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Earning American Elite Qualifying Miles Through Spending

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Apart from the occasional 100,000-mile sign-up bonuses it offers, one of the best benefits my Citi Executive / AAdvantage World Elite MasterCard offers is the ability to earn 10,000 AAdvantage elite-qualifying miles every calendar year I spend $40,000 in purchases on it. That benefit alone makes it one of the best credit cards for earning airline elite-status-qualifying miles, and a crucial pillar in my American elite status strategy each year.

Well, I had some major expenses come up so far this year, including some taxes to pay, and I hit that $40,000 mark a bit faster than I expected! The good news is, Citi already emailed me to say that I had earned my 10,000 EQM’s, putting me another big step closer to requalifying for Executive Platinum status for 2016.

Citi Exec AA 10k eqms
I’ve already scored my 10,000 EQM’s thanks to spending this year.

However, my elite-status-qualifying spending spree wasn’t over yet. Barcylaycard targeted me as a high-value customer (thanks to credit card spending and elite status, I suspect) to receive the AAdvantage Aviator Silver World Elite MasterCard as a replacement for my now-defunct US Airways Premier World MasterCard. There is a more basic AAdvantage Aviator Red version many folks got an offer for as well, but I was targeted for the higher-end card Silver card.

More EQM’s

In addition to perks like 3x miles per $1 on American/US purchases and 2x on hotels and car rentals, a Global Entry application fee waiver, a mileage redemption refund, and an annual companion certificate, the Aviator Silver offers the opportunity to earn elite-qualifying miles through spending like the Citi Executive / AAdvantage card does. Only this card’s spending perk is slightly more flexible in that you can earn the EQM’s in batches of 5,000 for spending $20,000 then an additional $20,000. That is rather than having to spend the full $40,000 to get 10,000 EQM’s or risk not hitting it and getting nothing at all.

Well, as I mentioned, I have had a lot of expenses so far this year, and I actually hit the spending threshold on this card, too!

Screen shot 2015-04-08 at 4.08.57 PM

That puts me at 20,000 EQM’s – a fifth of the way toward requalifying for Executive Platinum status – without setting foot on a plane (though I have been flying American quite a lot this year so far again as well). Not only that, but as you might have noticed in the screenshot above, I have actually also gotten 10,000 miles refunded to me from award redemptions I have recently made.

That benefit is more in line with personal Citi AA cards like the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World MasterCard, which also offers a 10% mileage refund up to 10,000 miles per year on award redemptions. So the Aviator Silver is kind of like a hybrid of the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select and the Citi Executive / AAdvantage card.

The one major benefit that card carries that the Aviator Silver does not is Admirals Club membership, which I do not often use. The Aviator Silver also earns 3x miles per $1 on American Airlines purchases, beating the 2x offered by the Citi Executive / AAdvantage handily.

While I haven’t decided yet which credit cards to keep and which to cancel in 2015, I think I will probably end up holding onto the Citi Executive / AAdvantage card after all thanks to the club access, but more importantly, because of the opportunity to earn elite-qualifying miles through spending on it.

All in all, though, I’m thrilled with my new Silver Aviator benefits. Especially the elite-qualifying miles it has already earned me – allowing me to double dip on EQM-earning with the Citi Executive / AAdvantage I already carried – as well as the mileage redemption refund.

How do you leverage your spending to earn Elite Qualifying Miles with American?

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard®

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  • Earn 30,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after making $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening*
  • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to four companions traveling with you on the same reservation*
  • Enjoy Group 1 Boarding on American Airlines flights*
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases.1
  • Receive 25% savings on in-flight food and beverage purchases when you use your card on American Airlines flights*
  • Double AAdvantage® miles on eligible American Airlines purchases*
  • Earn 10% of your redeemed AAdvantage® miles back — up to 10,000 AAdvantage® miles each calendar year*
Intro APR Regular APR Annual Fee Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Rating
N/A 14.24% - 22.24%* (Variable) $95, waived for first 12 months* 0% Excellent/Good