Even in my dreams (aka How to Earn Lifetime Status on American Airlines)

I’ve neglected my American Airlines account too much lately. I haven’t earned much there over the psat several months, there have been too many great promos elsewhere and I feel like I’m ‘wasting’ credit card spend putting miles into that account.

Don’t get me wrong, American Airlines miles are useful! I have an upcoming award trip in Cathay First…

But I’m really a much bigger fan of Star Alliance than oneworld, mostly for the larger number of carriers offering an international first class product (and in that regard, I don’t even think American’s own product really counts).

But it’s probably been a bit of a mistake. I’m a lifetime Gold elite member with American, because theirs is the only program offering lifetime status based on miles earned in an account from any source.

One million miles yields lifetime gold, and they give domestic members of their program 8 electronic 500-mile upgrade certificates and international members 4 confirmed systemwide upgrades.

I’m sitting around 1.7 million lifetime American miles, and 2 million means lifetime Platinum status (and 4 systemwide upgrades regardless of membership address).

But for years the feature of the program where all miles count towards lifetime status has been rumored to be on the way out. I haven’t heard much of those rumors lately, but they’re always in the back of my mind. I could see myself at 1.9 million miles lifetime when American makes the switch and begins counting only flight miles. And then I would — heaven forbid — actually have to start flying American regularly in order to earn elite status. Hah!

The other night I dreamt I had made it, though. And since it was a dream it got to be better than the real thing. They deposited 12 sysemwide upgrades (“eVIPs”) in my account by mistake. And I went on a tear to use them up before they caught the mistake. That was a great dream!

Sadly I awoke to find out I still only had those same 1.7 million lifetime American Airlines miles. I hadn’t been earning miles in my sleep. I did apply for another American Airlines Mastercard this morning, however. And I’ve been mulling parking a bit of extra cash over at BankDirect

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. Hi Gary. This is the most AMAZING website (but you probably hear that all the time)!!!

    Your post about “lifetime… elite status” got me searching everywhere on the American Airlines website – I’d never heard of lifetime elite status and I couldn’t find ANY information on their website about it. Would you be able to tell me how I can find out more about this?


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