Will I Earn Elite Qualifying Dollars from AAdvantage Cards?
TPG reader Robert sent me a message on Facebook to ask about earning status with American Airlines:
“If I earn Elite Qualifying Dollars by spending on an AAdvantage Aviator card, and then also spend $3,000 on American Airlines flights, will that satisfy the $6,000 EQD requirement for Platinum status?”
Last summer, American Airlines announced that it would join Delta and United by adding a revenue component to its elite status requirements. That policy went into effect at the start of 2017, and those seeking AAdvantage status in 2017 will now need to spend anywhere from $3,000 to $12,000 on airfare to qualify each year. Fortunately, American has also followed suit by offering ways to circumvent those revenue requirements.
Like Delta and United, American allows frequent flyers to get around revenue requirements by spending on certain co-branded credit cards. Specifically, you can earn $3,000 EQDs by spending $25,000 in a calendar year on one of the AAdvantage Aviator cards, and you can earn an additional $3,000 EQDs (for a total of $6,000) by spending another $25,000 on the AAdvantage Aviator Silver card.
The major difference is that Delta and United simply waive the revenue requirements as a reward for credit card spending; they don't credit you with MQDs or PQDs, respectively. In contrast, American actually awards you those elite dollars, which means they can be combined with others that you earn from flying. In Robert's scenario, the $3,000 EQDs from credit card spending plus the same number earned from paid flights would give him the $6,000 EQDs needed to qualify for AAdvantage Platinum status.
Similarly, you could earn $6,000 EQDs by spending $50,000 on the Aviator Silver card, and combine that with other EQDs to qualify for Platinum Pro or Executive Platinum status. Unfortunately, you can't earn more than $6,000 EQDs from credit cards annually, so meeting the spending requirement on more than one of them won't help.
Ultimately, I prefer the waivers offered by Delta and United, since you can meet the revenue requirements for high-tier status (with the exception of United 1K) through spending alone. However, the EQD bonuses from American are interesting if you tend to earn a lot of elite miles on inexpensive fares.
These spending bonuses are limited to the co-branded products from Barclaycard, so you can't earn EQDs from the various Citi AAdvantage cards. I'm surprised and disappointed that American decided to exclude so many of its customers from this benefit, and I have no reason to suspect it will change anytime soon.