NEW: American Elite Qualifying Points Promotion

American AAdvantage has just announced a lucrative promotion for paid premium cabin travel, whereby they’re offering up to double elite qualifying points for paid premium travel through the end of the year.

Earn up to 3.0 elite qualifying points per flown mile


Through this promotion, AAdvantage is offering the following bonus elite qualifying points:

  • 2.0 EQPs for travel in R, D, A, I, and P fare classes (discounted first & business class)
  • 3.0 EQPs for travel in J and F fare classes (full fare first & business class)

This is in place of the usual 1.5 EQPs you earn for all of the above fare classes, meaning you’re earning an extra 0.5 EQPs for travel in discounted first or business class, or an extra 1.5 EQMs for travel in full fare first or business class.

The promotion is valid for travel through December 31, 2015, and is valid for flights marketed by American or US Airways, and for flights operated by American, US Airways, British Airways, Iberia, Finnair, Qantas or Japan Airlines. There’s no need to register, and the bonus will be applied to your account automatically.

It’s worth noting that the promotion isn’t retroactive, so is only valid for travel starting April 7, 2015.

American’s 777-300ER business class

American is already rewarding premium flyers more

Keep in mind that the above promotion is in addition to American’s other promotion which is valid for all of 2015, whereby they’re offering bonus redeemable miles for travel in paid first & business class, as follows:

Non-elite AAdvantage members

Non-elite Dividend Miles members
AAdvantage Gold & Platinum

Dividend Miles Silver, Gold, & Platinum
AAdvantage Executive Platinum

Dividend Miles Chairman’s Preferred
Medium and Short-haul flights less than 3,000 miles
Discounted Business Class Z*, I
Medium and Short-haul flights less than 3,000 miles
First / Business Class F, A, P, C, J, R, D
Long-haul flights greater than 3,000 miles and JFK-SFO/LAX
Discounted Business Class Z*, I
Long-haul flights greater than 3,000 miles and JFK-SFO/LAX
First / Business Class F, A, P, C, J, R, D

That means for all of 2015 you’ll be earning bonus elite qualifying points and bonus redeemable miles for travel in paid premium cabins.

This is a brilliant response to Delta SkyMiles and United MileagePlus, given that we’ve seen both airlines switch to revenue based frequent flyer programs in 2015, whereby they’re awarding redeemable miles based on revenue as opposed to miles flown.

By offering this promotion, American is competing quite well with the other two legacy carriers when it comes to paid premium travel.

What are elite qualifying points?

For those of you not familiar with how AAdvantage works, you can earn AAdvantage elite status through three methods:

  • elite qualifying miles
  • elite qualifying points
  • elite qualifying segments

What’s the difference between elite qualifying miles (EQMs) and elite qualifying points (EQPs)?

As an AAdvantage member, you earn one EQM per flown mile, regardless of the fare class. In other words, you can earn Executive Platinum status if you fly 100,000 miles, regardless of which fare class you fly in.

Meanwhile the number of EQPs you earn per flight varies based on the fare class you’re booked in. If you’re booked in a discounted fare class you might only earn 0.5 EQPs per flown mile, while if you’re in a more expensive fare class you earn up to 1.5 EQPs per flown mile (and through this promotion potentially even double as many).

That means through this promotion you can potentially earn Executive Platinum status for as few as ~34,000 flown miles.

Here’s the earnings chart:


No elite qualifying points for mistake fares?

Here’s something rather curious. Buried at the bottom of the terms & conditions of this promotion is the following:

Airline tickets issued as a result of airfare offered inadvertently or by mistake will not be eligible for elite-qualifying points.

I’ve never seen this verbiage in promotion terms in the past, so I’m guessing this has something to do with the recent ~$450 business class fares to Beijing.

This seems to not only suggest that mistake fares aren’t eligible for bonus elite qualifying points, but also that mistake fares aren’t eligible for elite qualifying points at all.

Anecdotally that doesn’t seem to be the case, though.


Bottom line

Kudos to American on this promotion. In many ways they’re giving frequent flyers the best of both worlds here.

Rather than having a revenue based frequent flyer program, American is continuing to reward those not traveling on full fare tickets with full mileage earning potential, while they’re also rewarding those on premium cabin tickets, who might otherwise come out ahead with a revenue based frequent flyer program.

What do you think of American’s promotion for bonus EQPs?


  1. Just a thought, does that mean this will apply to the 10,000EQPs needed for the Plat challenge? In other words, only 5000miles needed if you buy discounted premium fare

  2. What do you mean by “anecdotally…”? Are people reporting that the points have posted for the mistake fares? I’d like to get double EQP on my Beijing fare and have status right away.

  3. @Eric, in the past, there’s usually not much the airline can do to stop those points from posting be be claimed, and they usually do post. However it is well within the airline’s right to deny credit, close accounts etc.

  4. If you are booked into the A fare class using a system wide upgrade does this mean you will receive bonus points?

  5. Alex, the promotion is only for tickets marketed by AA/US. Plus, QR metal marketed by AA/US won’t be eligible either

  6. Too late. Already only 7,000 EQP from qualifying for another year of EXP. Will be shifting my earnings to other programs.

  7. Really annoying it’s not retroactive at all. I had two qualifying flights the last week of March. Maybe I’ll call and see if there’s anything they can do.

  8. I really do not like this trend of treating different Oneworld carriers differently. It does not bode well for the long term viability of the alliance.

  9. This is good news to me, I’ve been qualifying on points the last couple years. Disappointed though that it only applies to AA/US marketed flights, and not the rest of the OW partners. If they applied it to the other One World partners I’d be within striking distance of EXP, and probably go for it.

  10. I think the very reason of this promotion is to encourage people to buy tickets with AA/US. It wouldn’t really make sense for the promotion to be alliance wide since it’ll defeat the purpose and AA has no incentive to do that

  11. @ Ryan — It’s not really a trend, this has been going on for a long time. This is an airline specific promotion, which is nothing new. They’re allowing it for travel on their joint venture partners as well, which is sort of generous, in my opinion.

  12. @lucky- Do you think AA would code the PEK tickets going forward to not receive the EQM and miles as well or just these bonus (or any) EQP’s? People traveling on the PEK tickets have received proper EQM, EQP, and miles so far, but AA could always change that. They were able to cancel all of the held tickets, so I’m not sure receding would be so difficult. Thoughts?

  13. I’m flying Premium economy on Qantas in a few weeks—I guess there’s no love for that class? (too bad, since my tickets were 3x the price of economy…)

  14. @ Mark the Shark — I feel like they won’t actually deny EQPs and this is just intimidation. In theory they can do whatever they want. But I doubt they’d do that.

  15. I understand it is not valid for prior travel, but what about for travel booked prior to April 7 but occurring after April 7? Booked in March, flying in late April in discounted first.

  16. Note EQMs are not always 100% of miles you travel. Per this promotion JAL flights will be earning 2EQPs but if you flew a deep discount fare you’d earn only 30% EQMs

  17. I’m new to AAdvantage.

    I can’t seem to find AA marketed flights on BA I can buy on AA website if city of origin is not in the US? Example: LHR-JNB

    To get 2X EQP need to orginate from US?


  18. So if I fly BA, and it’s booked through BA in business class I won’t get the 2 EQP per mile, just the 1.5 normally? If I fly USAir, but book through BA would I get the 2 EQP?

  19. @ Valerie — If it’s marketed and operated by British Airways then it doesn’t qualify. And if it’s operated by US Airways but marketed by British Airways it still doesn’t qualify. No matter what it has to be marketed by American or US Airways.

  20. Ben,

    I have enrolled for the AA Platinum challenge and in the last two weeks have managed to get to 8,300 EQP. What is the cheapest way to get additional 1,700 EQPs? AA has an LAX-DFW flight for $131, but I will have to fly twice. First class LAX-SLC is $404.

  21. @ jediwho — You’re based in LA? How long do you have to complete it, and do you care more about doing it as quickly as possible, or doing it as cheaply as possible even if it includes a lot more flying?

  22. Yes, I am based in LA. Ideally, I would like to get the extra 1,700 EQPs for under $300. So, one flight or even multiple short flights would be great. I have September 16th as my deadline and so far have got 8,300 EQPs.

    I would have been already done with it had I paid more attention to fine prints on what fare gets you 1 EQP and what gets you 0.5 EQP. There are some AA flights DFW and MSY but don’t think they earn 1 EQP. Another option is to fly to SLC first class and be done with it, but the fare is just over $400. Thanks!

  23. Looks like I am at 6.500 and not 8,300 as I said previously. I called AA and they told me that for the platinum challenge, the 0.5 miles bonus I get for flying first is not counted. A total bummer!

  24. Lucky:
    Once again…its year end, and I’m needing some miles:) anxious to take advantage of the AA Promo… Would you suggest a couple of options for me to achieve 22k? I’m just south of 30k with AA, and need to maintain at least Platinum. I have the first 3 weeks of December to make the trek…. Maybe a long haul Asia trip in Full Fare Biz Class? Open to any suggestions!

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