American Airlines to Start Charging for Status Challenges

As lucky notes, JonNYC — who is usually right about these things — posts over at that American Airlines is going to start charging for their status challenges (accelerated periods in which it takes fewer miles to qualify for elite status). The price is expected to be $80 to sign up for a Gold challenge and $150 for a Platinum challenge.

American Airlines challenges are explained on this old site by Flyertalk member FewMiles.

In a nutshell, it’s the “back door to elite status”. Basically, you sign up for the Gold or Platinum Challenge under the premise that you can demonstrate a quantity of qualifying flight activity within a limited time period that justifies your request for fast-tracked elite status.
Further details on the above-mentioned site.

Me, I’m not an American Airlines flyer, really much at all — but I do have lifetime status with them (so for me this will not be an issue) since they’re the only program offering such status based on total mileage accumulated in an account rather than based solely on flown miles. All those credit card miles count, and 1,000,000 total accumulated means lifetime Gold while 2,000,000 means lifetime Platinum.

Meanwhile, I’m tempted to follow lucky’s other lead and grab a status match to Northwest Platinum before the Worldperks program goes away…

It’s basically a “free” match, at least I’m guessing it will be. Generally status matches are once in a lifetime, but since DL/NW are merging, using my once in a lifetime NW status match isn’t going to cost me anything in the future, since I assume I’ll still be able to match to DL sometime down the road.

For instructions, you can simply see the Flyertalk thread I started way back in October, 2003 called the Status Match Master Thread which lays out which airlines match what and how to go about making the request, and has been a vibrant discussion thread now for about five years.

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, 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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