclays premium AAdvantage Aviator Silver card have – as published benefits – qualifying miles as threshold bonuses. It’s difficult to make changes to credit cards without at least 90 days’ notice before a new benefit year. Note this is not a benefit of the base consumer cards but rather of the premium Executive and Aviator Silver cards.
- So in 2022 you’re not just going to earn 1 ‘loyalty point’ per dollar spent on these cards, you’re also going to be eligible for threshold bonuses of additional loyalty points based on your spend.
According to American’s FAQ on how the new elite program works with its credit card partners,
- You get the extra two months of January and February 2022 to reach spending thresholds to earn qualifying dollars and qualifying miles in 2021.
- And you get 14 months (January 2022 – February 2023) to earn threshold bonuses as what appears to be a one-time transition.
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® will earn an additional 10,000 Loyalty Points on top of the points earned on the card (at 1 point per dollar) when they reach $40,000 in eligible purchases between January 1, 2022 and February 28, 2023.
AAdvantage® Aviator® Silver Mastercard® cardmembers will earn up to 15,000 additional Loyalty Points at different spend thresholds between January 1, 2022 and February 28, 2023.
- 5,000 Loyalty Points after $20,000 on purchases
- 5,000 more Loyalty Points after $40,000 on purchases
- 5,000 more Loyalty Points iafter $50,000 or more on purchases (since this card didn’t just earn elite qualifying miles after $20,000 and $40,000 spend, it earned 3000 qualifying dollars after $50,000 spend).
Oddly, the AAdvantage® Aviator® Business Mastercard® which earned 3000 qualifying dollars after $25,000 spend doesn’t get a make-good (other than two extra months to hit spend for the 2021 year like everyone else). Presumably this is because consumer protections aren’t the same on small business cards as they are for consumer cards.
My strategy, as I’ve shifted away from flying American almost exclusively over the past 7 years, has been to max out on credit card contribution towards status and re-up Executive Platinum with the minimum flying and spend required. I was earning 20,000 qualifying miles and 3000 qualifying dollars with both the Citi Executive ($40,000 spend) and Barclays Aviator Silver ($50,000 spend). So I had to do 80,000 flown miles and $12,000 spend.
That same $90,000 spend between January 2022 and February 2023 will actually net me 115,000 Loyalty Points, leaving only 85,000 Loyalty Points to re-up status. At 11 miles per dollar earned on American Airlines flights, that’s $7727 in tickets. This cuts my required spend down by one-third next year. And that’s without any online shopping portal purchases or other qualifying activity.
Indeed, this status quo ante credit card spend alone would be only 10,000 points in online shopping portal purchases away from Platinum Pro status without a single flight.
So far only eligible flying, credit card, dining, online shopping and SimplyMiles transactions count but it appears American is selling Loyalty Points to interested partners on top of the miles they’re awarding.
I’m hopeful that Bask Bank joins in this. I use their Bask Savings Account to earn 1 AAdvantage mile per average dollar deposited over the course of a year, and stick quarterly tax payments and property tax payments in that account since it’s short-term money I need to keep liquid. It would be nice if these points also counted towards status. However with interest rates so low I wonder if there’s enough margin to allow Bask Bank to pay any required premium for this.
There would be some people who deposit $200,000+ into a Bask Savings Account and earn Executive Platinum status on that basis alone! (This is, cough, more than I have in my account there.)