American Airlines Offering Status Challenge Based On Earning Loyalty Points

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American Airlines has launched a new status challenge that they’re calling Instant Status Pass. This gives AAdvantage members status for four months, with the ability to maintain or upgrade that status by earning sufficient Loyalty Points within that first four months, then the ability to maintain it for two more sets of four months and beyond.

American Airlines Planes

The Deal

  • Get instant elite status with American Airlines for four months. Then:
    • Phase 1 – Earn sufficient Loyalty Points to maintain status or earn a higher status level during that initial four months for a further four months
    • Phase 2 – Earn sufficient Loyalty Points to maintain status for another four months
    • Phase 3 – Earn sufficient Loyalty Points to maintain status through the end of the membership year
  • Direct link to offer (online is targeted)

Key Terms

  • Enrollment required. Enroll online in your AAdvantage Promotions tab or call 1-800-882-8880.

Quick Thoughts

This new elite status opportunity from American Airlines isn’t the most straightforward status challenge we’ve ever seen, but it could still be worthwhile if you’re starting from scratch. That’s especially true if you have travel planned on American Airlines within the next four months as it means you’ll be able to take AAdvantage of your newly minted status on those flights. Note that although some people will be able to register for free, many will be charged a fee for registering which might affect how worthwhile it is for you.

One commenter on View From The Wing shared that when calling American Airlines to register, they were advised the fees are as follows. I don’t know if the fees vary from person to person though, or if the charge is standardized across all AAdvantage members. Interestingly, you can pay the fee in miles although that’s not worth doing because the best value you’ll receive is 1cpp for Gold status, dropping to 0.81cpp for Executive Platinum.

  • Gold – $200 or 20,000 miles
  • Platinum – $450 or 50,000 miles
  • Platinum Pro – $700 or 80,000 miles
  • Executive Platinum – $975 or 120,000 miles

The way it works is that after registering for the status challenge you’ll receive elite status for four months which constitutes Phase 1. During Phase 1, you’ll have those four months to earn enough Loyalty Points to either maintain that initial level of status, or earn a higher status level, for the following four months. Phase 1 is the only Phase whereby you can earn enough Loyalty Points to get a higher status level for the following four months; here are the earning requirements:

  • Gold – 10,000 Loyalty Points
  • Platinum – 25,000 Loyalty Points
  • Platinum Pro – 42,000 Loyalty Points
  • Executive Platinum – 67,000 Loyalty Points

Those requirements are a third (or roughly a third) of the 12 month earning requirement for those status levels. The status challenge therefore doesn’t give preferential treatment on that front, but it does mean you get to enjoy elite benefits much sooner than you normally would.

Provided you earn enough Loyalty Points in Phase 1 to maintain or increase your status, you’ll unlock Phase 2. During Phase 2 you’ll get four months to earn enough Loyalty Points to maintain your status through Phase 3. Earning enough Loyalty Points in Phase 3 will mean you keep your status through the end of the membership year.

What we don’t know at this point is how many Loyalty Points will be required during Phases 2 and 3. This will vary depending on which status level you’re trying to maintain at that point, but I imagine it’ll be the same or similar to the number of Loyalty Points required during Phase 1. It’s disappointing that they haven’t disclosed what’ll be required for Phases 2 and 3 though because for all we know they could increase the number of Loyalty Points needed which would be a bit bait and switch of them. However, perhaps we’ll be pleasantly surprised and they’ll decrease the number of points needed which is why they’re not sharing what the Phase 2 and 3 requirements will be (I know, wishful thinking).

Like I said, this isn’t the most straightforward status challenge ever created. However, the fact that status can be maintained/earned without needing to take a single flight on American Airlines due to their recently-launched Loyalty Points program is a nice benefit. In theory, you could put enough spend on an American Airlines credit card to earn enough Loyalty Points during each Phase, although your credit limit and Citi’s and/or Barclays’ willingness to let you cycle your credit might affect that ability. If all you’re interested in is Gold status, $2,500 spend on an AA card each month will earn you enough Loyalty Points to maintain that status through all three phases.

Having said that, if you’re not flying with American Airlines in the near term, there’s not going to be much point in registering for this status challenge right now, especially if you’d be getting charged a fee for registering. Instead, you’d likely be better off trying to take advantage of the various Loyalty Points-earning opportunities so that you’ll have status by the time you do end up flying with American Airlines. See these posts for some tips on how to do that which can also help you earn enough Loyalty Points during the three phases if you do register for this status challenge:

h/t View From The Wing

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John

I called to check the offer. You have to end up earning the same number of miles in the next year (starting from the date you start the challenge) that you would have anyway for hitting a certain level. For example, for Platinum Pro I need to pay $700 then I get the status immediately, and my loyalty miles earnings reset to zero, but I still need to hit the 125,000 points over the next year. Each phase is 4 months:
Phase 1: earn 42,000 loyalty points to keep status
Phase 2: earn another 42,000 points, 84,000 total to keep status
Phase 3: earn 41,000 points, totaling 125,000 to keep status for the next year.

If you don’t hit the earning targets you go back to the status you had. In summary, this is not worth it unless you are sure you will hit the targets. The only benefit really is that you get the status immediately while you earn. So if you know you will fly enough to hit a certain status it will be worth it to do the challenge so you can get that status right away. The bad part is none of your earnings so far this year count, since you start back at zero once you start the challenge.

john d

So if I just pay $200 for the gold challenge and get 67k in 4 months, I will get exec plat for the next 4 months? Assuming I complete phase 2 and phase 3 challenges, will I get exec plat for the following year or just gold?

kht

“If all you’re interested in is Gold status, $2,500 spend on an AA card each month will earn you enough Loyalty Points to maintain that status through all three phases.” How do you know that this would be enough for phases after phase #1?

What fees are being charged by AA for the challenge? Would such fees be covered by credit cards that provide airline incidental credit?

Regarding “four months,” if you begin the challenge today would run through January? Of would it run for 120 days?