Maximizing the American double elite qualifying miles promotion through January 31, 2012

If you don’t want to read the entire post, at least read the “Double dipping for triple elite qualifying miles” section, where I show you how you can achieve top tier status on American for under $2,000 in just over four days.

I get an email at least once a day from someone saying “OMG, you’re the coolest person ever, how do I get into mileage running?” Okay, maybe the first part isn’t true, but the second part is. And as much as I’m a mileage run “evangelist” and think they’re awesome, my answer for the past year or so has been the same — “are you really sure you want to get into mileage running?”

The issue is that over the past couple of years we haven’t seen any great promotions, airfare has been on the rise, and routing rules aren’t nearly as generous as they used to be. In other words, in the past I could fly from Tampa to San Francisco via Washington, Orlando, Denver, and Portland in each direction, for $240 roundtrip. Now I’m lucky to fly from Tampa to Chicago to San Francisco for $300 roundtrip. Obviously that almost doubles the cost per mile.

So for those of you that are completely new to the game and have asked me when to start mileage running, the answer is January 1 on American. American announced a double elite qualifying miles promotion yesterday, which is valid through January 31, 2012.

First let’s go through the basic benefits of why you would mileage run. If you’re going to go for it, you really should aim for Executive Platinum status, which is American’s top tier.

What are the benefits for achieving Executive Platinum?

  • Unlimited domestic upgrades, which will almost always clear (I’ve missed one upgrade this year)
  • Eight systemwide upgrades that can be used to upgrade any revenue fare. This is where the real value is. You’re literally getting four roundtrip international business class tickets for the price of coach per year. So far I’ve upgraded roundtrip tickets to Barcelona, Delhi, London, and Madrid, all on $700-1,000 coach fares.
  • International first class lounge access when traveling on an international longhaul flight. Most airlines give you business class lounge access in those instances, though by being a OneWorld Emerald member you get access to first class lounges in those cases. That includes lounges like the Cathay Pacific Wing in Hong Kong, British Airways First Class Lounge at London Heathrow, Los Angeles Flagship Lounge in Los Angeles, etc.
  • 100% redeemable miles bonus when traveling on revenue tickets
  • No phone booking fees or award booking/redeposit fees when using miles out of your account for yourself
  • Amazing phone customer service. The American Executive Platinum desk is hands down the best in the industry. These are supervisors that are actually empowered to make exceptions for you, and their value can’t be underestimated. In my experience, more so than at any other part of the company, they appreciate your business.

So how do you qualify for Executive Platinum status?

Qualifying for Executive Platinum takes one of the following in a calendar year:

  • 100,000 elite qualifying miles (EQMs)
  • 100,000 elite qualifying points (EQPs)
  • 100 segments.

So while the double elite qualifying miles promotion is already in full swing, since status is based on a calendar year, you’ll want to wait till January 1 to start mileage running, unless you think you can earn 100,000 elite qualifying miles in the next two weeks (which, trust me, you don’t want to do).

It’s worth distinguishing between elite qualifying miles and elite qualifying points. Most airlines only have elite qualifying miles, so this makes American a bit unique.

American awards one elite qualifying mile per revenue mile flown, be it “cheapo” coach or full fare first class. This is the balance that they’re doubling during the double elite qualifying miles promotion. This means that to qualify for Executive Platinum through the double elite qualifying miles promotion you have to fly 50,000 miles, be it in discounted coach or full fare first class (unless there’s an extra promotion you’re stacking on, as discussed below).

American’s elite qualifying points are based on how high of a fare class you’re booked in. If you fly a deeply discounted coach ticket you’ll only earn 0.5 points per mile flown, while if you fly full fare first class you’ll earn 1.5 points per mile flown.

So completely ignore elite qualifying points for the purposes of this promotion, because they’re not being doubled. A lot of people prefer to mileage run on discounted first and business class tickets, and while that’s great, this promotion won’t help you with that goal in any way, since you’re not earning bonus elite qualifying miles for a paid first or business class ticket.

American’s Status Challenges

American offers status challenges whereby you can pay a fee to essentially be “fast tracked” to an elite status tier. They only offer challenges for the Gold and Platinum tier, which must be completed within 90 days, and not top tier.

The Gold challenge requires 5,000 elite qualifying points (10,000 miles flown in discounted coach), while the Platinum challenge requires 10,000 elite qualifying points (20,000 miles flown in discounted coach). You only get the status after completing the challenge, and the cost for the challenges are $120 and $200 for Gold and Platinum, respectively. Chances are this won’t be worth it for most of you.

It takes 20,000 flown miles in discounted coach to complete the Platinum challenge. After having flown 20,000 miles in discounted coach you’ll have earned 40,000 elite qualifying miles through this promotion, so you would only be 10,000 elite qualifying miles (5,000 flown miles through January 31) short of outright earning Platinum status. If you are planning on going “all in,” it’s worth noting that it can take a few weeks for the double elite qualifying miles to post, though the status from a challenge should post right away. So if that’s a factor for you, be sure to keep that in mind.

What routes to fly

Keep in mind that you don’t have to go all the way to Executive Platinum in January. You can take things slow if you want. I will say that flying 50,000 miles in a month isn’t nearly as tough as it sounds. I’ve done it many times before, and it really isn’t that bad (though admittedly if you’re just getting started, much of it will be in coach). If you live on a coast, you’re generally best off sticking to transcontinental flights that you can route through Miami. It shouldn’t be too tough to fly 6,000 elite qualifying miles per weekend (for a transcon routed through Miami), which translates to 12,000 miles through this promotion.

If you were to take just one of those trips each weekend in January, you’d already be right at the cusp of Platinum status. Then you’d have 11 months to fly 50,000 miles, which really shouldn’t be that tough.

You can also conceivably do same day turns, so if you’re self employed or don’t have a traditional schedule, how about a trip every Tuesday and Saturday for the month? You could still be home five days a week, and you’d be right at the cusp of Executive Platinum status. That’s basically Executive Platinum in eight days with minimal spend.

Double dipping for triple elite qualifying miles

If you live in Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco, or Los Angeles, you’re as lucky as they get. American is currently offering double elite qualifying miles for travel between Chicago/Dallas and Los Angeles/San Francisco, for residents of Illinois, Texas, and California (meaning those with an address on file with AAdvantage in one of those states). Here’s the real shocker — the two promotions are combinable, so you can earn triple elite qualifying miles for travel between these cities. Let’s break that down a bit further. A roundtrip between San Francisco and Chicago is 3,692 miles. Through this promotion those miles would be tripled, so you’d be earning a whopping 11,076 elite qualifying miles per roundtrip.

Best of all, fares are presently $99 one-way between San Francisco and Chicago, so a roundtrip costs $219 including tax. Given that you need nine roundtrips to achieve Executive Platinum, that’s top tier status for $1,971. As if that’s not sweet enough, they’re also offering double redeemable miles between San Francisco and Chicago, so you’d be earning a ton of miles as well.

Even better, you can conceivably do two roundtrips a day, meaning you could achieve Executive Platinum status in just over four days.

Enjoy effortless requalification

This is what I love about American. While getting to Executive Platinum might be a pain, once you have it I don’t think there’s an easier airline to keep requalifying on. This is because you can almost completely requalify on international trips in business class. Just take four “fun” trips to Asia a year, and in many cases you’ll already be sitting at 80,000 miles for the year. Then just do a few domestic trips and you’ll be all set for requalificaiton, and will have earned eight more systemwide upgrades and another year of Executive Platinum status. With Delta and United, on the other hand, there are fare restrictions on the systemwide upgrades, so it’s not even nearly as practical to travel internationally for fun getaways/mileage runs.

Any questions? 🙂

Comments

  1. Nice post. Although I live in Omaha, is there any reason I couldn’t open a new AA account under my brother-in-law’s address in CA to take advantage of the SFO,ORD,DFW promo? Do you have a link to sign up for the Status Challenges? Thanks.

  2. @ bmvaughn — Not *really*. While I have no need to do it, I know tons of people with addresses registered there for the purposes of this promotion.

    @ Aric — No issues with that. You have to call American to get a status challenge.

  3. I just started following your blog – great info, but can be somewhat confusing for n00bs like me. I already have lifetime Gold, and plan to make several flights next year, so would going out of my way to achieve this make sense? Most of my flying will involve my wife and daughter.

  4. @ Redshift — I’d say absolutely. Lifetime Gold status gets you a 25% mileage bonus, free checked bags, elite security line/check-in, discounted upgrades, and priority seating. That’s about it. If you went for Executive Platinum status you would be able to earn more miles while flying first class and earning those systemwide upgrades that you could use to upgrade your wife and daughter on international trips.

  5. Actually, from the east coast, if you time it right, you can do 20k EQM in a weekend, I’ve got one weekend with two transcons scheduled, with quick turns in SEA.

  6. SOOOOO glad I still have my TX driver’s license and didn’t change my saved address with American. I know what I’m doing with my week of January vacation! Family in Dallas? Check. Fun stuff to do in Chicago? Check.

  7. Great post Lucky. A couple of concerns:

    * Can you indeed double dip for triple EQM? While the new systemwide DEQM offer can combine with other offers, the CA,IL, TX offer states that it is not combinable with other offers.

    * I was planning a series of ORD – SFO trips previously, but was having a hard time timing two RTs in a day. Best I could do was 1.5 trips. Then – I’m a total amateur so I may have been overlooking something obvious.

    * Finally – I’m a bit worried about committing to the time and buying the tks when its all dependant on Chicago weather in the dead of Winter. I’ve been looking at southern routes instead. 1.5 trips a day to Lax from DFW to take advantage of a 10% discount code good during 1/16 – 1/25 : 4412AZ

    Still it would be phenomenal to requalify for Explat in four+ days! Makes me reconsider ORD

  8. “top tier status for $1,971” if you live in CA its highly likely your Costco will sell the $300 AA certs for $269.99 so you could save 10% basically so you could lower the cost to just $1774 🙂 i’m very tempted

  9. @ Biblioman — American has confirmed it on both Milepoint and FlyerTalk, so you definitely can double dip.

    The four segments a day are easiest if you’re originating in Chicago. Otherwise you can do four segments in 24 hours by starting on a redeye out of San Francisco, and getting back the following evening.

  10. Not that it matters in regards to this post, but it take “only” 100 segments to qualify for EXP on AA. 120 segments is for Diamond on Delta.

  11. Looking already some of the LAX-ORD-LAX flights are already pricier than the lowest fare over weeekends. Have a hunch that’s only going to get worse.

  12. How did you verify that that the double EQM just announced is COMBINABLE with the SFO/LAX-ORD/DFW double EQM promotion?

  13. My sister lives in chicago, would changing my AAirlines mailing address to hers be sufficent to establish my “residency” as far as AA is concerned? If not, could you elaborate on what needs to be done. Thank you for all of your help!!!

  14. For those of use smack-dab in middle America (that was probably obvious by the use of smack-bad) better to position to the costs and domestic run, or fly somewhere more fun international? Thoughts?

  15. what are the restrictions associated with the 8 system-wide upgrades? could they be used for family members accompanying me?

  16. Hello lucky, how much is it to qualify for exp platinum the one with the 8 swu’s , if one does not live in the deqm areas? Thank you, john.

  17. Ben,

    Not that we should be discussing this out in the open (but since it’s already there), how sure are you of 1.) moving to CA and then 2.) registering for that promo + DEQM will really work?

    The reason I ask is that it has been debated ad nauseum that with UA it will NOT work. That you had to have a CA/IL address prior to the announcement of the promo. Is AA really more lax about this?

  18. Lucky, trying to figure out how long I’d be an AA EXP. assuming I get my 100k between jan 1-jan 31 2012, how long would my status (and 8 SWUs) last for?

  19. @hobo13

    I would say it would work. I do live in IL, but since I’m not an AA flier I had never updated my address from my parent’s house in PA (where I haven’t lived in over 5 years). I just went in, updated my address, and registered for the IL/CA/TX promo. It all went through fine.

    Good Luck!

  20. Thanks MB. Hopefully my last question: if I’m in IL, and register for both promos, my EQM would be tripled, but would my RDM be doubled, or tripled?

  21. Thanks MB. As a UA guy, I’m still skeptical. If you register for a UA promo that you aren’t targeted for, the website will tell you are registered, even though you aren’t!

    Does AA have decent IT such that you can trust the website confirmation?

  22. Hi Ben
    This might just be a silly question. Could you tell me what is the difference between EQM and Redeemable Mileage? Are the differences just literal, one is for qualifying the elite status, the other is for redeeming award tickets?

  23. Quick question…if I am Plat Elite with AA and i book a reward ticket in coach, do I automatically get upgraded (same as I would if I had bought the ticket)? Based on what i’m reading on AA’s website, I don’t think you would, but want to make sure. thank you.

  24. @ Sumd — That’s not a silly question at all! Elite qualifying miles are reset at the beginning of each year and based on how many elite qualifying miles you earn in that calendar year. With American you earn one elite qualifying mile per mile flown.

    Redeemable miles, on the other hand, you can redeem for award travel. They don’t reset or expire as long as you have some account activity at least every 18 months. As an Executive Platinum you also get a minimum of two redeemable miles per dollar flown on revenue fares.

    Let me know if you have any other questions. Thanks for reading.

  25. @ Ryan — Platinum elites actually don’t get unlimited domestic upgrades to begin with. They earn four “sticker” upgrades for every 10,000 miles flown, each of which can be used to upgrade 500 miles of travel. So a 2,000 mile flight takes four sticker upgrades, meaning a Platinum can essentially upgrade 20% of their flights for “free.”

    That being said, American doesn’t offer upgrades on award tickets, even for Executive Platinum members.

  26. @ Ken — One of my favorite things about American is that you get your systemwide upgrades as soon as you requalify (or qualify) for Executive Platinum status, and the status and upgrades are good through February two years later. Compare that to United, where systemwide upgrades are good for a year from when you cross the 100,000 mile mark.

  27. Been planning out my MR’s since yesterday… have 7 trips on hold for SFO-ORD in January for the 3x EQM’s… all will likely be in coach but should have EXP by end of it!

  28. So tempted to do this since I’m being downgraded to Delta Gold this year after 3 years at PLT. YET is AA any better then Delta….really? Also with the bankruptcy and restructuring, AA benefits might decrease.

  29. @ Rocky — I can’t imagine they’ll be cutting benefits anytime soon. They’re in Chapter 11, so they certainly don’t want to lose any customers during the process, hence the promo.

  30. @Lucky, GOOD point! I guess I’m still butt sore from went Delta ruined/took away a lot of good NWA Gold and PLT benefits! Maybe it’s time to check someone else out

  31. Based in SFO. Is SFO-ORD-SFO the best routing, or should I try to maximize it even more by adding an extra leg at the end of ORD, like SFO-ORD-DFW-ORD-SFO? Also, I’m also seeing SFO-ORD-LAX-SFO for the same price, would you go for that one?

  32. Ben, what’s a good website to check good mileage run fares from my home airport? The FareCompare FlyerTalk page that you mentioned isn’t working for me.

  33. @ Mike — Unfortunately I don’t think there is a good tool at the moment, ever since Fare Compare is down. The only other option is to use ITA Matrix (matrix.itasoftware.com) and search a bunch of cities at once. For example, if you want to find mileage runs out of Tampa you could search flexible dates and enter Tampa as your origin, and for your destination list:
    SAN;LAX;SFO;SEA;SNA;PDX;MRY

    Just an example. You could add as many cities as you’d like separated by a semicolon.

  34. Lol, I’m using ITA Matrix and it seems like the best fares are all on CO or DL. I haven’t found a good mileage run on AA in awhile.

  35. @ al613 — I’m not sure whether to be embarrassed or flattered. To quote the great Rick Perry, “oops.”

  36. Do you think the fares ORD-SFO will go back to $99 or are they going to stay at their current prices and go up even further? (AKA should I book them at $153 before they increase again, or hold on?)

  37. @ Will — There’s no way to know for sure, though I suspect that American had an “oops” moment and realized just how easy they were making it to get Executive Platinum. I doubt we’ll see fares that low again through the end of January…

  38. The tough part is qualifying when you don’t already have existing status. On United, I’ve been MR-ing this week between SFO/LAX and ORD to get to 1K again (I was 1k for 3 years, then this last year I made only 1P). I’ve received zero upgrades this week: I suspect the front of the bus is full of current 1Ks trying to re-qualify. *sigh*

  39. If I book a ticket from ORD to SFO via DFW will I get the Illinois resident DEQM on the DFW-SFO segment as the rules say it must be a nonstop flight between ORD or DFW and SFO.

  40. I am currently exec plat. For this year I am sitting at 73k elite – had to cancel my last couple trips. Any ideas on how to take advantage of this offer to requal this year? Tough time to do to, I know…

  41. @ Nolan — You wouldn’t, as far as I know. If you’re an Illinois resident you get the ORD-SFO/LAX bonus, while if you’re a Texas resident you get the DFW-LAX/SFO bonus. If you’re a California resident you get the best of both worlds.

  42. @ Casey — With the holidays it’ll be tough. Are you a resident of one of those three states? If so, I’d bite the bullet and just pay whatever it costs. It’ll take less than three roundtrips, and even at $500 a pop, it has to be worth it for Executive Platinum status.

  43. Wow… I guess I got 6 of my trips at the right time… all $99 each way SFO-ORD. Last reservation was held at 3:30PM PST, so the fares were still available at that time.

  44. It is so nice to read helpful/value-added posts…instead of just seeing endless pictures of nuts and Diet Coke and other drivel. Congrats on the run of good posts. Finally.

  45. With no fare restrictions, the cheap tickets are going to MR-ers who will cost the airline more money (expecting free upgrades, better customer service, use their miles for fancy flights), as opposed to selling them to casual travelers who pay luggage fees, buy upgrades and onboard food, and don’t use their miles. The causal travelers don’t care what airline they use, they just look for cheapest fares, which clearly aren’t on AA anymore. What are people’s thoughts on AA’s long-term planning in this regard?

  46. It seems like this is a quick way to generate some quick revenue to appease shareholders concerned about the Chapter 11. On second thought though, people who MR will now have an allegiance to the airline next year, and might bring them more business in order to “get something” out of their status. So in the end, it might be a wash.

  47. It looks like the $99 one-way fares from ORD to California are gone. I checked last night and they were still $99. Now it’s $153.

  48. @Lucky, isn’t your math for the Miami transcon part of the article a bit off – “If you were to take just one of those trips each weekend in January, you’d already be right at the cusp of Platinum status. Then you’d have 11 months to fly 50,000 miles, which really shouldn’t be that tough.”?

    If you do four MIA transcons in January, you’d have about 80Km from DEQM so you’d only need to fly 20K the rest of the year to hit EXP. I’d just do 5 TCONS instead and call it a day.

  49. @ ballardFlyer — How did you arrive at that? The average transcon with a connection is about 6,000 flown miles roundtrip, so that’s 12,000 miles per weekend (doubled). Over four weekends that’s 48,000 EQMs.

  50. Ben,

    I’m assuming that if DFW or ORD is a stopover the promotion still qualifies? So an LGA–> DFW–> SFO routing would still earn the miles?

  51. Ben,
    I’m going to do back-to-back SFO-ORD trips. Would it be better to combine in a single reservation, or have multiple round trip reservations?

    Much thanks for the insight.

  52. Any thoughts on whether the ORD-LAX flights have to be nonstop? Pretty decent fares connecting in LAS and DFW, but not sure if they qualify

  53. lucky, you still did not answer my question. how much is it to qualify for exp status the one where you get the 8 swu’s, if you are not eligible for deqm? i think it is a little misleading on your part assuming everyone lives in those states that qualify for this promotion, so please answer ne and tell me how much, or give me a ballpark figure.
    thank you,
    john.

  54. Ben, I’m a TYO based flyer and am top tier on NH, but this promo has me seriously interested in shooting for EXP on AA. I only fly back to the US once or twice a year; otherwise if I’m flying on OW I’ll be on JL and CX. Does it make sense for me to go for EXP for 2012-13 on this promotion? The upgrades seem like a nice benefit but unlike UA’s SWUs (that can be used on LH in some cases) AA’s are for it’s own metal only…

    Also, I assume the answer to this question is yes, but will miles flown with non-AA OW carriers count towards the EQM total needed for EXP qualification?

  55. @ stanj1548 — You would want to book it as separate trips, because otherwise they may claim it’s a circle trip. Also keep in mind that aa.com won’t let you book back-to-back routings on the same record for the same city pair.

  56. @ Ken — In order to get the triple EQMs for being an IL or CA resident, the flights do have to be nonstop. If you just want the standard double EQMs you can route through anywhere.

  57. @ john — There’s simply no accurate answer I can give you. It all depends on where you live, what kind of routings you’re willing to fly, etc. Generally speaking it shouldn’t be too tough to find a mileage run with a base cost of five cents per mile, so with double EQMs that translates to about $2,500. But it’s all a function of where you live, what the fares are like, what days of the week you’re able to travel, etc.

  58. @ tyoflyer — Absolutely, all OneWorld travel would count towards elite qualifying miles for your status with American. As far as whether or not it’s worth it, I’d weigh the major benefits — 100% mileage bonus, four roundtrip business class upgrades to the US each year, and international first class lounge access. They’re all great benefits, so if you think you can take advantage of them, I by all means would.

  59. Wow so much advise. But it is a great plan and looks like it would be something a lot of people would be interested in participating in.

  60. Hi Lucky,

    Taking the kids to Chicago over MLK weekend thanks to this promo! Want to help us find a great hotel??

  61. btw, probably a dumb question, but can I get credit for their miles? We each have our own AAdvantage number, so I’m guessing we will each accrue individually, but it would be nice to pool all the points into one account.

  62. Do you know if the fares have to be purchased directly through AA.com or can they be purchashed through the Utlimate Rewards portal?

  63. @ Sam — Not if you book all that on the same record, because you can only have a roundtrip (though open jaw is okay) on one record. Out of curiosity, what’s your incentive to do that over just a straight roundtrip?

  64. @lucky, no incentive, just not enough time to do MR’s in Jan. Thanks for the info I will try lax-ord-bos-ord-lax and visit my friend in boston.

  65. Can’t believe I’m actually going to do first ever mileage run in my life. I’ve hold 8 round trips between LAX-DFW-FLL and LAX-ORD-LAX. One question I have as a newbie, how many 500 miles upgrade stickers am I going to get if I hit 90K by end of January and how fast will the stickers posted to my account? I assume the answer is 6 sets of stickers (24 total) and they should post after I get my QEM in 6-8 weeks. Please correct me if I’m wrong (and I will be interested to know your strategy on how to use these stickers).

  66. @ Alan — Keep in mind that if you go all the way to EXP you’ll be using stickers for companions, as EXPs get complimentary upgrades. Also keep in mind that you don’t earn stickers anymore when you hit EXP.

    That being said, I’m not so sure you’d get stickers for your first 25K “butt in seat” miles, since you’ll be flying them as a non-elite. You’ll only retroactively getting the bonus, so I’m not sure you’d get the stickers.

  67. Thanks for the quick response. I just did a calculation and by end of January, I will get 35K “butt in the seat miles”, 52K QRM and 91K QEM. So if only BIS counts, I may only get 4 stickers since 4 stickers is awarded for every 10K miles (don’t know if this is BIS or QEM) AFTER the member becomes Gold. I plan to use these stickers to upgrade when I try to reach EXP for rest of 9K QEM after sitting all first 35K in coach…(ahhhh)

  68. I am going to book two round trip DFW to SFO on weekends (already have ABQ and LGA trips booked or I would do four). But this is enough to get me gold status. I am not aiming at getting Platinum (not that much difference in benefits) and could not reach EXP.

    Here is my question: I found a 5% off coupon code for 1.20-1.21 trip. Is this fine to be combined with this triple offer?

    I am also booking 1.6-1.8 dfw-sfo. Any 5% coupon code somebody would share with me? Tnks a lot.

  69. @ Doublejade — That shouldn’t be an issue at all. A coupon code wouldn’t conflict with earning the bonus.

  70. Gonna attempt this mileage run but pretty new at this. I need clarification.
    Question: If I take advantage of the LAX-ORD triple mile thing and fly out 7 times RT I’m good for EXP?

  71. Hey, Lucky, i’m confused by a couple of your postings. Am I correct in saying that Executive Platinums get unlimited upgrades on their flights no matter what class they book in, they don’t need the stickers? According to AA, Platinum and Gold get the stickers, but not Executive, b/c they get complimentary upgrades. Also, I’ve checked with AA CS twice now, and they have confirmed that if you book a multi-city trip from DFW-SFO-ORD-SFO-DFW, you will get triple miles for all of those legs, no matter what state you live in. I pointed out the roundtrip wording to them, and they said it was fine anyway. Definitely YMMV situation, but i made two calls on a recorded line, so hopefully it is correct (I’ve also emailed them as well). I’ve actually booked a multicity roundtrip going DFW-SFO-DFW-ORD-SFO-DFW. Long 24 hours on a plane 🙂

  72. @ Ryan — Executive Platinum members get unlimited domestic upgrades, though for longhaul international upgrades you have to use your systemwide upgrades.

    Keep in mind that American doesn’t actually record calls, aside from the random ones that are chosen for screening to asses the work of the agents. Just something to keep in mind. It always helps to have stuff in writing.

  73. Lucky,

    I’m saying i called from my work phone, all our phone calls are recorded. 🙂 But hopefully i’ll get something in writing. Thanks for the clarification.

  74. Lucky – upgrades for EXP companions: are they complimentary on any fare class, or do you need to purchase/use 500 mi upgrades? Also, on any fare class, or just Y and B? I’m trying to figure it out on the website but it’s a bit confusing.

  75. nevermind, you answered a similar question above:

    @ Alan — Keep in mind that if you go all the way to EXP you’ll be using stickers for companions, as EXPs get complimentary upgrades. Also keep in mind that you don’t earn stickers anymore when you hit EXP.
    That being said, I’m not so sure you’d get stickers for your first 25K “butt in seat” miles, since you’ll be flying them as a non-elite. You’ll only retroactively getting the bonus, so I’m not sure you’d get the stickers.

  76. Ben, how crazy would it be to do these trips back to back? I couldn’t handle doing it for 4 straight days but even 2 trips where I do 2 turns (48 hours of straight travel!) … what happens if there is bad weather in ORD? Is AA accommodating since weather will screw many of my “future” travel?

  77. @ John — I’ve done 48 hours of straight flying, and it really isn’t as bad as it sounds. If you misconnect they would probably help to accommodate you on other flights that would still work.

  78. Hi Lucky,
    I don’t need to book on aa.com, right? I’m thinking of booking this using the amex travel site so I can pay all with amex points.

  79. Ok, just booked 5 same day roundtrips SFO-ORD as well as an SFO-ORD-LAX-ORD-SFO starting with the redeye. Can’t figure out how to fit any more into my January schedule, but this gets me about 75k EQM so I’m satisfied. thanks so much for the tips!

    Lucky, can you just verify, that last one will count for both AA’s promo rules, right? I’ve got it figured at 7182 so 3x= 21546

  80. This is my scenario and would appreciate help.
    Registered for Double Elite Qualifying Miles.

    This is my trip and I am registered in Texas.
    JAN21PHX-DFW-CDG(Paris). JAN28CDG-DFW-ORD-DEL.
    My return leg from DEL would be on the 2nd.

    I have one more PHX-ORD-DEL-ORD-DEL in April.

    Any pointers or ideas on how to get to Elite or closer would be appreciated. Currently I’m Gold for Life.

    Regards,

    John

  81. gotta love aa double qualifying miles. great post.
    just got back from miami to shanghai and miami back to shanghai onto HK next week before 2/1/2012.
    chauss

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