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Many of us travelers work all year to get elite status — spending thousands of dollars, doing year-end mileage runs or even just paying airlines large sums to maintain status. But, sometimes, airlines will simply offer members status — for free.
Friday afternoon, we received reports from many TPG readers that they received an email from American Airlines offering completely free elite status with “no strings attached.” The offers are anywhere from bottom-tier Gold to Platinum Pro — which typically requires 75,000 miles of flying and 9,000 Elite Qualifying Dollars:
So far, all of the offers we have seen have the following terms:
- Sign up by February 1, 2018.
- Complimentary status runs through May 25, 2018.
You can extend that status through January 31, 2019 by completing a free challenge:
- Platinum: To extend your elite benefits through January 31, 2019, earn 12,500 Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) and $2,000 Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQDs) on American or other eligible airlines for travel between the date you register and May 25, 2018.
- Platinum Pro: To extend your elite benefits through January 31, 2019, earn 20,000 Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) and $3,000 Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQDs) on American or other eligible airlines for travel between the date you register and May 25, 2018.
Along with the free status, the carrier is offering free 500-mile upgrades — the airline’s upgrade system for North American and Caribbean flights. Those targeted for Gold will get 10 upgrades, while Platinums will get 20 certificates. There’s no offer of 500-mile upgrades for those targeted for Platinum Pro, as these elites get unlimited complimentary upgrades on these routes.
If you’re targeted for one of these offers, you should have received an email — check the account associated with your AA account. The email will direct you to the landing page for the offer, where you’ll log-in to register for the promotion. If you want to shortcut the process, you can try applying the following registration codes to your AAdvantage account:
We don’t know AA’s methodology behind these targeted offers, but there’s a clue from TPG reader Allison H. She noted that she “flew about 20,000 miles on AA last year, mostly between January and March” before quitting American for another airline. She was offered Platinum status from AA, so it seems likely that the airline extrapolated her 20,000 miles across the year to figure she’s at least a 50,000-mile flyer and offered her this free status to entice her to be loyal to AA in 2018.
With some great bonus categories, the American Express Gold Card has a lot going for it. The card offers 4x points at US restaurants, at US supermarkets (up to $25,000; then 1x), and 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or through amextravel.com. It is currently offering a welcome bonus of 35,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 in the first three months.
- Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $2,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months.
- Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. restaurants. Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X).
- Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
- Earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with The Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Shake Shack, and Ruth's Chris Steak House. This is an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
- $100 Airline Fee Credit: up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year for incidental fees at one selected qualifying airline.
- Choose to carry a balance with interest on eligible charges of $100 or more.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- Annual Fee is $250.
- Terms apply.
- See Rates & Fees