The Quick Route to American Airlines Elite Status

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You can get American Airlines elite status quickly by doing an elite status challenge.  Elite status can make your travel more comfortable and efficient because you’ll get priority check-in, security screening, and boarding!

The Quick Route To American Airlines Elite Status

Sit Closer to the Front of the Plane With American Airlines Elite Status

But for most of us, elite status isn’t worth the hassle because we can get the same key benefits from credit cards.

American Airlines Elite Status Challenge

You can take the shortcut to American Airlines Gold or Platinum elite status by doing an American Airlines elite status challenge.  Elite status saves you time and money because you get priority check-in, priority boarding, free checked bags, and seats with more legroom for free!

Unless you fly often, entry level elite status isn’t really worth it for most folks.  That’s because you can get many of same benefits just by signing-up for credit cards!  I’ll show you which cards to consider.

Note: Technically, you can NOT do an American Airlines Executive Platinum elite status challenge, however, according to this Flyertalk thread, some folks were granted an exception.

Normally you earn Gold elite status on American Airlines after either flying 25,000 miles or 30 segments or earning 25,000 points through flying in a calendar year.

You earn Platinum elite status on American Airlines after earning 50,000 points from flying or flying 50,000 miles or 60 segments in a calendar year.

The Quick Route To American Airlines Elite Status

You Earn American Airlines Elite Status From Flying

But by completing a Challenge, you can reduce how much you have to fly to earn Gold or Platinum elite status.

American Airlines Gold Elite Status

Link:   American Airlines Gold elite status

As an American Airlines Gold elite member you get:

The Quick Route To American Airlines Elite Status

As an American Airlines Gold Elite Status Member You Won’t Suffer From Lack of Leg Room

American Airlines Platinum Elite Status

Link:   American Airlines Platinum elite status

American Airlines Platinum elite members get the same perks as an American Airlines Gold elite member plus:

The Quick Route To American Airlines Elite Status

You Can Relax in the Lounge When Flying Internationally When You Have American Airlines Platinum Elite Status

However, you can get priority check-in, priority boarding and a free checked bag without American Airlines Gold or Platinum elite status if you have 1 of the following credit cards:

And you can get free Admirals Club membership with the Citi Executive AAdvantage World Elite MasterCard.

But if you want better seats, upgrades and waived fees on award tickets, that only comes with American Airlines elite status.  And you have to fly to get elite status.  But you can reduce how much you have to fly by participating in a Gold or Platinum elite challenge.

How to Complete an American Airlines Elite Challenge

American Airlines offers a Gold or Platinum elite challenge which lets you reach elite status by shortcutting the American Airlines Gold or Platinum elite status requirements.

To participate in a American Airlines Gold or Platinum elite challenge, you have to call American Airlines Customer Service at 800-882-8880.

For an American Airlines Gold elite challenge, you have to:

For an American Airlines Platinum elite challenge, you have to:

You have to fly on American Airlines, American Eagle, British Airways, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, Qantas, and US Airways for points to count towards your American Airlines Gold or Platinum elite status challenge.

If you complete your American Airlines elite status challenge, you will have American Airlines Gold or Platinum elite status through February 2016.

How to Earn Points to Get Elite Status

Link:   American Airlines Points earned per mile

To complete an American Airlines elite status challenge, you have to earn points NOT miles.

You earn points based on the fare code of your airline ticket.  This means you earn fewer points on cheap tickets and more points on expensive tickets.

The Quick Route To American Airlines Elite Status

You Earn More Points Buying Expensive Tickets

So if you buy tickets in G, Q, N, O, and S fare classes, which are usually the cheapest tickets, you only earn 0.5 points per mile flown.

This means if you buy an “O” fare ticket from Austin to New York which is 3,043 miles round-trip you would earn ~1,522 points (3,043 x 0.5).  But the same ticket bought in a “V” fare would earn 3,043 points (3,043 x 1).

The Quick Route To American Airlines Elite Status

You’ll Only Earn ~1,522 Points Buying an “O” Fare Ticket

So it’s faster to buy more expensive tickets to complete your elite status challenge.

You Can Go for the Gold but Still Get Platinum!

You can enroll in an American Airlines Gold elite challenge and if you earn 10,000 points from flying (instead of the required 5,000), you can pay $125 to be granted American Airlines Platinum elite status.

However, this does NOT mean you can shortcut to American Airlines top tier Executive Platinum elite status.  You would still have to fly 100,000 miles, 100 segments or earn 100,000 points from flying to earn American Airlines Executive Platinum elite status.

The Quick Route To American Airlines Elite Status

You Can NOT Shortcut to American Airlines Executive Platinum Elite Status

You Do NOT Get Elite Status During the Challenge

Unlike the Hyatt Diamond Challenge where you get Hyatt Diamond elite status during your challenge, you do NOT get American Airlines Gold or Platinum elite status during your challenge period unless you are matching your elite status from another airline.

So if you have Delta Gold elite status you could status match to American Airlines Platinum elite status and get the perks of American Airlines Platinum elite status while participating in your challenge.

This means you could get priority check-in and boarding and select Main Cabin Extra seats for free.

Who Can’t Enroll in an American Airlines Elite Status Challenge

You can NOT enroll in an American Airlines elite status challenge if you have had 2 exceptions in the past 5 years.

American Airlines considers the following as exceptions:

  • You failed to successfully complete a previous challenge
  • You participated in the Boost program where you bought back your status

Bottom Line

For most folks, completing an American Airlines Elite Status Challenge isn’t the best use of their time.

That’s because you can get the biggest benefits (priority check-in, boarding, and checked bag) when you have a credit card such as the Citi Platinum Select AAdvantage World MasterCardCiti Executive AAdvantage World Elite MasterCard, or Citi American Airlines Business AAdvantage card.

But it might be worth it for frequent travelers looking for perks such as free access to Main Cabin Extra seats and waived fees on award tickets.  And better service when flights get cancelled or delayed etc.

The quick route to American Airlines elite status is to participate in an American Airlines Gold or Platinum elite status challenge.  Call American Airlines at 800-882-8880 to enroll.

If you complete your challenge you will have American Airlines Gold or Platinum elite status through February 2016.

You earn points based on the cost of your ticket which means expensive tickets earn more points.

Have you ever participated in the American Airlines Gold or Platinum elite status challenge?

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22 responses to “The Quick Route to American Airlines Elite Status

  1. I have a paid business class ticket from Charlotte to Portland (2200 miles each way) in July 2015 on USAir. If the policy stays the same does this mean I could get Gold status from one round trip but starting my challenege the week before?! Do trips booked prior to the challenge count?

  2. Does plat elite come with upgrades to business class?

  3. Do I have to pay the $140/$120 fee whether I complete the challenge or not?

    Meaning, if I fail to complete the challenge will I get that money back or is that just the gamble you’re taking ?

    • @Amy C – I believe so.

      @Steve – Yes, you have to pay the fee.

      @Phil – You’ll get points for only your flight and your partner gets the miles for the other flight. When you book AA tickets with Citi TY points, you are buying a paid ticket, so it should count towards the challenge.

  4. A couple of questions…

    If booking 2 people on a flight under my name and FF#, will I get points for both and do they count towards meeting the challenge?

    And, If I book using my TYP through the Citi Premier card for the discount on AA, will those fares earn miles? And which fare class would they call under? It would be pretty great if I could earn status on flights I was gonna book anyway using my TYP!

    Thanks Darius

  5. Do you know if I still acquire miles for a flight on purchased with an AA travel voucher that I got for getting bumped on a previous flight?

  6. Dairaius,

    this is really interesting offer as i was thinking of doing the US Air trial preferred (which gives you the status during the trial) but i could knock out AA platinum with one 9000 first class flight from washington dc to anchorage on Aa or Us air??

  7. @Amy C – Trips booked prior to started the challenge will count as long if you fly during your challenge period. So if you fly outside of your challenge window, those points don’t count towards your challenge.

    @AJ – Platinums don’t get upgrades to business class

    @Steve – You don’t get your money back if you fail the challenge.

  8. Is the 10000 bonus EQM from the citi executive aadvantage card eligible for the AA platinum challenge which requires you earn 10000 eqm within 90 days?

  9. I called today to sign up for a status challenge. I currently have United Silver, and was going to ask for a match to Gold while I did the challenge. I will be flying international and was pretty sure I would hit 10K points for Platinum, but figured I’d buy up later just in case I didn’t (they verified you can do so, just like it says above).

    However, when I asked they offered me a current Gold match only if I accepted the Platinum challenge now (i.e. no gold match with the gold challenge). The agent was VERY helpful. She looked at my upcoming flights to verify I would receive over the needed number of points, so it seemed like a no-brainer to go ahead and pay $200 for the platinum match. Another perk: my challenge doesn’t begin for 2 weeks (she said they can start it 14 days before or 14 days after you call them to ask for the Challenge), but she triggered my gold status immediately.

    Overall, this was painless and AA was awesomely helpful (moreso than United!). Thanks for this post and the help!

  10. Pingback: Delta's big announcement is out - Page 34 - FlyerTalk Forums

  11. Do the flights for challenges have to be on metal of one of the airlines listed? Or is it possible to fly on another airline (Royal Jordanian for example) but as an AA codeshare, and still use it to complete the challenge?

    E.g., RJ flight from AMM to ORD is 6k+ miles. But you can buy it through AA.com as a codeshare (V fare code). Will this count for a gold status challenge?

  12. Pingback: Help Desk: AAdvantage Elite Status Challenge (Gold and Platinum) - Page 40 - FlyerTalk Forums

  13. You helped me tremendously. I had already flown two legs on AA and one on UA back in early January. I saw this a week later and thought I would call and register for the challenge. Very simple to do. She removed my earned points, enrolled me back to the date of my other flights, and then reentered my flights. I did another RT last weekend and noticed that my status was now GLD. I just booked three more RT flights for March, two on AA and one UA and I’ll be over 12K points so I’ll call and upgrade to PLT. Thank you very much for helping me fast track Elite status.

  14. I signed up for the Gold Challenge and am well on my way to hitting the points; but I have a question. I would like to cash in some miles to fly to Las Vegas. Will cashing in the miles affect my point tally towards 5,000? I am at 3200 now and would hate to drop that number by using miles. Any guidance is appreciated.

  15. I had heard about the AAdvantage challenges for years but never tried to qualify until last year when I signed up for the Platinum challenge. The AA rep allowed me to backdate my enrollment by just short of 2 weeks (the max.) for flights I had already taken on USAir. I knew that I would be flying from SoCal to Grand Cayman with a stop in the DC area within the next 2 months so only question became whether I flew first or coach or went for the Gold challenge. I found cheap 1st/business class tickets for the Jan/Feb trip and my mileage account showed Platinum within 2 days of getting back. Now, the question will be whether Platinum really will help for trips to Prague later this year and Mexico next Feb just before the status expires.

  16. I can earn at least 10000 points in 3 months every year. I have Gold Elite Status, but I want to get Platinum Elite Status. Therefore, can I pay 200 dollars to take the Platinum Elite Challenge every year? (I do not have the record of failed to successfully complete a previous challenge and participated in the Boost program)

    If I can, that mean I only need to earn 10000 points in 3 months and pay 200 dollars for the challenge to get the Platinum Elite Status every year. Is that correct?.

  17. Vincent Zebraitis

    @Yongming Fan:

    No. According to AmAir policy, you cannot do that. You can only challenge twice within a 5 year time period. They were quite specific about this.

    I know this, as my first Platinum Challenge a few years ago was interrupted by the strike that AA had. Because I was unable to complete the challenge (not due to any reason on my part), they extended my completion date… but on their system they counted it as a second challenge.

    So, when I called to do my current challenge, they told me I was ineligible because I already did 2 in a 5 year time period.

    The good news was that escalating my concerns to an Advantage Supervisor, they did make an exception.

    However, Yongming Fan, you are looking for a yearly exception… and that probably won’t fly.

    As for me… I have just completed my platinum challenge ($200, and finished the 10K points in one month… domestic travel only!)

    While doing the platinum challenge, once I crossed over the 5K points, they upgraded me to gold (upon request) so that I could get access to better seats for the gold to platinum run.

  18. I’m thinking doing the challenge however our company requires we book our tickets through Orbitz for business. Do you know which category do those tickets fall under?
    Thanks

  19. I just signed up for the Platinum challenge for $180 to complete 12,500 EQM in 90 days. Thought you all might like the updated pricing! You can still back date it 14 days prior to signing up.