Elite Status (AA)
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AAdvantage Elite Status
There are three levels of AAdvantage Elite Status: Gold (GLD), Platinum (PLT), and Executive Platinum (EXP). AA.com now provides a chart summarizing qualification levels and elite benefits.
Elite Status Qualification Period
AAdvantage elite status is granted when the appropriate requirements are met within one calendar year (January 1 - December 31). Status earning is cumulative within the same calendar year and you do not "reset" to base zero upon achieving the next status level. However, status earning does not carry over into the next calendar year, and everyone resets to base zero on January 1.
In contrast, AA defines their elite status membership year as March 1 through the last day of February the following year. A status level can be attained at any time during the calendar year and carries through the current calendar year and following membership year. So, for example, if you qualify for PLT status anytime in 2010, your status will last through February 29, 2012 (unless you requalify in the 2011 calendar year, in which case it will last through Feb. 28, 2013).
Qualifying for Yearly Elite Status
There are three ways to qualify for yearly AA Elite Status: Elite Qualifying Miles (EQM), Elite Qualifying Points (EQP), or Elite Qualifying Segments (EQS). Do not confuse EQM with redeemable miles (RDM) that you may earn from Non-Air Mileage or bonus miles - EQM are earned only by flying. See Miles and Points for details and examples of mileage and point calculations. See the AA.com Elite Status Qualification page for official rules.
|Qualification Method||Gold||Platinum||Executive Platinum|
|Elite Qualifying Miles (EQM)||25K||50K||100K|
|Elite Qualifying Points (EQP)||25K||50K||100K|
|Elite Qualifying Segments (EQS)||30||60||100|
Your qualifying flight will accrue elite bonus mileage in accordance with your new elite level. Subsequent mileage bonus calculations will be made in the proper sequence even though your new status may not yet be processed and is not showing on AA.com. Call AA if you need to use your status in the days before it has been processed (to request an upgrade for example).
Gold and Platinum Challenge
A popular way for individuals to get status quickly when they start flying with AA is to take either the Gold or Platinum Challenge. There is an Executive Platinum Challenge, but it is by invitation only and is not widely known or discussed at AA.
Benefits of Elite Status
There are many benefits to having Elite Status documented at AA.com.
|In-flight Reservations Hotline||*044||*055||*066|
|Pre-reserve Exit Row Seats||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Waived Checked Baggage Fees1||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Earn 4 Domestic Upgrade "Stickers" Every 10K Miles Flown||Yes||Yes||No|
|Complimentary Domestic Upgrades||No||No||Yes|
|Domestic Upgrade Clearing Window||24 hours||72 hours||100 hours|
|Admirals Club Discount||$50||$100||$150|
|oneworld Lounge Access (On non-North-American Itineraries)3||None||Business||First|
|Main Cabin Boarding Group (Domestic Two Class)||Priority AAccess/Group 1||PLT||First Class|
|Main Cabin Boarding Group (Domestic Three Class and International)||Priority AAccess/Group 1||PLT||Business Class|
|Systemwide Upgrades (SWUs)||0||0||8|
|Waived AAdvantage Award Fees5||Some||Some||Yes, even same-day|
|Expanded MileSAAver Award Availability6||No||No||Yes|
|Guaranteed Economy Seating on Sold-Out Flights||No||No||24 Hour Notice|
|Priority Waitlist for Purchased Business/First Seats||No||No||24 Hour Notice|
|Luggage Tags per Year||0||0||2|
|Free Drink (1) & Snack (1) in Economy Class7||No||No||Yes|
|Priority Baggage Delivery||No||Yes||Yes|
- 1 Within size/weight limits. Overweight/oversize baggage fees may still apply.
- 2 In airports without Business Class check-in, AAdvantage Gold members may use First Class check-in.
- 3 Must be departing on a oneworld operated/marketed flight that day. Excludes AAdvantage members traveling on solely North American itineraries. North America is defined as U.S. (including Hawaii and Alaska), Canada, Mexico (except Mexico City), Bermuda, The Bahamas, and the Caribbean.
- 4 Elite status bonus miles on all eligible American Airlines and codeshares, as well as Alaska and eligible partner airlines. Exceptions: S7 Airlines, Malév, Gold Elite Bonus on British Airways.
- 5 As of July 29, 2010, GLD, PLT, and EXPs are exempt from the close-in redemption fee (=21 days to flight time) if the miles come from the elite's account. EXPs are also exempt from ticket service fees (phones or airport booking) when they are traveling on the ticket, and from award ticket change and reinstatement fees when the award miles come from their account. The close-in redemption fee (21 days or less to flight time) does not apply if the miles come from an elite member's account. In addition, the ticket service fee (Phone or airport booking) does not apply, but only if the EXP is personally flying on the redeemed trip.
- 6 Expanded availability is available only by calling American Airlines; it is not available on AA.com. Tip: double-check with the agent that they're searching from the EXP expanded availability.
Lifetime Status - Million Miler Program
An benefit of the AAdvantage program is the ability to accrue lifetime Gold and Platinum status (there is no lifetime Executive Platinum status).
As of Dec 1, 2011, only Base Miles / EQM earned qualify for lifetime status (miles earned with the CitiBank AAdvantage Executive MasterCard card if the card was acquired prior to Dec 1 2011 and miles must post prior to 1 Jan 2013). Previously, miles from any and all sources counted for Lifetime Status; those counted prior to 1 Dec 2011 were "grandfathered" in to one's Million Miler account.
|Benefits||1 Million Miles||2 Million Miles||Each Subsequent Million|
|Status||Lifetime Gold||Lifetime Platinum||Lifetime Platinum|
|Luggage Tags||2 Gold Tags (or current level, if higher)||2 Platinum Tags (or current level, if higher)||2 Platinum Tags (or current level, if higher)|
|Lifetime Gold Benefits||35,000 AAdvantage miles||4 SWUs||4 SWUs|
- It takes about 2-3 weeks after your qualifying flight for your million-mile status to be recognized by the system.
- Million Miler miles now have their own counter as shown in one's AAdvantage Account page
Prepaid Travel Card
In 2006, AA offered a Prepaid Travel Card declining balance card, where you could immediately get status by purchasing a prepaid travel card. The Prepaid Travel Card was reintroduced in 2008 (last date to purchase was March 31, 2008,) with the following details:
|Elite Level||Gold||Platinum||Executive Platinum|
|Initial Account Balance||$5,000||$10,000||$20,000|
The 2008 card conferred status through February 2009. A notable change in the 2007 and 2008 programs was formal assurance of a "soft landing," which has long applied to status earned in the usual manner, and which lets you drop down one level at a time.
The Prepaid Travel Card was not offered again in 2009, nor since.
On occasion AA will do a status match to Gold or Platinum if a member has elite status on another airline. Typically, AA offers this to corporate travel desks as a perk. If your company has a travel desk, it is definitely worthwhile to inquire with them. If you have a travel agent who brings a lot of business to AA, he or she might be able to help as well. In addition, a status match is an official benefit offered with the Merrill+ Card at the +2 level ($20k in annual spend). (Merrill+ is apparently no longer offering this advantage per their website.) As of early 2011 you were able to obtain a status match simply by calling AA customer service (provided you did not previously have status), however this promotion was only in place for several months. According to AA, status match is offered to the public periodically. They will ask you to provide either a picture of your current elite card or a screenshot of your statement showing your status.
Although there do not seem be any published rules, there is a FT thread with some anecdotal information including information that under extremely limited circumstances, AA may match top tier status (Executive Platinum). There is also a FT thread indicating that some company's CIPs as well as Frequent Flyers from some airlines may be granted a status match (only into the two lower tiers, Gold and Platinum).
There is no longer an exception policy for members who come close to qualifying, but don't quite make it.
Prior to 2008, exceptions were granted automatically if you were within 500 or 1000 miles of qualifying for Gold or Platinum/Executive Platinum, respectively. The Exception Policy may come back at some point, but as of 2012 you should not count on any mileage being rounded up for qualification. Any exceptions will have to be requested by phone, and even then, only managers have the authority to credit you with the additional miles.
Soft Landing Policy
AA has confirmed that the unofficial "Soft Landing" policy will be discontinued going into the 2014-2015 membership year.
In prior years (including the 2012 membership year), AA has had a "Soft Landing" feature which means that if you fail to requalify for a given status level, you will only drop down one level at a time. This is not a publicized aspect of the program. At this time, (June 2012), it's not known how long this will continue.
In 2011 and previous years back to 2003, AA has offered a Buy-Back Program for elites who have failed to requalify for status in the preceding year.
The 2011 offer notes the following eligibility rules: "All current AAdvantage Platinum and AAdvantage Gold members who earned their 2010 elite status* are eligible to participate in this offer provided they have flown at least one elite qualifying segment during 2010. Members who participated in the 2010 offer are not eligible to extend their status for the 2011 membership year"
- Gold members pay $409 or $559 (depending on mileage/segments flown in preceding year - breakpoint is 20,000 miles or 24 segments)
- Platinum members pay $619 or $769 (depending on mileage/segments flown in preceding year - breakpoint is 40,000 miles or 48 segments)
- Executive Platinum members are not eligible for the program (but will only drop to Platinum in any case)
- Members who participated in the previous year are not eligible
- Members who obtained their status through a challenge are not eligible
- Members who are elite only due to a soft landing are not eligible
- Prepaid Travel Card members are not eligible
- Members who received their status as a gift (e.g., through Business ExtrAA) are not eligible
The Buy-Back Program can change at any time; it is unknown (Dec 2010) if it will again be offered in 2012, or what the pricing will be.
ConciergeKey Services are provided to a select group of VIPs to facilitate travel on AA. The program is offered on an invitation basis only and is targeted at customers who control travel policy for large organizations. Customers who generate a high amount of revenue for AA may also be invited into this program (those who spend upwards of US$50k a year on travel with AA). Services provided include airport escorts, airplane pre-boarding, and also assistance with flight changes, seat changes, and upgrade requests via their own dedicated reservation line. ConciergeKey representatives will also monitor day of travel of ConciergeKey members and will proactively reroute or rebook travel when necessary. ConciergeKey status allows check-in at First Class counters, as well as access to elite lines through security at certain airports. As of 2012, ConciergeKey members receive AAdvantage Executive Platinum status, membership to the Admiral's Club as well as two additional System-Wide Upgrades (SWU's) as part of CK membership.