Can I Leverage My Lifetime Gold Status On American Airlines With My US Airways Elite Qualifying Miles?

by on December 22, 2013 · 5 comments

in American, Sunday Reader Questions, US Airways, Video Blog Post

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TPG reader Jimmy messaged me on Facebook to ask about the American and US Airways merger and how it will affect his lifetime elite status:

“I’m an American Airlines Million Miler with Lifetime Gold status, with no miles flown on AA this year. However, I have 72,000 Elite Qualifying Miles on US Air (from flights, credit card elite points and US Airways Club promotions). Will I be able to combine my AA Gold Status with my 72,000 US Airways miles to achieve 97,000 Elite Qualifying Miles?”

Jimmy wants to know whether, with the merger of American Airlines and US Airways, he can now combine his lifetime Gold status on American, which is the 25,000-mile-per-year level, with his current US Airways elite-qualifying miles to get a higher status?

Wouldn’t that be nice! But unfortunately, lifetime elite status doesn’t actually credit you with the elite qualifying miles every year that would be equivalent to earning the lifetime status tier you have. It is simply an elevation in your status so you don’t have to requalify every year. It is based on your lifetime miles with the airline rather than your year-to-year elite qualifying activity.

So for instance, even if you have lifetime Platinum status on American, which is the 50,000-mile level, then you don’t need to just fly 50,000 miles in a year to get to Executive Platinum. Like everyone else, come January 1, you start from zero and work your whole way up – it is not actually elite qualifying miles in your account.

The American Airlines Million Miler Program.

The American Airlines Million Miler Program.

Lifetime status can be earned through the American Airlines Million Miler program, with the requirements and perks being:

  • At 1,000,000 Million Miler miles, AAdvantage members will receive lifetime AAdvantage Gold status and 35,000 AAdvantage bonus miles
  • At 2,000,000 Million Miler miles, AAdvantage members will receive lifetime AAdvantage Platinum status and 4 one-way systemwide upgrades
  • At each additional Million Miler mark, AAdvantage members will receive 4 additional one-way systemwide upgrades

Lifetime status you will continue to enjoy the rewards and recognition of that elite level regardless of your annual elite-qualifying activity – so Jimmy will continue getting Gold perks when he flies American despite not flying them enough to qualify for it as a regular flyer would this year.  However, this won’t allow him to jump to the next status faster, and the AAdvantage and Dividend miles programs are still completely separate for the moment, so you definitely won’t be able to leapfrog your US Airways status by leveraging your AA lifetime status.

So nice try, but unfortunately you will not be able to combine elite status from AA with current US Airways miles, or even with current AA miles, points or segments in order to get to a higher status level.

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  • Larry

    Brian — a related question. Do you think there will be a point in 2014 where EQM in both airlines are combined for status purposes or at a minimum where miles flown on one can be credited to the FF program of the other? I accumulate US status miles. I have some summer travel to book, and AA has better flights at a better price. I don’t want to be in a position where I end the year with 75k in US and 25k in AA and they don’t combine for status. I would assume that as soon as US joints OW, you should be able to credit flights on AA and, hopefully, AA flights to US, but I haven’t seen any confirmation. Any thoughts on these two related questions?

  • andrew

    2 other things he could do:
    1.) get another 3k miles on US to make US Platinum in the event that US/AA moves to a 4 tier system and to cover your bases for the increased number of elites. This would be a waste of an MR if US/AA sticks with the AA 3 tier system, since your current US Gold status would be equivalent to AA Platinum already.

    2.) Taking it to a further level, pay $1500 and buy up to Chairman if you plan on doing a lot of US/AA flying next year. Questionable whether you get the 8 SWUs once the programs combine, but at least if they make status reciprocal, you’ll be much higher up on the domestic upgrade list.

    I would probably go with #2 personally because $1500 to be at top tier on combined US/AA would be worth it to me (even on crappy US F), and the AA SWUs, if given, would be the cherry on top.

  • MediaAlert

    I think everyone is guessing and we the loyal customers are going to be in for a rude awakening

  • They want EFX

    I have had (and still have) Chairman’s status on USAir for years. 2 system upgrades for European travel, no Asia routes. I doubt they will give you 8 system wide upgrades like American did. At least you can buy premium economy on Cathay or BA, still a lot better than coach.

  • blinkingfool

    Are you gay? What straight dude uses a Mac?

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