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Does Credit Card Spend Count Toward American EQDs?

April 17, 2017
4 min read
Does Credit Card Spend Count Toward American EQDs?
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"Reader Questions" are answered three days a week — Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays — by TPG Senior Writer Julian Mark Kheel.

TPG reader Tony is concerned about American's new Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQD) requirement, and sent us a Facebook message asking if his Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard can help...

[pullquote source="TPG Reader Tony"]I'm trying to reach Gold status on American, but you now have to spend $3,000 in EQD's. If I spend $3,000 on my Citi AAdvantage card, does that also apply to the EQD's?[/pullquote]

The information for the Citi AAdvantage Platinum card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

American was the last of the three legacy carriers to introduce a spend requirement for elite status, but the metric is now officially in place for 2017. This means in addition to earning a set number of Elite Qualifying Miles or Elite Qualifying Segments, you also have to spend a minimum amount of money with American as well.

American's Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQD) requirement ranges from $3,000 to $12,000 depending on the tier.

The amount varies depending on what elite level you're aiming for, but it starts at $3,000 for Gold and goes all the way up to $12,000 for Executive Platinum. So does spending money on co-branded American Airlines credit cards count toward this new EQD requirement? No... and yes. In other words, it's complicated.

First, we need to remember that American actually offers co-branded credit cards from two completely separate banks. Citibank has the AAdvantage line of cards, while Barclaycard offers several versions of its Aviator card. Cards from both banks earn redeemable AAdvantage miles, but only one bank — Barclaycard — offers credit cards that will help you earn AA Elite Qualifying Dollars.

Even with Barclaycard Aviator cards, spending $3,000 on an Aviator card does not equal $3,000 Elite Qualifying Dollars. Instead, by spending $25,000 in a calendar year on either the Aviator Red, Aviator Blue, Aviator Silver or Aviator Business cards, you'll earn a flat $3,000 in EQDs.

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Earn $3,000 in EQDs with one of these four cards.

You can only earn the $3,000 in EQDs each year on one of those three cards, but if you also have the Aviator Silver, you can get a second $3,000 in EQDs by spending an additional $25,000 on that card. In total, spending a calendar year total of $50,000 on the right two Aviator cards will get you $6,000 in EQDs for the year. The bad news is you can't apply directly for the Aviator Silver — you have to upgrade to it from another Aviator card.

If all of that sounds needlessly convoluted to you, it is. Delta and United make it much easier to entirely waive their elite qualifying spend requirement through their respective co-branded credit cards, and though United will only let you waive the requirement for elite tiers below United Premier 1K, Delta will waive it for any elite level up through the highest Delta Diamond.

So Tony, you can't earn dollar-for-dollar American EQDs with credit card spend, but you do have a few options if you have an Aviator card. Thanks for the question, and if you're a TPG reader with a question you'd like answered, tweet us at @thepointsguy, message us on Facebook or send an email to info@thepointsguy.com.

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  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
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Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees