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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:

  • Gold (for three months): HVL8G
  • Gold: HV18M
  • Gold: HV18G
  • Platinum: HV18P
  • Platinum Pro: HV18T

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.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The American Express Platinum card has some of the best perks out there: cardholders enjoy the best domestic lounge access (Delta SkyClubs, Centurion Lounges, and Priority Pass), a $200 annual airline fee credit as well as up to $200 in Uber credits, and mid-tier elite status at SPG, Marriott, and Hilton. Combined with the 60,000 point welcome offer -- worth $1,140 based on TPG's valuations -- this card is a no-brainer for frequent travelers. Here are 5 reasons you should consider this card, as well as how you can figure out if the $550 annual fee makes sense for you.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
N/A
Annual Fee
$550
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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