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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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