American Airlines Double Elite Qualifying Miles Promo – Strategy Update

by on November 5, 2012 · 27 comments

in American, Elite Status

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As I wrote about on Friday, in light of its recent operational crisis, American Airlines decided to launch a promotion where elite AAdvantage members earn double EQM’s and points now through December 31. Originally I thought there was only this one promotion, but there’s in fact a separate one for current elite members that allows them to earn double AAdvantage miles during the entire promotion period- not just during November 16-26. The good news is that it’s the same promo code AATHX, but if you’re elite when you register, it will automatically give you the double miles.

The rules are similar to when they had a similar promotion last December/January (that allowed me to reach Executive Platinum by February of this year). As a reminder, they are:

  • Valid for all purchased tickets (read: not award tickets) on American Airlines, American Eagle and the American Connection® carrier marketed and operated flights from November 1, 2012, through December 31, 2012. Flights operated by our codeshare partners or oneworld alliance carriers are not eligible for this promotion.
  • Tavel booked prior to the start date of this promotion is eligible.
  • Offer is good on all segments flown- including one-way, round-trip, circle trip or trips including open jaws.
  • Registration prior to midnight CT December 31, 2012 is required and all travel in the promo period will be credited retroactively.
  • Bonus elite qualifying miles or points will count towards your 2013 membership year.
  • This offer does not increment the member’s prize eligible mileage balance or Million Miler status.
  • Double elite-qualifying miles and points will be calculated at 100% of the base miles or points earned, respectively.
  • The initial posting of double elite qualifying miles and points will be posted to the account of the traveling AAdvantage member within 3-4 weeks after qualifying activity posts to your account. Thereafter, the postings will occur weekly. However, even if the elite qualifying miles post in 2013, it will still count towards 2012 qualification- so only worry about when you flight takes place. Any flight that departs December 31 will count towards 2012 qualification.
  • Promotion does not apply to travel on mileage award tickets or fares that are ineligible for AAdvantage mileage accrual.
  • The elite tier you qualify for in 2012 will give you status until February 2014. 25,000 elite qualifying miles = Gold, 50,000 = Platinum, 100,000 = Executive Platinum

Just note, this likely won’t help people doing status challenges because American generally excludes promos, but I asked the American AAdvantage team about this and hope to get a definitive answer on it soon.

Points Versus Miles
Just as a little refresher, American Airlines calculates elite status based on miles, points and segments. Miles and segments are pretty straightforward – you get one elite-qualifying mile per mile flown, and one segment credit per segment you fly. Points are a little more complicated and are based on the fare class you purchase.

American’s rules for earning miles/points based on fare classes.

As you can see, the number of points you get depends on which class of service and which fare you buy. If you buy discount fares, like most of us do, you get either a half point or just one point per mile. If you buy premium fares like full-fare coach, business or first, you get 1.5 points per mile. It’s sort of like the class-of-service mileage bonus, only more lucrative for full-fare tickets in some cases. With this promo, you’re not only earning double EQM’s, but you’re earning double points as well. It won’t matter so much if you only usually fly discounted fares since you’re probably not near an elite level threshold anyway, but it’s good to have as a condition of this promo for travelers who have to fly on these expensive fares for various reasons.

Why This Matters
This is a huge opportunity to achieve an elite level that you’ve never historically been able to hit. I find AAdvantage Gold and Platinum to be rather lackluster (in comparison to United and Delta offering similar tiers complimentary domestic upgrades)- especially in comparison to the huge amount of benefits of Executive Platinum status. Executive Platinum includes a 100-hour upgrade window, a 100% elite mileage bonus on flown miles, waived ticketing and award charges and more, but by far the most valuable perk is the 8 systemwide upgrades I get that are valid until February 2014. The best thing about them is that you don’t even need to buy upgradeable or refundable fares like you would on United or Delta – you can buy the cheapest coach fare available and upgrade to business class, even on international flights.

Elite Rewards
Even if you’ve already achieved your elite level goal for this year and you won’t have enough flight miles during this promo period to get you to the next level, remember that American Airlines has “elite rewards” where you basically get to pick a gift if you hit a certain elite qualifying point threshold above your elite qualification threshold. You can find all the choices here, but take a look at this screenshot for the full rundown:

As you can see, there are choices like bonus award miles, upgrades, Admirals Club passes and membership and more. So let’s say you’re a Platinum who just hit your 50,000-point requirement. You’d just need to fly 12,500 more miles on eligible fares to hit that 75,000-point threshold for the elite rewards, and you could then choose an additional 25,000 miles as your gift. In all, for flying 12,500 miles you’d end up with 25,000 EQM’s with this promo, and 62,500 redeemable miles – 12,500 base miles, 12,500 from the double miles promo and 12,500 from your 100% elite miles bonus, then the additional 25,000 from elite rewards. Not bad. Just remember, that if you do qualify for these elite rewards, you must register by December 15, 2012, using the code ELTA2 (see the letter I received about it below).

My Personal Situation and Strategy
Due to American’s Double EQM promo at the end of 2011/beginning of 2012 and the Oneworld Megado in January, I am already at 114,383 EQM’s for 2012, but only 52,100 elite qualifying points (I fly mostly on cheap fares!). While I’d love to choose two elite perk benefits, it would cost me an arm and a leg to accrue nearly 75,000 EQP’s by the end of this year, so I’m not really going to go for it. Instead I’ll fly American when needed and be happy with getting the double miles – especially since I’ve already qualified for Delta Platinum for 2013 and I value American miles more than Delta miles (though I have to say the Delta flying experience is better- as I type this from the MIA Admirals club while sitting around during a 4.5 hour operAAtional delay!).

If you are thinking about going for elite status, check out my recent Sunday Reader Question about the topic of mileage running at this point in the year and read through my elite status series. I saw a huge line of people fruitlessly waiting at the rebooking center at Miami airport due to snarled travel plans last night and couldn’t help but feel sorry for them. As an elite member, I would have done it all on the dedicated elite phone line and saved myself the time and frustration of waiting in line as all the available rebooked seats disappeared before I could be helped (other Executive Platinums like myself would have snapped them up first!). While some may think that being “elite” isn’t what it used to be since there are now so many ways to get status, it still makes  travel a lot more enjoyable and manageable – and if that’s a goal of yours, there are plenty of ways to maximize American’s promos to get there.

I do not envy the elite status-less!

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • ashley

    If I fly business to Asia 17000 miles and need 48,000 EQM and 83k EQP for EXP, from what I understand I would earn only 34k EQM so the 1.5 bonus EQP will not really help me .I don’t get 1.5 EQM for business ?

  • David Guess

    Oh how I wish I could have made lifetime platinum before AA pulled the plug on all miles being posting to my account counting towards status.

  • Fábio Vilela

    If I fly Business Class to Asia and get 17,000 miles x 3 (100% exec + 100% bonus promotion + 25% business class). Should I be able to reach 55,000 elite qualifying Miles to maintain my Exec Platinum throughout 2014?

  • Ollie

    In terms of the AA operational crisis, what are your thoughts on buying American tickets for a vacation in March? I need to fly BOS>MIA and American is the only direct flight. I wonder if I should go Jetblue through FLL as a better-safe-than-sorry measure, but it’s less convenient in context of my logistics.

  • thepointsguy

    I wouldn’t worry about it- I’d book whatever is most convenient – it’s not really a “crisis” anymore

  • thepointsguy

    A 17k round trip would award 34k eqm with the DEQM. Not sure what your question is exactly about 55k? You’d have to do more flying

  • thepointsguy

    Correct- the 1.5 is on EQP- you can’t combine bonuses -they are separate measures of elite qualification

  • thiseye

    I have a flight Nov 22-28, and I don’t have elite status. I’m guessing I’ll only get double miles for half the trip?

  • Keith

    Hi thanks for the info and perspective. I am looking at booking a discount business fare to Madrid in December. Are Oneworld partners included in the DEQM/P? I will be close to EXP but from the UA 1K match (55K). Flying Iberia via ORD is convenient but I should I stay with AA to ensure EXP?

  • Fábio Vilela

    I´m Executive Platinum and I need 55,000 elite-qualifying miles or points until December 31, 2012, to extend my AAdvantage Executive Platinum status through February 28, 2014. Is it possible with this Asia trip?

  • Eric

    I have a flight from MAD to ORD to SFO. The MAD to ORD flight is code share with AA, but it is in an Iberia plane. The ORD to SFO flight is AA plane, so I know I will get the double miles on that flight – Do I have any chance of getting double miles on the MAD to ORD flight since it is code share with AA?

  • Sebastopol

    Any chance that United will match the double EQM promo

  • Ms2437

    The TOC says “Bonus elite qualifying miles or points will count towards your 2013 membership year.”
    Does that mean it will NOT apply to my current mileage balance? I’m considering a run to bump myself to Platinum status.

  • thepointsguy

    Its confusing.. but it means that you will get the EQMs now, which will count towards your 2013 qualification.. when you accrue EQMs in 2013, its actually counting towards 2014..

  • Ms2437

    Thanks for clearing that up!

  • CS

    Is the EQM only for those that already have Elite status?
    When I look at this page:

    I don’t see it specify you have to be. I was hoping to reach status with this promotion but now it may not be the case.

  • thepointsguy

    Double EQMs and points are for all. Double regular miles are just for elite members

  • CS

    Got it..
    My wife who is platinum had a line that said “ELITE MEMBER DOUBLE MILES”
    and I did not. Yet I didn’t notice either of us with the EQM yet but like it said 3 to 4 weeks.

    Will there be a line for that or will I just notice the “YTD Elite Qualifying Miles” total be increased by the correct amount? Anyone get them yet?

  • CS

    To clear this up.. the “ELITE MEMBER DOUBLE MILES” was for travel 11/9 and 11/12.

    Then for travel just made 11/21 is just comes up “DOUBLE MILES. DOUBLE THANK YOU”

    So the double miles over thanksgiving again was for all but the other time it is just for elite members.

    And not seeing the EQM posting to the account makes it even more confusing.

  • CS

    Does it really take 3 to 4 weeks to post?

    everything else always seams to post a few days after.

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  • Mpaw

    Awesome! Thank you for the tip. I think I just made platinum…

  • Mike

    American says they have “no record” of my registering for AATHX promotion, so no EQM!
    Anyone else have this problem? Any recommended solutions? I’ve spoken to two levels of supervisor at AAdvantage Desk and am told “there is nothing we can do.”
    Scheduled end of the year travel specifically to gain the 20,000 EQM I needed to reach ExPlat. Waited the three weeks American says it takes to post, called for update, told they have no record of my registration. Of course, the three week wait to call has put me past the Dec. 31st deadline. Had I called and pestered them earlier about their extremely slow postings, I would have discovered the “no record” problem and (re)registered before the deadline.

    Very frustrated by American’s “THANK YOU” promotion!
    Any advice?

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