Buy Up To AAdvantage Elite Status For 2015

On Sunday morning I wrote about how it looked like American would be bringing back an elite renewal offer this year.

Last year American AAdvantage offered the Elite Boost offer, whereby if you were within 10,000 elite qualifying miles of a status level, you could purchase the remaining needed elite qualifying miles needed for status.

Buy up to AAdvantage status for 2015

American has now published a similar promotion for this year, though they’ve changed a couple of things about it.

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First of all, previously you could only buy up to the next status level if you were within 10,000 elite qualifying miles of your desired status level. This year you can buy up if you’re within 15,000 elite qualifying miles of your desired status level.

Next, last year when they rolled out the offer they didn’t actually let you buy up to status right away. The offer was published in November, though you could only actually buy up to status in January. This time around they’re letting you take advantage of the offer right away, so you can get your status updated within five business days. That’s good news since you can start enjoying the benefits of the higher elite tier right away, though I’d add a few words of caution:

  • It’s good news because you don’t have to wait to have your status updated — if you want to buy up to Executive Platinum, you can have your status upgraded right now
  • That being said, be careful that you don’t buy up to status now when you might otherwise have last minute travel that gets you over the edge anyway

So if you were to take advantage of this, I’d recommend waiting until after the year is over, so you really know where you stand on EQMs.

Cost to buy up to AAdvantage status

The cost to buy up to status varies based on which elite tier you’re going for, and also based on how many miles away you are from achieving status, with 5,000 mile increments. The price to buy up to status if you’re within 10,000 miles of qualifying is actually identical to last year, though then they’ve added the tier for those 10,000-15,000 miles away from qualifying for status.

Buy up to AAdvantage Gold

  • If you end the year with 20,000-24,000 miles or 25-29 segments you can pay $399 to boost your status
  • If you end the year with 15,000-19,999 miles or 20-24 segments you can pay $499 to boost your status
  • If you end the year with 10,000-14,999 miles or 15-19 segments you can pay $649 to boost your status

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Buy up to AAdvantage Platinum

  • If you end the year with 45,000-49,999 miles or 55-59 segments you can pay $699 to boost your status
  • If you end the year with 40,000-44,999 miles or 50-54 segments you can pay $899 to boost your status
  • If you end the year with 35,000-39,999 miles or 45-49 segments you can pay $1,199 to boost your status

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Buy up to AAdvantage Executive Platinum

  • If you end the year with 95,000-99,999 miles or 95-99 segments you can pay $1,199 to boost your status
  • If you end the year with 90,000-94,999 miles or 90-94 segments you can pay $1,799 to boost your status
  • If you end the year with 85,000-89,999 miles or 85-89 segments you can pay $2,499 to boost your status

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Should you buy up to status?

I’d look at this offer as an absolute “last resort.” These rates are really high. For example, paying over 20 cents per mile for the last 5,000 elite qualifying miles towards Executive Platinum status is painful. That being said, if you absolutely can’t squeeze in another trip and it’s the only way you can achieve the next status level, it could very well be worth it.

For example, I definitely value Executive Platinum status at more than $1,199, assuming you have any travel planned for the following year.

Do keep in mind that:

  • If you have some elite qualifying activity with US Airways as well, those totals will be combined in the second quarter of 2015 to eventually determine your status
  • If you’re far off from achieving status, you’re best off doing a US Airways Challenge, which can get you Chairman’s Preferred for as little as 30,000 flown miles (which will eventually be converted into Executive Platinum in the second quarter of next year, including eight systemwide upgrades)

Bottom line

This isn’t an offer I’d recommend taking advantage of unless you’re really in a bind. It’s nice that they offer it, it’s nice that they didn’t raise the price further, though at the same time this isn’t cheap!

For what it’s worth, US Airways will soon be offering a similar elite boost, though it won’t go live for a couple more weeks.

Comments

  1. UA does this at the end of the year as well for roughly the same amount.. I ended last year with 71,000 PQMs and the 4k extra to go up to Plat was offered to me at about $800

  2. Interesting tidbit in the FAQs. It appears there will be a second round of boost offers once the program’s combine.

    I have an AAdvantage account and a Dividend Miles account. Will the elite-qualifying activity in my Dividend Miles account be considered when determining eligibility for this offer?
    Yes, but not until the two programs are combined in the second quarter of 2015. At that time, we’ll add your elite-qualifying balances from 2014 to determine status valid through February 2016, as well as your balances from 2015 for status through February 2017. You will receive the resulting elite status membership and/or an elite status boost/renewal offer based on your combined elite-qualifying balances at that time.

  3. i bought up to Gold last year and it was well worth it. every domestic AA flight i’ve taken this year, i’ve gotten a 1st class upgrade. coincidentally my travel on american went through the roof this year, so i’m easily qualifying for platinum. not sure i would buy up to plat since the benefits are minimal over gold but for those close to gold, i’d say def go for it.

  4. Hi Lucky, I have AA plat status. Can I apply for a US Chairmen’s Preferred Challenge (in other words, upgrade my challenge) or does my US challenge only apply to the Chairmen’s level (in other words, a lateral challenge). I thought I already posted this question but I couldn’t find it. Thanks, Mary Jane

  5. @ Mary Jane — as of now, US and AA programs are independent of each other and, since you don’t need to actually have any status from any other airline to do US Airways challenge, you can pay for US Silver/Gold/Plat challenge ($200/400/600) to get that status temporarily but ultimately your status will be based on miles flown, i.e. if you pay for Silver status but fly enough miles, you can get Chairman’s Preferred.

  6. I really think this cheapens the EXP level. I might feel different if I were to miss it but I have qualified for EXP for 5+ years now on both segments and miles – true road warrior style.

    It saddens me to see AA do this but then again, I bought a ton of AAL around the beginning of the year and it has been climbing nicely. I see the revenue angle, I just think it cheapens things. I guess I can’t have my cake and eat it too all the time.

  7. $1199 for PLT is a bargain for what I save in MCE seats alone. You don’t have to be a frequent flyer just a family flyer for this to make sense

  8. Pardon my naivete, but I assume one can’t purchase miles to get status. I’m at 24.3k points, 22.7k miles, 22 segments…

  9. @ KH — These are redeemable miles and not elite qualifying miles, so they wouldn’t count towards status. Sorry!

  10. Hey Lucky, love your articles and thanks so much for what you publish, helped us travel the world for very little. So as of today, 10/19/15 I have 70.5K as I have been EP for some 6 past years I really enjoy this level. I have maybe 10K flights planned so far until 12/31/15. So a couple of questions, do you think AA will offer this again in 2016? Given my situation what would you do if you were I? Find a couple 2 trips from PHX to HKG? Time is my forever enemy as I don’t have a lot of it to spare, thanks mate!

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