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It’s approaching the end of the year, which means it’s a good time to start looking at your elite mileage balances, deciding which status levels you want to go for, and how you want to earn them.
For the past several years, American has offered an elite buy up offer, whereby you can buy up to a higher status level if you are within a certain range of achieving a tier. For full context, here are the details of the Elite Boost Offer in 2013 and the Elite Boost Offer in 2014.
Buy up to AAdvantage status for 2016
American has now published a similar promotion for this year, which is valid through July 31, 2016. This allows you to buy up to the next status level for this coming year, which would be valid through February 28, 2017. Here are the FAQs regarding the buy up offer.
You have to log in on this page with your AAdvantage number to see how much it will cost you, though it’s my understanding that the program is very similar to last year’s. If that’s the case, it means you can buy up if you’re within 15,000 elite qualifying miles of your desired status level.
If you do one of these buy ups, your status should be updated within a few days. That’s good news since you can start enjoying the benefits of the higher elite tier right away, though 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 elite qualifying miles.
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 elite qualifying miles away you are from achieving status, with 5,000 mile increments. It’s my understanding that the pricing is similar to last year, in which case it would be as follows:
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
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
Buy up to AAdvantage Executive Platinum
- If you end the year with 95,000-99,999 miles or 115-119 segments you can pay $1,199 to boost your status
- If you end the year with 90,000-94,999 miles or 110-114 segments you can pay $1,799 to boost your status
- If you end the year with 85,000-89,999 miles or 105-109 segments you can pay $2,499 to boost your status
(The above screenshot is from last year, when American raised the elite qualifying segments required for Executive Platinum from 100 to 120; that’s why the segments in the above screenshot aren’t correct)
Should you buy up to status?
I’d look at this offer as an absolute “last resort.” These rates are really high. 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.
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, though at the same time this isn’t cheap!
Lastly, it’s worth noting that American processes these buy up offers directly, which means they would qualify as airfare purchases for the purposes of your credit card. That means if you take advantage of this offer you’ll want to use a card which offers bonus points on airfare purchases, like the American Express Premier Rewards Gold, Citi ThankYou® Premier Card, or Citi Prestige® Card, all of which offer triple points on airfare.
Do you plan on taking advantage of the buy up offer, or have you in the past?