American Modifies Their Gold & Platinum Status Challenge For Better And Worse

For years American has offered a status challenge for Gold and Platinum status, which provided a fast track opportunity to earn status. You’d have to pay a certain amount and then earn a certain number of elite qualifying miles within a 90 day period in order to maintain that status beyond the challenge period. American has tweaked the requirements for these challenges several times over the years, including at the beginning of last year.

Well, it looks like American has once again tweaked their AAdvantage Gold & Platinum status challenge, and it’s both good and bad news. It’s good news because you have the possibility of receiving status upfront, while it’s bad news because there’s a revenue requirement, which reflects the direction of the 2017 AAdvantage program.

With these changes, there are now three options for the Platinum challenge, as follows:

  • The Platinum challenge with no bump in status during the challenge costs $200
  • The Platinum challenge with Gold status during the challenge costs $400
  • The Platinum challenge with Platinum status during the challenge costs $500

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So the change is that you can now pay an extra $200 or $300 to have Gold or Platinum status during your Platinum challenge, while previously you’d only get the status upon completing the challenge. Nothing is being taken away in that regard, as you can continue to pay $200 for the Platinum challenge, without getting the status upfront.

However, there’s also some bad news. You now need to earn 12,500 elite qualifying miles or 16 elite qualifying segments, plus 2,000 elite qualifying dollars during the challenge period to qualify. Before there was no revenue requirement, while now you need to earn a certain number of elite qualifying dollars to complete the challenge.

Ordinarily Platinum status requires 6,000 elite qualifying dollars per year, so you’re having to earn a third of the required annual elite qualifying dollars during a quarter of the year.

The Gold challenge now requires 7,000 elite qualifying miles or eight elite qualifying segments, plus 1,000 elite qualifying dollars.

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As a point of comparison, while Delta and United also have revenue requirements, that’s not a metric required for successfully completing a challenge with them.

Bottom line

This change can be positive or negative, depending on how you look at it. On the plus side, you now have the option of paying for status upfront. Unfortunately there’s also now a revenue requirement, which is disproportionately high. While you only need to earn a quarter of a year’s worth of elite qualifying miles, you need to earn a third of a year’s worth of elite qualifying dollars.

(Tip of the hat to @xJonNYC)

Comments

  1. First they created EQDs, but I did not care, I’m EXP for the next year! Then they came and doubled the price of award tickets, but again, I did not care, I’m EXP with Systemwides. After hat they said ConciergeKey is now a status and ranked higher in everything. I did not care because I don’t know anyone who’s ConciergeKey!

    Last, they increased the price for the GOLD and PLAT status challenges. I turned to my elite status. And there was none. It had expired. (Badly written, improve if need be)

  2. The better way to status challenge is to get invited via a special promotion or a corporate challenge. I got two invites last year (one special and one corporate) – both gave status up front and required no payment . American will likely offer these challenges again in 2017 (though they will likely require EQD).

  3. FWIW, I was offered an American corporate challenge last year. The challenge gave me 12 500-mile upgrades and Platinum status while I aimed to complete the 12,500 miles required (I flew mostly Delta in 2016 beforehand). Upon completion of the challenge, I was offered 25,000 redeemable miles. I completed the challenge in late December and got the status through 2018 and the miles posted immediately. I would guess American will likely be offering Platinum, Platinum Pro and EXP challenges through the year again in 2017.

  4. @ Francis — Only for travel on American and their joint venture partners, which include British Airways, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, and Qantas Airways.

  5. for all the devalues & price hikes what is AA saying their improvements are? new planes (but small seats) & lounges?

  6. A status match to “just” Platinum, when there are two (three) higher levels above that ?
    Waste of time.

  7. The nail in the coffin for EXPs is when PEY becomes bookable and SWUs will only be allowed for a one class upgrade. Kiss the Y to J upgrades goodbye (it’s speculation on my part, but i’m pretty sure that’s the direction it’s going).

  8. Hi Lucky. Awesome page. Im addicted to it.

    So Im Gold status now. Will be flying within USA (FC) and then to Europe business class (Around 4000USD) and at least 25000 EQM (with the first/business class bonus). Could I just register in the challenge now despite having those trips paid and booked?

    If Yes, should I just call? Can it be done online?

    Thank you so much for all these tips.

  9. Question: If you are Gold for life, does the challenge start from no status or is the challenge incremental – gold to platinum?

  10. The only people chasing AA Elite status should either be hub dependent or obligated to fly AA on a corporate contract, anyone else willing to continue subjecting themselves to this abuse should seek counseling. The elite thing is over. Free upgrades are over. Loyalty is over. I fly 80% of my miles for work, so please don’t trot out that leisure vs. business nonsense unless your employer is forcing you to fly AA. Only reason to fly AA is if they have the best price or schedule for your route, or maybe if you are flying JFK-LAX in paid F. My EXP status ends in February, i could hardly care less. The past six months as a free agent has been glorious, and I am sitting in F as much as I did as a loyal AA customer.

  11. Your article doesn’t say what the time period one needs to finish the challenge, in fact, Gary’s article didn’t say it either. So does one need to finish this challenge in 3 or 6 months or longer?

  12. Any idea if they will offer a status challenge to Platinum Pro in 2017? If so, what will the mileage and $ requirements be?

  13. So, here’s an added “bonus” to the fine print. I’m currently Plat, but will go down to Gold at the end of February since I had to split my travel between AA and UA last year and didn’t want to pay the $900 to maintain Plat on AA. A better use of the $900 would be to pay the difference between what my company pays for coach tickets and pay for D class seats outright to get EQDs and the double EQM mileage bonus.

    Sadly, since my Plat status doesn’t expire until Feb 28th, NONE of my Jan/Feb travel (which I already have booked that exceeds the spend/mileage requirement) are eligible since I’m Plat through end of Feb, even though you have 90 days to sign up. They won’t even let you sign up for the Challenge until Mar 1st if you’re Plat (even if it’s expiring this year). Booo on you AA!!

    As an aside, I also had to correct the AAdvantage booking agent when she told me it was $400 for the challenge to maintain my Gold status during the period. It should only be $200 since I would be Gold based on last year’s status.

  14. Who does one need to talk to in AA to get the challenge?
    I called and they said they do not match to United gold.

  15. What a crock of crap. American Airlines now treats its’ long time customers like garbage. I was Gold for years never got anything, then became Platinum. Now They start a FOURTH tear, Platinum Pro? WTF? SO now as a Platinum I have to compete with TWO higher levels for upgrades? What bullshi*.

  16. @steve Presley,

    were you able to sign up for the challenge already and just have it start on a certain date?
    I am in the same situation with my status ending on Feb 28th, which happens to be the day I leave for a trip to the UK. I was trying to figure out if I could get that trip to count for the challenge since it would cover the full requirement in both dollars and distance.

  17. I am Gold – had three interactions with Agents. They all suggested I start the challenge a few days before my US-LHR-India trip. I took the $200 option since I already had seats booked for the trip. All three agents were very helpful, asked what flights I had booked and were in my corner to get the upgrade challenge to benefit me as much as possible.

    Last agent suggested I call back 10 days before the 90 day time period is up to see if I qualify for the Platinum Pro challenge that has not been announced yet – but the Agent expected it would soon.

  18. I enjoyed the discussions. I see this as another resource in my ongoing quest to improve my flying experiences. Thanks, Lucky

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