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TPG reader Alex sent me a message on Facebook to ask about AAdvantage elite status:
“If my address is not in the US, do I still need to meet American’s EQD requirements to earn status in 2017?”
After holding its ground for several years, American Airlines recently announced that it will follow Delta and United by adding a revenue component to elite qualification. Starting in 2017, frequent flyers will need to meet annual spending thresholds in order to earn AAdvantage status — anywhere from $3,000 for Gold to $12,000 for Executive Platinum. While those amounts are roughly in line with the other airlines, the requirements may be a bit more stringent overall, as American hasn’t specified any opportunities to avoid them.
Both Delta and United waive revenue requirements for members who are registered at an address outside the US. You can also circumvent those requirements by spending $25,000 on a co-branded credit card (though that doesn’t apply to top-tier Premier 1K status on United). Unfortunately, American isn’t following suit — at least not yet. Based on the current plan, Elite Qualifying Dollar (EQD) requirements will apply to all AAdvantage members regardless of location, and credit card spending won’t be a factor.
American did announce that it will no longer require you to fly four segments on its own metal in order to earn elite status; that could make qualifying a little easier for those who live abroad and mostly travel on Oneworld or other partners. It’s also worth noting that American hasn’t explicitly stated that waivers won’t be offered. In fact, a waiver is under consideration for spending on AAdvantage credit cards, so there’s a chance the new policies will be amended as the airline processes feedback from members.
We still have more than six months until the new system goes into effect. I wouldn’t be surprised to see changes made in that time, and I also won’t be surprised if American tweaks its formula in 2017 (much like Delta and United did after introducing their own revenue requirements).
For more on revenue requirements and the recent changes to the AAdvantage program, check out these posts:
- American Airlines Announces 2016 AAdvantage Program Changes
- Earning Elite and Award Miles with American, Delta and United
- How Revenue-Based Mileage Earning Affects Leisure Travelers
- Will I Earn Elite Qualifying Dollars for My Entire Fare?