On the Cusp of Lifetime Platinum Status with American

As most of y’all no doubt know, American Airlines AAdvantage is unique in its lifetime status qualification — miles from all sources count, not just flown miles.

  • One million miles earned = Lifetime Gold
  • Two million miles earned = Lifetime Platinum

I’ve never been a regular American customer. I’ve long leaned much more towards the Star Alliance. I don’t think I’ve done more than 25,000 or 50,000 total qualifying miles on paid oneworld tickets in my entire life.

But stay around these programs long enough, watch the promotions, chase after some of them, and the miles build up. And with all the partners and promotions that American has had over time, they’ve been great to build mileage balances up with.

In particular, churning Citibank co-branded credit cards over time was very good to me with signup bonuses (may she rest in peace for most, though do consider getting a business card if you haven’t already had one, a flavor of card like Visa or Amex if you haven’t had one, etc). And BankDirect, for sure.

In the last five months since I’ve written about American lifetime elite status I’ve picked up a couple hundred thousand miles.

So I’m really on the cusp on 2 million miles earned and lifetime Platinum. I’m sitting at 1.9 million, or a little over.

Now I’m desperately resisting the urge to transfer in a boatload of Starpoints, just to push myself over the top. It’s long been speculated that this unique feature of non-flight miles counting towards lifetime status would go away, and somehow I worry that it would go away right before I reach the finish line. It’s an unpublished benefit so there’s no reason to think if it were pulled it would be done with advance public notice.

Of course those Starpoints are more valuable sitting where they are, maintaining their flexibility.

Some might ask why I’d even want American’s Platinum status since I don’t fly American? That’s fair. If they gave me lifetime Executive Platinum I would certainly become an AA customer! But Platinum gets you double miles and higher priority on waitlists of various kinds, more or less (not to mention the 4 international confirmed upgrades you get when you cross the 2 million miler threshold). It’s not enough to sway my business, really.

Still, it’s lifetime status. There’s an allure to that, and of course I don’t know what my future needs or preferences will be and risk-averse type that I am I’d love to lock it in.

Though I guess if American stopped counting non-flight miles towards lifetime status tomorrow, I’d just have to actually fly about 95,000 miles… But that’s the fun in that???

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. Come on Gary spring for a few of those SPG points. I just crossed the goal on April 2nd and will have plenty of time to build up my Starwood balance again.

    We should be challenging all younger, than you and I, readers to earn LIFETIME status. They will enjoy it for years to come.

    Welcome to the Lifetime Platinum Club when it happens


  2. “Though I guess if American stopped counting non-flight miles towards lifetime status tomorrow, I’d just have to actually fly about 95,000 miles… ”

    How do you know they will not count only flight miles retroactively? 🙂

  3. I agree with Rick – just push ahead and do it. The chances are you’ll appreciate in the future more than you realize now.

  4. Just imagine if you were flying all of those AA miles and didn’t yet have platinum status. I’d say it’s worthwhile to go ahead and get it. Programs (and airline practice) change all the time: look at UA charging for standby. Find some way to get them. Maybe you have some Hilton points you can xfer?

  5. Gary,

    We’ve been reading about this benefit going away I think since the start of the internet. Don’t believe the hype. Instead ask yourself this question: with the 4 EVIPs I’ll be getting (2 systemwide RT one-class upgrade certificates) when and where do you want to go. The certs as I recall are good for one calendar year…think about when you’ll want to use them and plan your crossing of the threshold accordingly.

    Enjoy the ride!

  6. I just passed the magic 2M mile mark myself, and can empathize with your concern about possible closure of the lifetime program. I got my final miles with a Fidelity account and Citi bank accounts, along with a lucky Citi credit-card acceptance.

    In retrospect, the increase in benefits when going from Gold to Plat isn’t that great, especially with award travel. In your situation, I would hold on to the SPG points while continuing to look for AAdvantage mile opportunities.

  7. I had no idea this was even a benefit. I’m sitting at a about 1.5 million life time and didn’t even know that qualified me. I agree with Miles though, the jump from Gold to Plat isn’t substantial enough, especially if you think you’ll get it eventually anyway.

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