How Can I Get To American Airlines Executive Platinum Status With Points Other Than Just Traveling More?

by on November 10, 2013 · 17 comments

in American, Elite Status, Sunday Reader Questions, Video Blog Post

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TPG reader Tobey tweeted me @thepointsguy to ask:

“I have 70K American Airlines elite qualifying points and am currently AAdvantage Platinum and need advice on how to reach Executive Platinum this year, other than just traveling more. Can you help?”

It seems like Tobey is trying to get to Executive Platinum status through points, not miles, and he would need 100,000 points to qualify. AA lets you qualify for elite status on miles and segments, but also on points, which are based on the kinds of fares you purchase – the more expensive the fare class, the more points you earn from 0.5-1.5 points per mile flown. It is kind of a convoluted system, but those who qualify on points kind of have to go all out for it and fly more and pay the fares.

The tricky thing about AA is if you are qualifying on points, then your elite qualifying miles (EQM’s) and elite qualifying segments don’t help, so even if there is a double EQM promo – which I doubt there will be – then you won’t benefit.

American Airlines made an announcement today regarding changes to acquiring elite status.

American Airlines lets you qualify as an elite through points or miles.

Likewise, a credit card promo from Citi, such as the Citi Executive AAdvantage World Mastercard which will give you 10,000 elite qualifying miles per calendar year you spend $40,000, does not give you the equivalent points. However, that card is now offering a 60,000 mile bonus, which outweighs the $450 fee in my opinion, and could be a good way to rack up Elite Qualifying Miles if you can swing $40,000 in spend.

For those of you who aren’t aware, with American elite status is earned via miles, segments or elite qualification points earned on eligible fares purchased for travel on American Airlines, American Eagle and American Connection, as well as oneworld member airlines and their affiliates, Alaska Airlines (including Horizon Air), and American Airlines codeshare flights an AA-coded flight number is included on the ticket at the following levels:

Elite Status                           Miles/Points Required       Segments Required

Executive Platinum                 100,000                                        100

Platinum                                    50,000                                          60

Gold                                            25,000                                          30

So since the numbers you need are the same, initially it might look like elite-qualifying miles and elite-qualifying points are the same thing, but that in fact is not true at all.

Flyers earn elite-qualifying points for flights on American Airlines, American Eagle, American Connection and American Airlines marketed codeshare flights (info for other participants can be found at the links above) in the following ratios:

American's elite points system is a little convoluted.

American’s elite points system is a little convoluted.

So the higher the fare code or class of service you buy, the more elite-qualifying points you earn, ranging from 0.5-1.5 points per mile flown on deeply discounted economy tickets (like most of us buy) all the way up to 1.5 points per mile on full-fare economy, business and first class fares. For more information on miles vs. points, read my post here.

American did just announce that they will let some people who are close to elite status buy up to status or to requalify. As of January 2014 through May 31, 2014, you have two options if you fall short of the miles that you need.

  • Boost: If you end the year close to AAdvantage Executive Platinum, Platinum, or Gold status but don’t quite make it, you can boost to the next level.
  • Renew: If you are an elite status member in 2013 but aren’t able to retain your status by the end of the year, you are eligible for a status renewal.

Here is how the new program breaks down:

  • If you are 5,000 miles or 5 segments short of reaching Gold status, you can boost to the status for the cost of $399.  If you are you already Gold and are way off from retaining it and out of “boost” range, you can buy it back for $649. Gold normally requires 25,000 miles or 30 segments.
  • If you are up to 10,000 miles or 10 segments short of achieving Platinum, you can boost to the status for the cost of $899. If you are only 5,000 miles or 5 segments short of achieving Platinum, you can boost for $699. If you are you already Platinum and are way off from retaining it and out of “boost” range, you can buy it back for $1,199. Platinum normally requires 50,000 miles or 60 segments.
  • If you are up to 10,000 miles or 10 segments short of achieving Executive Platinum, you can boost to the status for the cost of $1,799. If you are only 5,000 miles or 5 segments short of achieving Platinum, you can boost for $1,199. Unfortunately there is not a renewal option for Executive Platinum, which usually requires 100,000 miles or 100 segments.

Unfortunately the bottom line is you will have to fly more to reach the next level with points, or look into buying a “boost” as detailed above if you’re withing the mileage/segment thresholds. I hope this helps!

For more information on American Airlines Elite Status, read my prior posts below:

American Airlines Discontinuing Soft Landings For AAdvantage Members

Airline Status Match And Challenge Information For 2013

American Airlines Qualifying For Status With Elite Qualifying Points

American Announces New Options For Elites to Pay For Requalification

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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  • skwok

    Often, international fares on BA are 1 EQP/mile. You would need to check your fare code and make sure. I flew JFK-LHR-JNB earlier in the year on a discount fare (I think it was K), but it was earning 1 EQP. 5CPM and also 5 CP-point. Nice way to earn about 18k points.

    If you can find a good fare on BA (most likely connecting through LHR to somewhere else), it could be an option for points running.

    Also, there are a few domestic routes on AA that cents per point is not bad. You would need to find business class fares and they earn 1.5 points/mile so less time flying at least. Search on flyertalk mileage run discussions to find ideas as many others are in the same boat this time of year.

  • Martin

    Just pointing out TPG, your link to ‘American Airlines Discontinuing Soft Landings For AAdvantage Members’ is actually a link to ‘Maximizing Gilt Purchases With Insider Rewards with Airline & Hotel Bonuses’

  • Martin

    Another quick question: If I book a hotel vie do I earn hotel points for it?

  • thepointsguy

    Generally no

  • Martin

    Ok thanks! I appreciate you answer my questions! :)

  • TravelNut

    I wish more posts were about how to get miles etc without whoring yourself into credit card roulette.

  • Allen

    On a slightly related note, redeeming AA miles on BA might get better. There is a great thread going on Flyer Talk about a class action lawsuit against BA for bogus YQ charges. Maybe I’ll start bulking up on AA miles and flights now. As a lifetime platinum I never worry about qualifying for status, but it would be nice to redeem on BA again.

  • Earl

    Maybe you’ve already done a post on this in the past, but are the “boost” payments worth the cost? I rarely get anything with my AA gold status, so I’m thinking it’s not worth it to buy up this year.

  • Susakajo

    My husband and I are both Platinum for Life (which lets me shift my AA mileage credit to get Alaska MVP Gold) but my husband has been Exec Plat for the past 10 years. He is going crazy that he may not have enough miles this year without the double qualifying miles offer that AA had some other years. (That usually results in a treat of a last minute pre-Christmas weekend away to wherever the # of miles is required to make the points – Prague, Bangkok, etc). The VIP upgrades for overseas travel and other perks of ExecPlat are well worth it. Praying for that double qual event…

  • James

    I fly Business or Full-fare economy. Does that mean I would need to fly 67,000 miles on AA in one calendar year to earn Executive Platinum?

  • ocscorpio

    What did you mean by the Citi AA Exec card giving a 60k bonus? Were you referring to the sign-up bonus? I assume those aren’t elite-qualifying.

    I’m a MM with AA and have about 1.6m lifetime points that counted towards my MM status before they shutdown the program where your Exec card purchase counted towards MM status. I’m content with lifetime Gold status but would love to figure out a way to fast track the remaining 400k for my second million. With all the points I have across multiple programs, I almost never pay for airfare, so is there any other way you know of to get MM qualifying points with AA?

  • Kalboz

    You can earn 10K AA EQMs as a calendar year spending bonus when you spend $40K or more on the Citi AA Exec card in a year.

  • Kalboz
  • ocscorpio

    Thanks. I knew about the 10k, but wasn’t sure what TPG meant about the 60k bonus. I’m guessing that’s just a signup bonus. Do you know if the 10k EQM counts toward MM status?

  • DPOGdalgirl

    where on is this “Boost or Renew” program – do you just call to take advantage?

  • Tim

    I’m 4000 points short of Platinum status. If I buy 4000 American airlines miles will I get 4000 points as well?

  • 7duh

    What’s the difference between Citi AA Executive Platinum card and Advantage Executive Platinum flyer?

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