How Quickly Do EQDs & EQMs From American’s Credit Card Post?

This is the first year where the American AAdvantage program has a revenue requirement. You need to spend a minimum of $3,000, $6,000, $9,000, or $12,000 to earn Gold, Platinum, Platinum Pro, and Executive Platinum, respectively.

GoldPlatinumPlatinum ProExecutive Platinum
25K EQMs or 30 EQSs50K EQMs or 60 EQSs75K EQMs or 90 EQSs100K EQMs or 120 EQSs
$3k EQDs$6k EQDs$9k EQDs$12k EQDs

American is also making it tough to get any sort of a waiver on the revenue requirement for status. For example, Delta SkyMiles completely waives the revenue requirement (even for earning top tier elite status), as long as you spend at least $25,000 per year on one of their co-brand credit cards.

Meanwhile American only lets you earn Elite Qualifying Dollars for spend on the Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Silver Card, which has a $195 annual fee. The card offers the following perks for incremental spend:

  • Up to 6,000 worth of elite qualifying dollars (3,000 when spending $25,000, and another 3,000 when spending another $25,000)
  • Up to 10,000 elite qualifying miles (5,000 when spending $20,000, and another 5,000 when spending another $20,000)
  • An annual $99 companion ticket on your account anniversary (when you spend $30,000 on purchases)

So as I wrote about in April, I decided to upgrade to the Aviator Silver Card (you can’t apply for it directly, but rather have to apply for the Aviator Red Card, and then have it for a year before you can upgrade).

I’ve just completed my first $5,000 of spend on the card, which earns me 3,000 EQDs and 5,000 EQMs. So, how quickly do these post? Do they post right away, do they wait a couple of billing cycles, do they post at the end of the year, or what?

Well, at least based on my experience, the bonus EQDs and EQMs post as soon as the statement closes where you complete your required spend.

Even with that boost to my account, my totals for the year look pathetic. We’re over halfway through the year, and I still need to earn 5,000 more EQDs and 65,000 more EQMs.

I’m simply not loyal to the program or the airline anymore. I now fly the airline that’s most convenient. For the first time in at least five years, less than half of my domestic travel has been on American.

So on one hand I’m over being loyal to them when it comes to flying, but at the same time I am putting some effort into requalifying in the form of credit card spend, so I know I’m not acting completely rationally. Since irrational consumer behavior is the goal of these loyalty programs, I guess I’m letting them win?

Comments

  1. You’re not being irrational. You’re equating your effort to the actual value you see in the program. Going out of your way to actually *fly* American is very costly if there’s another airline that’s offering better service for your flight plans — it’s a real pain to, say, take an extra connection or fly at a less convenient time or pay more for your ticket to fly American versus another airline. So you’re not taking that costly step.

    But with credit card spend, presumably you’re not spending money you otherwise would not have spent. You’re just moving some of your spend to the Aviator card that otherwise would have been on some other card. The “opportunity cost” is much lower in that context: You’re not paying more money for your tickets or taking on additional inconvenience. You’re just giving up whatever incremental points you otherwise would have earned with a different card. And presumably that–much smaller–cost is worth it for improving your elite status with American.

    This stragegy makes perfect sense when you’re not sure whether you want to reqqualify or not. Essentially this is a testing year to see how much of your flying “naturally” would be on AA if you didn’t go out of your way to suffer more inconvenience to always fly with them. But at least until you know the results of that experiment it makes sense to take low-cost steps like credit card spending to position yourself for a higher status at the end of the year if you can. Even if you learn at the end of the year that flying AA is not worth it because only a small amount of your flying naturally would occur with them, you can at least have a soft landing — maybe Exec Plat to Plat, rather than Exec Plat to Gold.

  2. I have the Aviator Red and am closing in on $25,000 spend YTD on it (which I understand gets me 3,000 EQDs under my card’s benefits)
    If I upgrade to the Aviator Silver, will the $20,000+ that I have spent YTD count towards the minimum spends detailed above or do I start over at $0 once I get the Silver?
    If so, it makes sense, as I basically score 5000 EQMs right away (which would be very helpful) for the additional annual fee.
    If not, it sounds like a TERRIBLE idea to upgrade my card mid-year.

  3. As someone who never gets the chance to fly AA due to being in IAH, I still think having three tiers all named platinum is absolutely nuts. The fact that gold is everyone else’s soldier is dumb too.

  4. For my situation I have no issues with EQD under the new rules but the scarcity of award and upgrade space has me avoiding AA credit card spending as the value is better on other cards.

  5. Outside of earning OWE, I really don’t see the point of status with American. The upgrade lists for transcons routinely get >20 pax long with ExPlats and even Concierge Keys not scoring the upgrade. If you live in a smaller market or fly segments like DFW-LAX, F cabin fares are reasonably priced these days. Certainly at worst equal to the amount of spend you’d need for EQDs or EQMs to hit status.

    AAdvantage is almost worthless now.

  6. After 3 years EP. I will just do Plat this year. Cutting from 8 to 4 SWU makes this AA EXP no longer worth it.
    Award space is so rare now. Earn. Burn. Get Plat. Bye AAdvantage

  7. Do you know if you can receive EQMs and/or EQDs from BOTH the AAdvantage Aviator Silver Mastercard from BarclayCard and the Citi Executive Mastercard? My father has both and is wondering if he will receive the bonuses from both cards in the same year.

  8. I still am loyal to AA primarily because I live on the east coast and the other options are not any better. DL arguably runs a better operation, at least when their computers aren’t crashing, but SkyMiles is a totally worthless program. DL does not value loyalty, so they don’t get it from me. As for UA, they’re still a work in progress so i avoid them too. As an EXP member I almost always get upgraded and I’ve been pretty lucky at finding last minute saver award space too. Last month I needed to get a last minute ticket between BOS-MDT. The revenue ticket was over $800. Using miles AA wanted 7500 miles; DL wanted a whopping 62,500 (that’s not a typo) for the same one way domestic journey.

    Flying AA is not always the most convenient, or pleasant, option. But it works for me and my unique situation so they get the vast majority of my business.

  9. @ Ben — You say you can only earn EQD via Silver card. I believe the Red card also allows you to earn EQD. No?

  10. Just like Gregg, AA is just convenient for me because I live in MIA and can get pretty much anywhere with just one connection. I’ve been tempted to check out DL or UA but Im having pretty good luck as an EXP with upgrades pretty much every time I fly.

    As a travel blogger I do fly other airlines but my loyalty remains with AA.

  11. The only way to play the “game” as “winner” is to play it as a top elite in a FF and a hotel loyalty programs, year after year.

    Having been slow this year in getting up to speed toward requalifying for UA 1K — I am right now at 28,940 of 100,000 PQM, $3,124 of $12,000 PQD, and just 11 of 120PQS — I just made up for it by booking enough trips between now and December 15 to net me at least 106K PQM and $13K PQD, and another year as UA 1K. Ditto for my HH Diamond status since my FF and hotel elite requalifications go hand in hand, as they both depend on how much I travel, which has not been very much so far. That’s about to change with a quick MR to LIM in early August and then this back-to-back TPAC/TATL trip in September:
    EWR-SFO-KIX-SFO-EWR – (2hr layover) – EWR-LHR-BRU-EWR

    Lastly, a paid premium ticket to do LGA-ORD-NRT-SIN as part of my Year-end Asian Escapade(tm), which will kick off on December 15, will get me over the last PQM and PQD hump to 1K.

  12. @ Ben — I realize that it wasn’t the point of your post, but you just sold one upgrade of my Aviator card to Silver! Now I can take some of my scheduled AA flights and credit them to Alaska to requalify for MVP Gold 75k. I can’t imagine being able to requalify for AS 75k next year with the end of the DL and AA partnerships, but anything is possible…

    @ Craig — I asked the agent when I upgraded my card 45 minutes ago if my YTD Red Aviator spend would count towards my new Silver Aviator card, and I was told yes. I was told that on the last day of my current billing cycle, all YTD spending will retroactively (to Jan 1 2017) be “recharacterized” as Silver spending.

  13. @Craig: I confirm what Gene says, they told the same to me, and actually after upgrading the card, under the benefits I see that I reached the threshold to get the EQM. Not yet posted to my AA account, hopefully they will when next statement closes

    @Gene: Yes, also Red gets the EQD, not EQM

    @Sam: Yes you can get 10k EQM when spending 40k a year with the Citi AA Executive ($450 annual fee) in addition to whatever you can get with the Aviator card spending. No EQD with that card

  14. I just for my Silver Aviator upgrade email, and it does not mention EQD earning as a benefit, but does list EQM earning as a benefit. Very strange…

  15. FYI: i spent over 25k many months ago, and never received 3k EQD
    and now they dont advertise this benefit. feels like they are trying to cut this benefit out, which is the only reason i signed up.

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