It’s normal for airlines to send out emails to elite members around the end or beginning of a year offering them to buy up to the next elite tier for a cost. However, American’s current Platinum Pro elite tier buy up offer is a bit unusual, and is leaving some members with a bad taste in their mouth.
American was already offering status buy up opportunities
In mid-November I first wrote about how American sent out emails to elite members giving them the opportunity to buy up to the next elite tier. While the prices weren’t officially published this time around, in the past you could typically buy up status if you were within 15,000 elite qualifying miles of the next elite tier. The cost varied based on which status you were going for, and how many elite qualifying miles away you were from earning it.
In general my advice is to only take advantage of such an offer as a last resort, because the cost per elite qualifying mile through such an offer is exorbitantly expensive.
American is introducing Platinum Pro this year
American is introducing a fourth status tier this year, called Platinum Pro. Platinum Pro is between Platinum and Executive Platinum, and requires 75,000 elite qualifying miles or 90 elite qualifying segments, plus 9,000 elite qualifying dollars.
The main benefits of this tier are that you earn eight miles per dollar spent, receive unlimited upgrades within markets eligible for 500 mile upgrades, and your upgrades start clearing 72 hours out.
However, American isn’t awarding Platinum Pro based on activity last year, but rather only based on activity in 2017.
Why American’s Platinum Pro buy up offer is different
With that out of the way, American is emailing people who earned AAdvantage Platinum status to give them the opportunity to “buy in” to Platinum Pro early. For example, reader David is dropping from Executive Platinum to Platinum this year, though would have qualified for Platinum Pro based on his 2016 activity, if the tier already existed.
So they’re not giving him the status he would have earned, but rather are giving him the opportunity to pay $899 to buy up to the status level early.
This leaves a bad taste in his mouth, and if I were in the same situation, I’d feel similarly. It’s one thing to let someone buy up to a status level they didn’t quite meet the criteria for, but in this case they’re letting people buy up to a status level that they really did qualify for, but just too early.
While elite buy up offers are nothing new, there’s something a bit different about letting people buy in “early” to a new elite level that they would have earned anyway. I can certainly see why a lot of people are unhappy about being asked to pay for a status they would have qualified for if it were active.
What do you guys think — is this like any other buy up offer, or is there something different about asking someone to pay for a status they would have otherwise earned?