How To Request An American AAdvantage Status Challenge

Historically American hasn’t offered status matches, though there have been exceptions. What they have offered fairly consistently are status challenges, whereby you can pay to register and then get “fast tracked” status after earning a certain number of elite qualifying points in a 90 day period.

Last September American discontinued their status challenge program, which puzzled me at first. Rumor had it that the program would return at some point this year.

And now that all makes sense, given the AAdvantage changes which were announced last November. As of this year American has eliminated elite qualifying points as a metric of qualifying for status, so they also needed to adjust how status challenges work.

2016-AAdvantage-Program

Per View from the Wing and JonNYC, American is once again offering AAdvantage Gold & Platinum status challenges, which can be enrolled for by phoning American AAdvantage at 800-882-8880.

Under the old program you needed 5,000 or 10,000 elite qualifying points to complete a Gold or Platinum challenge, respectively.

Here’s how the new AAdvantage challenges work:

  • AAdvantage Gold challenge: earn 7,000 elite qualifying miles in 90 days (cost to register: $100)
  • AAdvantage Platinum challenge: earn 12,500 elite qualifying miles in 90 days (cost to register: $200)

You earn elite qualifying miles at the following rate under the new AAdvantage program:

AAdvantage-2016

Here are some of the important things to keep in mind regarding the AAdvantage status challenges:

  • You can’t sign-up for a challenge as a way of requalifying for your current status level, though you can use it to bump up from Gold to Platinum
  • You don’t receive status upfront; instead you only receive it upon completion of the challenge
  • You can pay to upgrade from a Gold challenge to a Platinum challenge, and you can also downgrade from a Platinum challenge to a Gold challenge, though in the latter instance you wouldn’t be refunded the difference
  • If you wanted to earn Executive Platinum status, you’d still need 100,000 EQMs; while your status is upgraded through the challenge, you don’t receive the corresponding EQMs
  • Only flights on American, British Airways, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, and Qantas count towards the challenge
  • Status earned through a challenge in the first half of the year is valid only through this membership year (in this instance, February 2017); status earned through a challenge in the second half of the year is valid through January two years later (in this instance, January 2018)

American-767-Business

Bottom line

It’s nice to see American bring back the status challenge. In my opinion they’re bringing it back with very generous terms. For example, for Platinum you previously needed 10,000 elite qualifying points. In discounted economy that’s like 20,000 flown miles. Now you need 12,500 elite qualifying miles, which is a significant reduction for those not flying on premium fares.

Do you plan on doing an AAdvantage status challenge this year?

Comments

  1. Thanks for this! Where can I go to sign up? I have a 22K+ mile trip coming up this week that would be perfect for this. One question: do AA codeshares count as well (i.e. AA flight number on the partner airline, in my case, CX Y)?

  2. I still kick myself for not doing the one at end of last year – would have easily made Platinum it turns out. Of course AA customer support could do nothing to “retro it”. With an upcoming trip to SYD (among others) I will be taking full “AA”dvantage this time around.

  3. Your post never actually answers the question of how to request a challenge – it just lays out the terms of the challenge.

  4. @ Lucky – Do you know if I complete the challenge on the first half than reach 50k EQMs on the second half, would my platinum status be bumped to 2018 or would it still expires on early 2017?

  5. Figured it out! Just had to call AA at (800)-882-8880 and sign up for the Platinum challenge! A couple data points:

    – Codeshares w/AA flight #s do count, even if the flight is operated by a partner
    – The agent proactively offered temporary Gold status (when I mentioned offhand that I was glad to be switching my business from UA), so I’d be getting the mileage bonus on the trip!
    – Paid the $200 fee using my Amex Plat. Hadn’t used the $200 credit yet, so hopefully this charge will count!

    Thanks Lucky!!

  6. Lucky – the title of your article is “How to Request an Amerilcan AAdvantage Status Challenge” but no where do you actually explain where to go to do this?? Go to website, call them, is there a link, or what??

  7. I’m sorry to ask a specific, personal question, but if I request a status challenge on June 1st and complete it in August, that will count for all of 2017, right?

  8. “Only flights on American, British Airways, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, and Qantas count”

    Very curious with so many partners (OW), how these are the ONLY airlines which count towards status challenges. No MH/QR/CX etc.

  9. Saw this yesterday and already signed up. I have my flight today through the great avios/aarp business class deal and will reach the platinum at the end of this one flight. I tossed around waiting until later half but hopefully will fly enough with extra mileage boost to get me over any humps.

  10. it’s so interesting that the challenge is so generous, it literally went from 10000 EQP to 6250 “EQP” for platinum. maybe AA lost/expecting to lose many FF members due to the devaluation and try to get some back this way?

  11. Just signed up for the Platinum challenge. The agent said they offer a temporary status match for United frequent flyers but not for Delta Medallions.

  12. when you mention completing this challenge in second half of the year, does that mean you call AA after June 1st to request the challenge? i can’t find any official date that this offer expires on so i worry that might mean i’d miss out. along the same lines of thinking, does the 90 day period start immediately? or can you specify a start day in the future?

  13. @Lucky – so my 2015 status as Platinum (which I did not re-qualify for) will end on Feb 28, 2016, correct ? at which time I will be bumped back to Gold

    So should I apply for the challenge on March 1st and aim for Platinum by doing one long haul flight to get 12,500 EQM ?

    Would appreciate your feedback !
    Andrew

  14. Any tips on getting the temporary bump to Gold while pursuing the Platinum challenge? “Hey I saw it on boardingarea.com”?

    Was just quoted $120 for the Gold challenge, not $100 as per the article. Platinum was $200.

  15. The reason Platinum is cheaper to get is that it isn’t worth as much after the upcoming changes. Double miles is going away, the new benefit is much smaller.

  16. Wow this is easy to get. Worth getting platinum for lounge access on international itineraries. Free MCE is useful too.

  17. Hi Lucky,

    On a slightly unrelated note, is there anyway to work around the AA Metal segments required for normal elite qualification. I had enough EQP last year but flew none on AA

  18. I got a little over 16k EQMs of travel between the beginning of March and the end of April. I wonder if it’s worth signing up for the challenge.

  19. I called yesterday only to find out I’m not eligible. I have Gold status and wanted to do the Platinum challenge….she told me to call back in a week or two?

  20. I am a Delta PM and my company is forcing me to fly AA for a trip next week. Is there any way to leverage my Delta status for a match of some kind at AA before my flight? Even if it’s at a lower tier?? Sign up for a CC tonight?? Any help? I’m desperate!!!!

  21. I got an email last week “Fast Track to AAdvantage Elite Status.” No need to pay for this challenge. The EQMs requirement looks the same, “Only flights on American, British Airways, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, and Qantas count”

    Earn the required Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) between the date you register and May 31, 2016, and you’ll receive status through February 28, 2017.

    Elite status level Elite Qualifying Miles needed
    Executive Platinum 35,000
    Platinum 10,000
    Gold 7,000
    Once you qualify, you’ll enjoy the wide range of elite benefits that come with status.

    Sign up before you travel and no later than February 22, 2016. Use promotion code HVC1B.

    Some of you might have gotten it too. Check you email.

  22. Just called today for the challenge. The program cost $120 (Gold) and $240 (Platinum) and will get you elite status until the end of January 2017. The program cost goes up by $20 (for both) on June 16. However, the elite status earned will be valid until the end of January 2018. So I am going to wait until then.

  23. Just signed up this morning, quoted 120 for gold and 200 for platinum, I mentioned that I was switching my companies travel over to American from United and got instant Gold status. Traveling 30,000 EQMs in the next 4 weeks.

  24. Great post. What happens if you purchased the flight before you register for the challenge? Does it impact the challenge in anyway? Or do the flight dates only matter?

    Cheers,
    Edward

  25. I have trip coming up next week in Y as follows

    HKG-DFW-LIM – 11,480 miles
    SCL-DFW-HKG – 12,992 miles
    Total – 24,472 miles

    Unfortunately the outbound flight is 1020 miles short of the required for Platinum and while I was considering on being creative with the routing and going through LAX and MIA that would still only get me to 12,210 miles and that’s already extending the travel time quite a bit.

    I figure since I am going for the challenge now I am only going to get Platinum which will be valid till next year only and I don’t have much oneworld travel planned for the rest of the year. Whereas I could just go for the Gold challenge and get status by the time I touch down in Lima and that status would be more useful at that time for intra-south america flights I have booked on LAN and also on the return flight.

    Something is better than nothing I guess

  26. Thanks for this great news! It’s really good to have it. But I wonder if this opens to non-US residents because I am Hong Kong-based. Would appreciated if you may help me to find it out.

  27. I have an upcoming long trip in J on BA (JFK-LHR-MAD-LHR-SFO) and am tempted to do a platinum challenge. I am also tempted to try and upgrade the LHR-SFO sector from J to F (on the A380) with Avios. Does anyone known if it would be possible to do the upgrade with Avios and then change my frequent flier number on the ticket to AA to facilitate the challenge?

  28. I did not know about the challenge and I already have 18K miles. Im a gold member and soon to have a 7K mile trip which will make me re earn gold and possibly another 36K miles trip.
    Can i call and sign up and use my current mileage for Platinum? That way I can have more miles for my next trips.

  29. Can anyone confirm if 4 AA segments are required during the challenge period or if that is only for requalification of status??

    Thanks!!

  30. Another data point – called on 6/14 for challenge, offered standard $240 90-day platinum for 12,500EQM, starting a day before my next flight date (end of June). Asked for exec platinum challenge (I flew almost half million miles on AA in 2012-2014), couldn’t do it. The rep did offer immediate gold status till the end of challenge when asked. Very easy two minute call, rep was friendly and helpful.

  31. Lucky, is there a way to reuse the Miles ALREADY added to Finnair program? I took a Flight 2 days ago and added to My Finnair loyalty program. After some research i have decided to switch to AAdvantage. As it was a transatlantic business class flight I could get fast track qualifications done with it.
    Obviously I would not count them twice, just “cancel” the finnair ones if possible
    Thanks

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