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, where 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 Offers in 2013, 2014, and 2015.
Well, American is back this year with another buy up offer, though they’re not being as straightforward about the cost, as apparently the offers are more customized than in the past.
Buy up to AAdvantage status for 2017
American has been sending out emails about AAdvantage elite buy up offers for next year, though you cans also visit this site and log-in to see what kind of an offer is available for you, if any. This allows you to buy up to the next status level for this coming year, which would be valid through early 2018. Here are the FAQs regarding the buy up offer.
If you take advantage of 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
It’s my understanding that 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. In the past American has published the exact costs, but this year they’re not sharing that info.
So I figured I’d share what the costs have been to buy up to status in past years, for a bit of context (again, these are not the costs for 2017, as those aren’t published):
(The above screenshots are from a couple of years ago, 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?
This is something everyone has to decide for themselves, as there’s no universal advice. One thing is for sure — the trend is that elite status is getting less valuable by the year, so I’m more tempted than ever to just give up on elite status. Between cuts in benefits and the cost difference between economy and first class constantly shrinking, I’ve been wondering for a while why I even bother anymore.
Also keep in mind that American is introducing basic economy fares early next year, meaning that in many markets you’ll have to book a more expensive fare just to be able to have a shot at an upgrade.
While the prices aren’t being published this year, based on pricing in past years, this is an offer I’d only take advantage of as a last resort. With the value of elite status constantly decreasing, and the cost of maintaining it constantly increasing, there’s more merit than ever before to being a “free agent.”
Were you offered a buy up offer? If so, how many elite qualifying miles or segments are you from qualifying, and how much did they ask for?
Hopefully we can get some data points.