American offering ridiculously generous elite fast track to non-elites (apparently not targeted)

I’ve been flying for 24 hours straight and am rather speechless, so will let the promotion speak for itself:

We invite AAdvantage® members* who do not currently hold elite status to reach Gold, Platinum or Executive Platinum status faster and keep it through February 28, 2015. Not an AAdvantage member? It’s fast and free to join!

Members who are eligible for this offer and reach a mileage threshold below will open up a whole new world of perks designed to make travel easier. When you meet the requirements, you will have the opportunity to experience the exclusive benefits our elite status members enjoy, including:

  • Mileage bonuses on eligible flights
  • Complimentary access to Preferred Seats
  • Special upgrade privileges
  • Priority Access at check-in and boarding
  • Free checked bags

It’s easy to enroll for your exclusive offer.

Simply register by 11:59 p.m. (CT) on August 27, 2013, using promotion code H3TLI. Then, start flying on American or select airlines** to earn the required elite-qualifying miles between September 1, 2013, and December 31, 2013.

American_Elite_Fast_Track

Let me make sure I understand this correctly. American is offering non-elites that have never flown American before Executive Platinum status if they fly 30,000 miles in the last four months of the year (which is even proportionally less than what is required to achieve the status)? I think the biggest slap in the face is that if you’re currently a Gold or Platinum member (via lifetime status, for example) you wouldn’t be eligible for the Executive Platinum fast track, while someone that has never flown American would be.

I mean, I don’t really know what to say here. They’re giving you status through February of 2015, so this is the most generous non-targeted promotion I’ve seen in a long time.

Uh, mom and dad, pack your bags, we’re going for Executive Platinum! In all honesty, while it’s perhaps against my own interest to recommend people take advantage of this, at the end of the day it’s a promotion American published and I can’t help but encourage people to do so. While I’m not sure, my guess would be that if you complete the Executive Platinum fast track you’ll get eight systemwide upgrades, though I could be wrong on that.

It’s also interesting to note that qualification is based on elite qualifying miles and not even elite qualifying points, making it even easier to achieve.

Welcome new Executive Platinum members!

(Tip of the hat to AAdvantageGeek)

Comments

  1. Do you think AA will also give the new EXPs the same 8 SWUs? That would definitely make things even better…

  2. Lucky, would you be publishing any mileage run deals on AA now that you have published this promotion 🙂 ?

  3. @ Apu — If I see any good ones I’ll certainly post them here. Always makes sense to monitor theflightdeal.com (or @theflightdeal on Twitter) for the latest fare sales.

  4. Damn. I’m gold because of the last soft landing and have to pay for a plat challenge to get to plat when the same flying would get me that for free if i weren’t.

    Joyous…

  5. Lets be honest here, most people who are lifetime Gold or PLT got it via credit card spending, not by hitting the road 100K miles a year. I fly AA more often than my LT PLT parents.

    I agree it’s a kick in the face to actual BIS elites, though.

    But with Delta’s major devaluation today (8/14, in case there’s another devaluation this week which is par for the course nowadays), I’d be stupid to let this opportunity pass. I was eyeing AA anyway before opting for a UA challenge that I’ll finish in Septmeber.

  6. This is madness. I’m spending thousands of dollars, and wasting weeks of my life in the air, on mileage runs to re-qualify for EXP. But I can’t take advantage of this because I’m a loyal customer? Upgrades are already harder to clear, and now even more freeloaders will be choking up line. If I had a more common surname, I’d sign up for a new account and pretend to be a different person. This is just not the way to run a loyalty program. Madness. Genuinely loyal road warriors should be pissed – and should write to AA and say so. [cue: predictable snarky follow-up comments from freeloaders saying it’s a great deal…]

  7. Damn.

    Really wish I hadn’t challenged this spring. If I’d known they were gonna pull this promo I would have booked my trips for the 2nd half of the year!

  8. Can’t help but think AA knew the DOJ announcement was coming and had this ready to deploy. Too coincidental to be offering this the day after the announcement.

  9. @ Duc — Well it has to be revenue fares, but yes. As opposed to elite qualifying points, where you earn anywhere from 0.5 to 1.5 points per mile flown.

  10. We also get a bunch of 10% off codes from the plane promotion, then we can use for this mileage run too?
    It would be so cool

  11. will AA ever give Executive Platinum for spend points?

    over 1m points over they years, but stuck at Executive

  12. @ mikey — No, status is based on year to year elite qualifying activity and not redeemable miles, sorry.

  13. OK, so what I am hearing is that even though I am already Executive Platinum and have flown roughly 55,000 miles already this year, I will have to fly about 50% more miles through the end of the year in order to qualify for EXP. Someone who gets an account today, need only fly 30,000 miles. Bitter? Just a bit…

  14. I’m a frequent business traveler and I’m trying to figure out if I could do this. I travel about once a week, and a lot of my flight has have been from the southeast to the northeast. Roughly how many miles is that? WIsh segments counted 🙁

  15. Lucky, do know if you have to book on aa.com? Or can you book on ba.com? Would love to use the BA Chase Visa 10% discount on revenue tickets booked on ba.com. The fine print in the promotion doesn’t say that you have to book on aa.com. Thanks

  16. This offer means: “Screw you loyal customers!!!! We will make it easier for tons of people that never flew AA to become elite and compete with you that has being a loyal customer for year to upgrades, seat assignments, etc…”. It is like my AAdvantage Citi card that I have for over 10 years. I get nothing from them for being a loyal customer and 10 years ago the promotions were not even close to what they are today. Too bad for being loyal!!!!

  17. As of now I will be qualifying for 1k sometime in November. All of my miles are on United and I really like using UA miles…I know little about AA.

    However, I could probably swing getting UA Plat AND AA Exec. Plat by the end of the year and not hitting 1k. The big factor keeping me away from this is the lack of UA miles I would earn by doing this and the lack of enough AA miles to use them for something significant.

    What would you do in this situation?

  18. @ Rachel — Depends on where you’re flying and if you’re connecting. I’d suggest using gcmap.com to map out how many miles each of your segments is, and then you should be able to do the math pretty easily.

  19. @ Mitch B — That’s a toughie, I’d decide based on what your travel plans look like for next year. Earning status is great, but not worth all that much unless you can take advantage of the benefits. If United serves the routes you fly the most then I probably wouldn’t switch unless you think you’d be able to qualify with both programs next year.

  20. I followed the link to the offer on the AA website. The blue “Register Today” button does not work. Just called AAdvantage desk. Gave him the H3TLI code. SR looked at my file. I do not have elite status. SR said appearantly I am not eligible for this offer. Said if I was eligible it would be listed in my file. He asked if I received the email with the offer and I said no. He said if I don’t have the offer in my file then there is no way for him to register me for the offer. Any suggestions?

  21. If I already have a flight during the qualification period that I purchased last month… will it count?

  22. FWIW, Plat here and it still let me register. I know that doesn’t mean I’ll actually get it, but worth a shot! Will make the fact that I won’t be getting a soft landing next yeah much better 🙂

  23. my boyfriend and I fly at least 100k BIS mi/yr in part to maintain our exec platinum status (in fact, I think he’s going to hit around 130k BIS mi this year). this is extremely frustrating. 🙁

  24. I had 2 UA flights on a hold until 2pm today. I just cxld them and am rebooking on AA. Now, if there were only some decent international MRs on AA in the next 4 months….

  25. If I sign up for the 40,000 credit card AA bonus miles thru city bnk, do those miles count towards this offer? Or do I have to fly this?

  26. @ Tory — You have to fly. The credit card gets you redeemable miles, while you need elite qualifying miles.

  27. Question for AA flyers. How soon once a mileage threshold is reached is status granted? Does AA recognize a status change during a MR or weekend flight (inbound to outbound)? Thanks….

  28. @ Jay — It takes a little while for miles to post, and in my experience status is then updated within a couple of days, though I don’t believe it’s instant.

  29. Lucky, in your experience do you think people will qualify for the Elite Rewards as they pass through the various levels? It would appear that one could earn 124,500 redeemable miles if you flew 30k, qualified for EXP and chose miles for each of the rewards.

  30. I’ve never done a MR yet. Just wondering if you fly a partner such as AS and credit to AA, are those EQM or do you actually have to fly AA?

  31. Challenged to Plat this year, expiring 2014, yet the site still allowed me to register for the promo…

  32. Is there a EQM class of service bonus for AA, like 150% for flying business class vs. 100% for coach? And would this count toward the mileage requirement?

  33. @ elwoodbud — Nope, class of service bonuses only apply towards elite qualifying points and not elite qualifying miles, unfortunately. So whether you’re flying the cheapest coach fare or full fare first class you’re only earning 100% miles.

  34. Agree with your statement…it’s a slap in the face to us lifetime individuals. I would love the chance to do the Executive Platinum challenge.

  35. @Lucky

    hmmmm… so I am looking at JFK-LHR rt over thanksgiving (11/27-30) and the biz fare on AA is $1,600… and that’s on 77W both ways… and it yields almost 7k miles… is it worth it? 77W seems pretty awesome… but it is a lot of money considering i don’t know how much AA i’ll fly next year.

    what do you say?

  36. @ Lantean — That’s definitely a great price for business class, but without knowing your financial situation or mileage goals it’s tough to say. Would you be doing it with the purpose of trying to qualify for the Executive Platinum challenge, and if so, what’s the alternative routing you’d do?

  37. Would you still receive the four 500-mile upgrades awarded at the 10,000 and 20,000 mile thresholds? If so, it will make the rides easier until EXP.

  38. @ rph310 — If you’re going for Executive Platinum status I don’t believe so, since you’ll never actually be Gold or Platinum till you otherwise reach those thresholds, the earliest of which is 25,000 miles.

  39. @Lucky

    my finances are fine…I guess i would be doing it to visit a friend in London and to try the new AA planes… but I don’t have enough vacay left for this year so in my case ony for platinum… sadly no exec platimun for me.

    the alternative would be not to take the trip… i just sort of made it up now when i saw the promo. 😉

  40. @ Frequent Flyer University — That’s a great question. Generally speaking you can, though not sure if they’d “catch on” in this case or not.

  41. @Lucky

    you mean to mileage run every weekend to make it to exec plat? hmmm… no thanks… i have other plans for my weekends.

    so what do you think? is this worth it for just platinum level? 😉

  42. @ Lantean — Sure, if you plan to do a good bit of travel on American next year I’d say that’s a pretty good idea then. But status isn’t worth a whole lot unless you plan on using it!

  43. Very tempting… but it’s a tough one to compare when I only have to fly 60-70k BIS miles to requal. as DL DM each year…

  44. I just sent an email to AA comparing this to the types of promos run by DISH and DirecTV. What a slap in the face to BIS status earners.

  45. I’m booked on a malaysia airlines flight next month (MH93 LAX-NRT)and was gonna credit the miles to BA Exec. If I were to credit the flight to AA would this flight get any EQM’s toward the promo?

  46. I can see where this would be frustrating for current AA elites, but from an outsider’s perspective, I’m calculating whether I have enough time off/spare cash to make EXP happen.

    I wonder if the number of new elites from this promo will be greater than that from last year’s double EQM promotion.

  47. Hey Lucky,

    I know you stated above Alaska Airlines earned EQM do count, but it’s not clear to me that’s the case:

    **Eligible airlines include American Airlines, American Eagle®, American Connection® carrier, British Airways, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines and Qantas flights, as well as eligible codeshare flights.

    I am not typically concerned with EQM at all so what do you suppose is meant by “eligible” in eligible codeshare flights?

  48. Ugh, this definitely upset me to no end.. I already flew 51k so far this yr, have 20k miles planned already up to October and planning on a Hawaii trip in December which gonna make it 30k for sure.. Yet i cant qualify for EXP while newbies can.. I already wrote how I feel about this promo to AA twitter and facebook account.. I probably will write a direct email to them as well.. They better listen and make this right for the loyal customers..!!

  49. I hope the merger does not go through, I am US Airways CP and I hate to miss the 100% upgrades i have been getting .

  50. The other group this stinks for is us US CPs who earn it by flying and crediting to US. Presumably, our flying this year will eventually get us some sort of status with the combined airline, but in a much much larger pool.

  51. I got registered for myself and the wife, doyou think they will pull back the registrations now that the deal seem to be dead

  52. Well, that was weird. They were pretty clear that the promo would run for two weeks. I’m delighted it’s gone, but I wonder what happened…

  53. @The Miles Professor —

    Eligible codeshare flight presumably means that if you buy a flight operated by Alaska with an AA flight number (or operated by any other airline but with an AA flight number, or a flight number of one of the other valid airlines), it will still be eligible for counting toward this promotion. That’s how AA runs virtually all promotions.

  54. Yeah, seems to be dead. My guess is that it either wasn’t meant to be published or they published it too soon.

  55. Hi Lucky,

    I have an upcoming longhaul Etihad flight. Do you think the miles from that will count if I credit to AA?

  56. Lucky,

    I managed to sign up and I seem to meet the publicly listed criteria. What is AAs record with honoring fast track status offers in the past?

  57. @ Dax — I don’t have a clue, to be perfectly honest. In the past if you registered for a targeted promotion you still wouldn’t qualify since you weren’t targeted, but in this case there was nothing in the T&Cs stating the promotion is targeted.

  58. Didn’t April Fools happen a while ago? 😉

    Something tells me they didn’t really think this one through and just posted it.

    I’m kind of hoping that they decide to null this entire thing.

  59. I’m glad to hear it’s dead and hope they will not go ahead with those who already signed up. I’m AA PLT with ~60K flown miles YTD. I’m sure I can get up to 80 but flying another 40K is a stretch that I’m trying to make ExPLT. And then I see that someone who hasn’t spent a dime with AA can get the same status in just 30K? I was so pissed off I was planning to e-mail AA and also consider switching to UA where I can get to Chairman in 30K.

  60. Even though the deal is dead, I’d still be pissed off! Who gives a promo, even if it is target, to the AA top tier? That tells me that it is not valued all that much by AA……

  61. I signed up but i can feel the anger of all those who would worked through the year for status on AA. I have a feeling AA is going to cancel this thing but have yet to hear anything from them. Wonder when i’m going to get that cancellation email…

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