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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...

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[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.

IMG-aa-aviator-cards2
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.

Featured image by Getty Images

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  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
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Best starter travel card
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

3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • 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

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases