American Is Letting You Pay To Secure Elite Status For 2017

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.

elite-status

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):

American-Boost-Status-2

American-Boost-Status-3

American-Boost-Status-4

(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.

Bottom line

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.

Comments

  1. A friend of mine is ~500 miles within hitting gold and AA wants her to pay $499 for the privilege of a worthless status.

  2. I’m considering just getting BA Gold next year. I have EXP, which helps with lounge access and priority, but otherwise upgrades are going to get harder anyway.

  3. I’m currently a mere AAdvantage Gold and it’s a been a thin travel year: 15,700 EQM and 14 EQS.

    I can extend my Gold Status for $499.00.

  4. I am currently an AAdvantage Gold, with the possibility to buy to AAdvantage Gold. I currently have about 22,000 EQMs, butI will requalify, so I won’t be doing it. Anyway, American sent me an email saying I could buy up for $499, despite the fact I only need 3,000 more miles

  5. DP – Girlfriend is Gold with 21k miles so far, got an email offer yesterday to keep Gold for $399. I’m EXP, 88k miles, no offer received yet.

  6. Currently EXP with 99,268 EQMs and ~35k of travel booked before the end of the year. Offer was $1,799 to renew EXP. hahahaha

  7. I’ll hit Gold for the year after I fly for Thanksgiving next week yet AA was trying to sell it to me for $399 or Platinum for $1299 (will end the year around 31 segments and 30,000 EQM).

    I was Platinum this past year and honestly based on the delta between Gold and Platinum in RDM earning it seems like there’s very little difference between the two tiers at this point. I feel like the $0.015 value per mile x the 2 additional RDM would be almost impossible to ever be worth it at $1299. The only quantifiable benefits was being able to get MCE at purchase and JAL/Cathay/BA/etc lounge access for my international trips (I have Admirals and Priority Pass via Prestige so this benefit is mitigated) and some other small OW Sapphire benefits.

  8. Just Got This…..Extend your elite status for $799
    Your American Airlines AAdvantage® Gold status expires on February 28, 2017. Here’s a limited-time opportunity to extend it for $799.

    Don’t lose exceptional benefits like upgrades, free checked bags and much more. See all the benefits »

    Act now to extend your status through January 2018.

  9. I am old enough to have gotten platinum for life years ago when they basically were giving it away (i am exec plat now but don’t keep that up every year, some years I would not even quality for plat).

    back then i didn’t think that plat for life was worth a few hundred dollars a year, at least according to AA! the main thing plat is useful for is access to lounges internationally.

    i agree with Ben that i would not pay hundreds of dollars for the status, not worth it.

  10. Status on AA is worth it purely on a case by case basis. If you’re flying hub to hub or transcon frequently, forget it. Even with EXP, you’re batting under .500 in terms of upgrade chances.

    That said, if you do routes like DFW-LAX, JFK-AUS, RDU-MIA (these are the segments I have the most personal experience on) you have a high probability of sticker upgrades going through if you book early; even if you’re a Gold.

    YMMV but I would crunch the numbers (sticker costs, potential F fares, etc) before pulling the trigger on any of these offers.

  11. My wife got an offer to extend Platnium status for $750. She is short by about 3k EQM. Will be able to earn it with a same day return trip PHL-LAS for $187.

  12. 24,135 EQM and 22 segments this year and they want me to pay $499. LOL! I could, you know, take a R/T literally anywhere and qualify (which I am).

  13. There might have been a time a few years ago when these buy-ins would have made sense. In a lot of cases, much cheaper than a mileage run (especially for people like me who have a day job) and the benefits of status were measureable. I’m at 88K with 26K travel booked and paid for by the year and I got the offer. Odd that they would send me this offer.

  14. I am currently Platinum and was at 23,711 EQMs a few days ago when they sent me the following offer: $399 for Gold and $1299 for Platinum. But I literally just qualified for Gold yesterday after my last flight, so I wrote them to see if they can extend me a new offer – which I doubt, since I’m now at 26,068 EQM so I’m quite far to reach Platinum. And even if they do it probably won’t be worth it.

  15. I’ve actually been pretty happy with AA Plat. I’ll be sad to see it go in Feb, but not sad enough to pay the $1299 to keep it.

    I’ll keep my eyes open though for a cheap AA marketed trip to SE Asia in Late December…

  16. My plan is to make Gold for next year and then credit next year’s flights and do a status match to Alaska that goes into the following year. There’s no way I’m going to make AA Gold with EQDs next year, and I pretty much only fly Alaska and AA, so buh bye AAdvantage!

    Also, if you’re less than 5k from Gold, it may just be better to do a mileage run instead. There are some crazy good deals in December. I’m flying DC-MIA for $162 mid-December. I also just booked my ticket home in first for the double miles to get safely to Gold for about $150 more than what it normally costs. I was going to wait since I don’t know my return date, but figured I’d snag that now in case it’s significantly cheaper to come back on another airline.

  17. I got an obscene offer today to extend my executive platinum status for 1,299. Although I’ve already hit executive platinum three days ago. Yeah what a deal!!! Lol

  18. 3,051 EQMs (though I’ve had status every year except one since 2006) – $799 to maintain Gold for next year. No thanks. AAdvantage Gold frankly isn’t worth the plastic card it’s written on.

  19. Currently have 87k+ EQMs, with more than 13k in EQMs currently ticketed for travel before 1/1. Got an offer to upgrade to EXP for $2,799. What a joke! They know I’ll hit EXP with travel I’ve already booked/ticketed!

  20. No status, 12’147 EQM / 4 Segments. My offer for Gold is $649.

    If I really were interested in status, I could have gotten Platinum through the challenge for a mere 353 EQMs more + $200 cash (or Gold for those EQMs I have + $100 cash). Are they kidding?

  21. Currently AA Platinum, with 23,275 EQM year-to-date, and enough booked to push me just past the 25k threshold.

    My offer was $499 to renew Gold or $1,479 to renew Platinum.

    I enjoy the Sapphire benefits when flying internationally, and the complimentary MCE is nice for all the domestic business travel I do (then again, almost all of the US Airways fleet still is lacking MCE). Just not sure I enjoy them enough to justify $1,500…

  22. Currently EXP with only 23,000 EQM.

    Was offered $499 for Gold and $1,479 for Platinum. No offer was made to retain EXP.

    Swapped to BAEC earlier in the year. Currently Gold and on track to make GGL. Aadvantage’s offer is unattractive and not required. Reduction of SWU and uncertainly with introduction of a Premium Economy cabin killed it for me.

  23. I generally believe there are very few people for whom Gold or Platinum really carry any benefits worth paying for if you’re not worth flying that much anyway.

    At Exec Plat at least you have unlimited non-sticker upgrades but as Gold or Platinum, you’re not flying enough to earn that many stickers anyway so you’re going to pay first to get Gold or Platinum and then pay to buy the stickers? That’s a bum deal since you’re still playing the UG lottery.

    I think as the pricing differential between F and Y remains minimal on domestic routes you’ll see a lot of people purchasing F making it continually harder for anyone to get UGs.

    Also remember that in 2017 there will be trailing 12 month EQD prioritization so if you “bought up” to Gold or Platinum, you can forget getting upgraded on most routes.

  24. 1.7k EQMs away from requalifying for Platinum, and already have a trip booked for December that will push me past the threshold. Got the offer from AA yesterday offering Platinum next year for $699.

  25. I got a upgrade offer to Platinum status for $799 but I only need a short RT from Austin to get the 1,318 eqm I need. That said, I don’t really see the point. Platinum never seems to get much.

  26. I was offered gold for $749 and Platinum for $1479. I flew ZERO revenue miles-only reward flights. NOT. I also have 12 x500-mile upgrades. Are these transferrable? They r more hassle that the usefulness.

  27. Are there any reports of Platinum Pro (god-awful name) upgrade ops? I’m closer to that than EXP (already have platinum for 2017) but i haven’t seen anything reported.

  28. I am gold for life and platinum until Feb of next year. If I start as gold, why can’t I earn platinum by doing the incremental difference in miles/segments (not starting from zero)?

  29. Currently platinum with 42k eqm. Offered 999 to maintain plt. Living outside the US but maybe about 2 trips there a year.
    Lots of travel on oneworld partners though.

  30. I’m with you Lucky I just qualified for Lifetime platinum on American, after being Executive Platinum for 10 years. I’m seeing the value in Ex Pl diminished so much that I am leaving my American status as EXPL (expires 2.2018) I asked for a status match at Alaska last week and I’m sure I will get it. I don’t get the upgrades as often on American since the merger and the bonus mileage reduction with the new program just isn’t worth the effort to try to hit a 125 k. I have started paying for business or first.

  31. A few years ago before the merger I bought up to the top tier with USAirways. I was upgraded once in all the flights that I took. I fly out of PHL and USAirways’ response to me was that they have many people of that tier in the PHL market. The only value to me was being upgraded: since it did not happen it was a waste of over $1,000+. Never again.

  32. Current Platinum, 103 Segments, offered buy up to EXP for $2499.

    Annoyed that I am not offered to maintain EXP since I am over 100 segments for the year.

  33. I think the best way to do this is the “Gold Challenge” and “Platinum Challenge” offers.

    Essentially, I went from nothing to Platinum for about $150 over the course of a month and a couple of pre-determined flights. Not sure if that will be an option next year, but that’s what worked for me and good through 2018.

  34. I am lifetime platinum member and had EXP status for a couple of years. I have 95, 900 miles today
    and deciding what to do. I have not heard from AA yet as to an offer to boost my status. after reading
    these comments , I am not sure it is worth it. we usually upgrade with miles or buy business class to
    europe and california. certainly not considering a flight tomorrow to make up the miles. I agree that
    the new system makes it harder to reach status and they no longer offer double miles on any flights.
    I think they will start to lose loyal customers. In a quandary now!!

  35. I’m currently Platinum with only 1,910 EQMs needed to re-qualify for next year. Offered to retain Platinum at $799. I’m not going to do it. Not worth it.

  36. I am about 4000 miles short of EXP. They are asking for $2500 for essentially 4 trans-atlantic upgrades (there is the offer of + 4 more, but I really can’t be bothered to read their fine print). It seems ridiculous to pay it when it generally costs about $300 for a single upgrade.

    I have been platinum for a couple of years, and I figure all their priveliges is probably worth about $200.

  37. I have paid ~$600 for Gold the past few years and have felt it is worth it. I fly AA about 6x per year and probably was upgraded on 4 legs, used the free checked bags a bunch of times and had the convenience of early boarding and seat selection. Not a bargain, but fair value IMO.

  38. Just received offer to upgrade to Platinum Pro for $899 from Platinum. I rarely receive upgrades (complementary or 500 segment) and don’t expect this wouldl not make any difference. I’ll pass.

  39. Just received offer to upgrade to Platinum Pro for $899 from Platinum. I rarely receive upgrades (complementary or 500 segment) and don’t expect this would make any difference. I’ll pass.

  40. Currently at EXP and earned 67K this past year (so I get downgraded to Platinum for next year). I just received an offer to Secure Platinum Pro for $1,449.

  41. Currently at Platinum, earned 60K EQMs/53 EQSs last year. Offered Platinum Pro for $1749. Jealous of Doug who got it for $899!!!! But my offer is sufficiently high that it SHOULD prevent me from making a dumb decision.

    I just long for the opportunity to NOT have to save up these 500-mile upgrades…I take so many flights that are like 1,192mi. *eye roll*

  42. I am Platinum and just received offer – $1449 for Pro, which comes with complimentary unlimited upgrades. I’m struggling with the idea that if I don’t take it, there is now a second tier above my status that will get priority on upgrades, and the 80% bonus is nice too. I do travel a lot for work, but that’s just a lot of money. There is so much detail in the offer I can’t figure out when it expires lol.

  43. I had over 77k EQM for 2016, platinum status, upgrade offer to platinum pro for $899. So I would have qualified for platinum pro if they had it last year, but have to pay now for the privilege. Since I’ll be platinum pro by the end of April with my current trips, paying $900 for 4 months of pro is not going to be worth it to me.

  44. I am currently PLatinum and was offered to “boost” to Platinum Pro for $1449. Not sure if i’ll do it.

  45. I earned 72,500 EQMs in 2016 and received an offer of Platinum Pro for $1099. Seems like a steep ask for only being 2,500 miles away from what the qualification level is for this year’s new status level.

  46. I’m gold, hit 32k miles and was offered Platinum for $899. Just seems like it’s not worth it from what I’ve been reading in this thread.

  47. My husband has been executive plantinum for 3 years (even getting the million mile certificates) and last year due to medical reasons couldn’t travel as much so he won’t qualify. He is now back to traveling and even has his flights booked for the next 4 months yet they will only allow him to purchase up to platinum. That’s horrible customer service, he was willing to pay and very loyal the past 5 years (we have even traveled different airlines to the same place he was so loyal) and their shitty response “nope to bad to sad” but oh take our 999.00 for platinum. They can shove it we went to Delta where they matched his executive platinum and he said the airline is actually much nicer! Thanks American for being so greedy it helped make his choice so much easier. To bad it’s not US Air any longer they were a much better airline until they bought them out.

  48. Flew 94,000 EQMs in 2016 and spent about $16,000 on those flights. I received an offer at the end of January giving me the opportunity to buy ‘down’ to Platinum Pro for $799 and buy up to EXP FOR $1,799. I’m deeply insulted at the Platinum Pro offer, since they’ve made that same offer to people with 75,000 miles. If they had made that same offer to those approaching EXP for a $200 “admin fee” I would have just jumped on it. For $799 I can get a round trip to Europe. The $1,799 EXP buy-up seems steep, particularly considering what I paid for the full year. Uh, that would be two or maybe three round trip tickets to Europe in the off season. It’s just Non-sensical.

  49. Been Plt for 5 years, twice offered buy up to PltPro this year at $1499, not worth it, already at Plt miles and will make Eplt miles this year but only just at Gold EQD’s so who knows. New system does not reward loyalty but revenue looking at status transfer to another program.

  50. I have 15,729 miles that qualify to elite status. I was just emailed an offer to upgrade to gold status for….$1789.00 USD. Umm, I chose not to do it…..

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