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American is making more changes to its elite status program. This time, it’s the elite status match challenge options that are being altered.

The changes — which were first reported on Flyertalk and confirmed to TPG by an AA agent — are for both Gold and Platinum level challenges. Effective immediately, in addition to the usual Elite Qualifying Miles requirement, you will now need to also meet an Elite Qualifying Dollars metric. However, you will also have the option to qualify via Elite Qualifying Segments instead of miles.

Here are the new requirements for Gold and Platinum challenges:

Gold Platinum
Elite Qualifying Miles (EQM) 7,000 12,500
Elite Qualifying Segments (EQS) 8 16
Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQD) $1,000 $2,000

Note that in this chart, the EQM and EQS requirements are either/or — you do not have to reach both of them. On the other hand, the EQDs are required in either case.

But fortunately the news is not all bad. In the past AA did not give you status during the 90-day challenge period, but now if you’re challenging for Platinum status, you will have the option to pay an additional fee to have either Gold or Platinum status immediately.

The standard cost of the Platinum status challenge remains unchanged at $200, but if you want Gold status immediately, you can pay an additional $200 for a total of $400. If you want Platinum status immediately, it will cost an extra $300 for a total of $500.

This means you could effectively purchase three months worth of Gold or Platinum status, but that’s not likely to make sense for most folks. However, if you have a significant number of flights coming up on AA, it could be a good way to make those trips a bit more comfortable.

There have been a lot of changes to the American elite program for 2017, so before you make any decision to challenge for status, make sure to read “Everything You Need to Know About American’s 2017 Elite Status Spend Requirements.”

Having to meet a spend requirement for a status challenge is far from ideal — and not required by either Delta or United for their own challenge programs — but at least it’s slightly mitigated with the new option to get status up front.

H/T: xJonNYC on Twitter, danbrew at Flyertalk

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