Last Shot for American Elite Status Challenges, Sign Up Before Wednesday If Interested

A couple of weeks ago I noted an expectation that the American Airlines elite status challenge in its current form would end September 23.

That is the offer you can pay to sign up for and fly a reduced amount within 3 months to qualify for elite status, and for which you do not need to show current status with another airline to be eligible.

The end of these challenges at least in their current form certainly seems to be the case. So if you’re interested in a paid status challenge where you earn American AAdvantage status (for the rest of this year and next year) on an expedited basis, you should sign up now.

As I wrote earlier in the month,

I would jump on the opportunity because via Traveling Better, the traditional status challenge offer may close or change September 23.

Benefits of AAdvantage Gold and Platinum

Currently American Gold requires flying 30 segments or 25,000 miles or ‘points’ and Platinum requires flying 60 segments or 50,000 miles or ‘points’.

Golds receive:

  • Complimentary upgrades on flights under 500 miles, subject to availability and assigned based on elite status and time of request
  • 25% bonus on miles flown
  • Upgrades with 500 mile certificates, confirmed as much as 24 hours prior to departure
  • 500 mile minimum earning on short flights
  • Priority check-in, security, and boarding
  • One free checked bag
  • Complimentary standby
  • Complimentary main cabin extra if available at checkin, or 50% off if paid for in advance
  • Waived close-in award booking fee

Platinums receive:

  • Complimentary upgrades on flights under 500 miles, subject to availability and assigned based on elite status and time of request
  • 100% bonus on miles flown
  • Upgrades with 500 mile certificates, confirmed as much as 72 hours prior to departure
  • 500 mile minimum earning on short flights
  • Priority check-in, security, baggage, and boarding
  • Two free checked bags
  • Complimentary standby
  • Complimentary main cabin extra
  • Waived close-in award booking fee
  • Lounge access when traveling internationally

How to Take a Gold or Platinum Challenge

To sign up, call 1-800-882-8880. The costs quoted should be:

  • $200 – $240 for Platinum Challenge.
  • $100 – $140 for Gold Challenge.

You’ll need to fly 5,000 (for Gold) or 10,000 (for Platinum) elite qualifying points in a three month period.

Points are not miles. Points are calculated by the miles flown multiplied by a factor that can be less than or more than 1 based on the fare class flown. The idea is to privilege higher fares. The cheapest economy fares only accrue 0.5 points per mile (so flying on those fares would take 10,000 miles for Gold or 20,000 for Platinum).

You can’t use the challenge if you have done so within the past 5 years (usually) and you cannot use the challenge to keep your current status.

Alternatives for Expedited Status

Separately American has offered no fee status challenges, especially targeted at United 1Ks although sometimes Delta Diamonds, where they would give you status for three months (including top tier Executive Platinum status) and an expedited path to keep that status.

If you are a top tier member of another frequent flyer program, you’d probably want to start by asking about a status challenge based on your current status and that option may still be available after September 23.

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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Comments

  1. What happens if you have say 3K EQP’s already in the previous 2 months? Can you pay for the challenge and then fly another 2K EQP’s in the next 1 month, or do you have to fly all 5K EQP from the date you pay for the challenge?

  2. I’m a bit confused by this. I am currently AA Gold and have a few mile runs that will hopefully land me to Executive Plat before the end of the year between work trips and the mile runs.

    Is this worth it since I am already at Gold and the trips that are booked will get me into platinum already? . Trying for executive platinum but wasn’t sure if that was one and the same.

    Thanks!

  3. AA has offered the challenge rather then the “free” instant status match from other frequent flyer programs for years. I wonder why they would discontinue them?

    The challenge is a money maker .. gives revenue to do the challenge. As well it is a good way to encourage frequent flyers from other programs to try their program out. I remember back in 2002, this is what got me hooked on AA elite status, and I only challenged for gold. In this day and age when the elite benefits are worth less then ever, I wonder why they would eliminate this marketing tool?

  4. Is there a list of fare classes and points earned per mile? I’d love to buy tickets in the right fare class to make sure I hit the necessary points!

  5. @Marty i do not see why you would do this if you are on a path to executive platinum already, you’ll spend money on the challenge to earn some bonus miles for a short period is all

  6. Hello Gary. May I ask your help? I’ve been reading a lot about this challenge, but it I think it will be useless for me.

    I’m planning a GRU-DFW-HKG roundtrip departing on Dec 24th and returning Jan 1st , on Business Class ( I fare).

    I won’t be eligible for this challenge, right? Since it will end on December 23rd. Am I missing something?
    I currently don’t have any status with AA, and my next trip with them will be the same GRU-DFW-HKG on I fare in March 2016.

    Thanks in advance!

  7. I am Delta Platinum, flying my first trip in ages on American Airlines to Argentina in December, coming back in January. Do I stand any chance of getting status matched? I’ve already requalified for Delta Gold in 2016, but sometimes I may have to fly American, and it’d be nice to get additional miles for the trip. I live in the Delta DTW hub.

  8. Hey Gary,

    I’m AA lifetime gold & close to my 2 million mile mark at 1,970,120. Would the challenge allow me to earn the plat bonus miles to get to the 2 million mark faster? Thanks for you help!

  9. Will a ticket bought on American with AA flight # but operated by US Air in late Sept count towards the challenge?

  10. I was bemoaning the high fares in Dec for my flight to see a football game on the 20th. The fare wasn’t much more for first class with a longer route, so I took it. Same for an upcoming trip to CA. Then I read your article today and with the 4 trips I have scheduled from Sept 25-Dec 21, I have it made. Thanks so much for this timely tip!!

  11. Gary, don’t worry about posting the fare classes with points earned, Lucky posted it this morning on his blog.

  12. Hi Gary

    I have been going back and forth on this, if Gold or platinum is worth the effort. Exec platinum surely is. My question is AA (if you have heard) going to offer a true economy plus seat in the near future.
    If not, I am not sure that status is worth the effort for a exit row seat.

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