This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

TPG reader Al sent me a message on Facebook asking:

“US Airways just quietly posted their revised buy-up to elite program, which is pretty close if not identical to American’s boost program. Do you think it’s worth it to buy up for higher elite status?”

It’s December, which means it’s crunch time for elite status. Deciding whether to buy up to elite status really depends on your needs. It’s definitely not cheap; buying up to Executive Platinum status on American costs almost $2,500, and that’s if you’re just 15,000 miles Elite Qualifying Miles short. That’s a substantial expense.

However, I think Executive Platinum status is the most valuable elite status on there. You get eight systemwide upgrades on any fare class with no specific surcharges. I find Executive Platinum to be worth at least $4,000, so in a worst case scenario, I think buying up to Executive Platinum is worthwhile. The difference between Executive at 50,000 miles and Executive Platinum is huge, especially since AA confirmed that going forward, the program will only have three levels of status.

The elite status hamster wheel...but is the status always worth the chasing (and the $$)? Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.
The elite status hamster wheel: is it worth the chase? Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

That being said, it’s much cheaper to mileage run. These rates are almost 20 cents per mile, so if you can, try to take a mileage run–go to London for a weekend, or even Asia (and use any of those systemwide upgrades that you have). After all, it’s crunch time and you gotta do what you gotta do!

In conclusion, I wouldn’t recommend shelling out cash for the other elite tiers, but for Executive Platinum it could be justifiable if you’ll maximize the upgrades and travel enough to get value of the great customer service AA gives to its Executive Platinum members. Try to do it the cheaper (and harder) way by mileage running first, and if you don’t have the time or prices are just as high, then it may make sense to buy up.

For more info, check out these posts:

If you have any other questions, please tweet me @thepointsguy, message me on Facebook, or send me an email at info@thepointsguy.com

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The American Express Platinum card has some of the best perks out there: cardholders enjoy the best domestic lounge access (Delta SkyClubs, Centurion Lounges, and Priority Pass), a $200 annual airline fee credit as well as up to $200 in Uber credits, and mid-tier elite status at SPG, Marriott, and Hilton. Combined with the 60,000 point welcome offer -- worth $1,140 based on TPG's valuations -- this card is a no-brainer for frequent travelers. Here are 5 reasons you should consider this card, as well as how you can figure out if the $550 annual fee makes sense for you.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
N/A
Annual Fee
$550
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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.