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TPG reader Creighton sent me a message on Facebook to ask about airline elite benefits:
“I have Cathay Pacific Silver status, which earns me Oneworld Ruby status. Since AAdvantage Gold also corresponds to Oneworld Ruby, can I use my Cathay Pacific status to get AAdvantage Gold?”
Airline alliances can help you maximize travel by giving you access to rewards across a global network of carriers. You can earn miles and elite credits for flights on member airlines, and even receive some reciprocal elite benefits if you have status with an alliance partner. However, having elite status with one airline doesn’t entitle you to status with other airlines in the same alliance.
Each of the three major airline alliances offers its own version of elite status. You can qualify by earning status with a member airline, and your status level with that airline is what determines your status level with the alliance. For example, AAdvantage Gold, Platinum and Executive Platinum status translate to Oneworld Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald status, respectively.
Unfortunately, the status transfer doesn’t work in the other direction. That is, having Oneworld Ruby status doesn’t grant you AAdvantage Gold, it just gives you certain benefits (like preferred seating) when you fly on other Oneworld airlines. The same goes for Creighton’s status with Cathay Pacific; Silver status in Cathay’s Marco Polo Club qualifies you for Oneworld Ruby, so you’ll get low-level Oneworld benefits when flying on American Airlines. However, you won’t be able to leverage that into AAdvantage status — at least not directly.
If you want to earn AAdvantage status specifically, you could take a shortcut by initiating a status challenge. Your existing status with other airlines won’t really come into play; you’ll just have to complete a certain amount of travel over a set period (typically 7,000 elite miles over 90 days to earn AAdvantage Gold). American Airlines is less likely to offer a status match with no qualification requirements, but you could always call and ask.
For more on alliance status and other ways to earn elite benefits, check out these posts:
- How to Leverage Elite Status with Airline Alliances
- Airline Elite Status Match and Challenge Options for 2016
- How Does Star Alliance Gold Differ from United Premier Gold?
- How Do I Credit Miles to a Partner Airline Program?
Based on TPG’s most recent valuations, the 50,000 miles are worth $700. In addition, you can earn 10,000 Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) toward elite status after spending $40,000 in a calendar year. As of July 23, 2017 this is the only card that offers Admirals Club lounge access so if you are an AA flyer this card might make sense for you. Aside from lounge access the primary cardholder will receive a Global Entry application fee credit every 5 years, first checked bag free for up to 8 travel companions on domestic itineraries and a 25% discount on eligible in-flight purchases on American Airlines flights.
- Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening*
- Admirals Club® membership for you and guests with you*
- Complimentary Admirals Club® lounge access for authorized users
- Earn 10,000 AAdvantage® Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) after you spend $40,000 in purchases within the year*
- No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases*
- Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases and 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases*
- First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to eight companions traveling with you on the same reservation*