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Last-minute strategies for earning American AAdvantage elite status

Oct. 26, 2022
13 min read
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AAdvantage members have until the end of February 2023 to earn enough Loyalty Points for their desired American Airlines elite status. If you are reading this post shortly after it publishes, it might seem a bit early to discuss last-minute strategies to secure your desired level of AAdvantage elite status.

But it's never too early for AAdvantage elite status planning. If you haven’t done so already, log into your AAdvantage account and check your Loyalty Point balance. Then, consider how many Loyalty Points you need and how many Loyalty Points you plan to earn by the deadlne.

If you’re going to fall short of your goals, here are some strategies you can use to qualify or requalify for AAdvantage status. Remember: There are many ways to earn Loyalty Points that don't involve travel.

AAdvantage elite status overview

ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

American Airlines no longer uses Elite Qualifying Miles, Dollars and Segments. Instead, now you need to accrue Loyalty Points if you want to earn American Airlines elite status.

You earn Loyalty Points when you earn base American Airlines miles. However, bonus American Airlines miles won't get you Loyalty Points. So, be careful to understand whether you're earning base miles or bonus miles on your flights, credit card spending and other partner activities.

You need to earn the following amounts of Loyalty Points between Jan. 1, 2022, and Feb. 28, 2023, to qualify for AAdvantage elite status:

  • Gold: 30,000 Loyalty Points.
  • Platinum: 75,000 Loyalty Points.
  • Platinum Pro: 125,000 Loyalty Points.
  • Executive Platinum: 200,000 Loyalty Points.

Future qualification periods will be 12 months instead of 14 months and will run from the beginning of March to the end of February. Once you earn enough Loyalty Points for your desired elite status by the end of February 2023, you'll keep your status through March 31, 2024.

You'll also need at least 30 qualifying segments during your qualification period if you want to earn Loyalty Choice Rewards as a Platinum Pro elite member or higher.

Here are some ways you can earn more Loyalty Points and segments in the next few months.

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Related: Here's why American's new Loyalty Points are a game changer for me

Strategies for earning Loyalty Points

ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

Unlike many other U.S.-based programs, the current AAdvantage elite qualification period doesn't end on December 31. Instead, you have until the end of February 2023 to earn Loyalty Points for the current qualification period. So, if you are reading this story soon after we published it, you still have plenty of time to reach your goal.

Loyalty Points must post to your account by the end of February to count toward your current qualification period. Except for spending on AAdvantage credit cards — which post based on the date the activity posts to your AAdvantage account — your Loyalty Points will typically post to your account based on the activity date of the flight or transaction.

Credit card spending

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You can earn Loyalty Points by spending on American Airlines credit cards. However, you'll only earn 1 Loyalty Point per dollar spent regardless of bonus categories. Welcome offers and spending bonuses earn bonus miles that aren't eligible for Loyalty Points.

You could qualify for American Airlines status based on credit card spending alone. For example, putting $30,000 of purchases on the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card, Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® or Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® would get you enough Loyalty Points for AAdvantage Gold status. Or you could make $200,000 of purchases on one of these cards during your qualification year and earn Executive Platinum status.

However, Loyalty Points you earn from spending on an AAdvantage credit card post differently than most other ways you can earn Loyalty Points. Specifically, Loyalty Points from spending on AAdvantage cards post based on the date the activity posts to your AAdvantage account. With that in mind, don't wait until the last minute to earn Loyalty Points with your AAdvantage credit card.

Related: What you need to know about earning another American Airlines card sign-up bonus

Click through the AAdvantage shopping portal

One of the easiest ways to earn Loyalty Points is the AAdvantage shopping portal. Whether you're hundreds or thousands of Loyalty Points shy of your desired AAdvantage elite status, making one or more purchases after clicking through this shopping portal could help you earn the Loyalty Points you need.

Add your preferred merchants as favorites in your shopping portal profile. After you do so, you'll get an email when these merchants offer higher-than-usual earning rates.

Related: Why I'm focusing on the American Airlines shopping portal this year

Use SimplyMiles

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Another easy way to earn Loyalty Points if you have a Mastercard is to utilize SimplyMiles offers. These offers let shoppers with a Mastercard earn American miles and Loyalty Points when shopping with select merchants for which they've enrolled in an offer.

To get started, enroll in SimplyMiles, link your Mastercards to your SimplyMiles account and enroll in SimplyMiles offers you think you might use. Then, when you make an eligible purchase with an enrolled card at a participating merchant, you'll earn Loyalty Points.

Related: Expert stacking: How I'm earning rewards 5 different ways on a Hotels.com booking

Book and stay at a hotel

You can also pick up some extra Loyalty Points on hotel stays. There are several ways to earn Loyalty Points from hotel stays, including:

  • Bookaahotels.com and Rocketmiles: Earn up to 10,000 Loyalty Points per night.
  • Credit Hyatt stays to AAdvantage: Earn 500 Loyalty Points per stay.
  • Credit Marriott or IHG stays to AAdvantage: Earn 1 or 2 Loyalty Points per dollar of qualifying spending (earning rates vary by brand).
  • Link your AAdvantage and World of Hyatt accounts: American elite members earn 1 Loyalty Point per dollar spent on Hyatt stays.

Note: While you'll likely get elite nights and benefits when you book through the final three methods, you're unlikely to get them when booking through Bookaahotels.com and Rocketmiles.

Related: Don’t book hotel stays directly if you want to earn maximum American Loyalty Points

Credit your rental car to AAdvantage

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Especially if you don't get much value from car rental loyalty programs, you may want to change your earning preference to AAdvantage when renting cars. Here's what you can earn with various programs when you opt to earn AAdvantage miles on your rental:

  • Avis and Budget: Earn 2 to 5 Loyalty Points per dollar spent (earning rates vary based on your American Airlines elite status level).
  • Hertz and Payless: Earn 1 Loyalty Point per dollar spent.
  • Alamo, Dollar, National and Thrifty: Earn 50 Loyalty Points per rental day.

Related: Earn American Loyalty Points when you stay at hotels and rent cars

Dine with AAdvantage Dining

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You can also earn Loyalty Points through the American Airlines AAdvantage Dining program. To do so, enroll in the AAdvantage dining rewards program, enroll your favorite dining rewards cards in the program and then use an enrolled card to pay at a participating restaurant, bar or club.

Depending on your status with the AAdvantage Dining program — which is different than your AAdvantage status — you'll earn between 1 and 5 Loyalty Points per dollar spent. The restaurant should register your transaction within about five days of your purchase, and then you should see the miles and Loyalty Points in your AAdvantage account one to two weeks later.

Related: Forget mileage runs; here’s why I'm considering a “cheeseburger run”

Buy-up to elite status

Previously, American has offered frequent flyers the chance to elevate their elite status and either requalify for their same tier or advance toward a higher tier by paying a certain preset amount. However, we haven't seen AAdvantage launch any offers to buy up to elite status during this qualification year.

In the past, the offers varied greatly across individuals, but members were sometimes given offers of $699 to $799 to requalify for Gold, $800 to $1,800 for Platinum and $1,400 or more for Executive Platinum. Luckily, these offers usually changed based on your activity and would continue after your qualification period ended. You may want to look for offers later this year into early 2023.

Related: Should you buy hotel or airline elite status?

Status challenge

PHOTOALTO/LAURENCE MOUTON/GETTY IMAGES

In October 2022, American unveiled a new Instant Status Pass challenge. You can check your online wallet after logging into your AAdvantage account or call the AAdvantage customer service center (800-433-7300) and ask whether there's a personalized Instant Status Pass challenge for you.

You may be charged a co-pay to participate in an Instant Status Pass challenge, although some members may get a complimentary challenge. Once you register for the challenge, you'll enjoy the perks of the status tier you signed up for and your four-month challenge period will begin.

The Instant Status Pass challenge is somewhat complicated and still requires you to earn a significant amount of Loyalty Points during your four-month challenge period if you want to keep the status for which you are challenging. So, check out our full story on American's new Instant Status Pass elite challenge for more details.

Related: Current airline elite status match and challenge options you should know about

Business Extra

American Airlines has a loyalty program specifically for businesses called Business Extra. It exists separately from the AAdvantage program, which is for individuals.

There are many ways to redeem points that businesses earn through the Business Extra program. But, one redemption option is to gift Gold status to an employee for 3,200 points or Platinum status to an employee for 6,600 points. So, if you have a small business (or work for a generous business), you could be gifted status through your business' Business Extra account.

Related: This single perk is the reason I’m trying to earn AAdvantage status

Mileage-run scenarios

ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

Finally, you might consider booking a mileage run to earn Loyalty Points. However, unless you either don't need many Loyalty Points or don't mind paying a lot, you'll likely want to focus on inexpensive premium cabin fares on American Airlines' partners for trips that cover a lot of distance.

In particular, you'll likely find AAdvantage's partner-earning charts for British Airways, Finnair and Qantas appealing since flights in most premium economy fare classes will earn at least 100% of the flight distance in base miles.

For example, an American Airlines Executive Platinum elite member would earn 46,022 Loyalty Points on a British Airways premium economy round trip from Los Angeles to Bangalore via London booked in E or T fare class. That's almost one-fourth of what's needed to requalify for Executive Platinum status.

Remember that while special fares and partner fares earn based on your fare class, distance and elite status bonus, other fares earn based on your base fare. In particular, JetBlue marketed and operated flights, American Airlines marketed flights and JetBlue codeshare flights operated by American Airlines earn based on the base fare you pay.

Related: Earn American AAdvantage status and Loyalty Points quickly with Oneworld partner flights

Strategies for earning qualifying segments

Finally, if you'll reach your Loyalty Points goal but fall short of the 30 segments required to earn Loyalty Choice Rewards as a Platinum Pro elite member or higher, you may want to book one or more segment runs.

You could book a paid fare, but AAdvantage often prices multi-stop awards inexpensively. For example, here's a three-segment one-way award from Jacksonville, Florida, to Allentown, Pennslyvania , for 6,000 miles plus $5.60 in main cabin economy seats (or 16,000 miles plus $5.60 in domestic first-class seats).

AA.COM

If you think you might be short on segments at the end of February, book an AAdvantage award trip now for late January or February that will let you rack up segments. If you get the segments you need between now and then, you can cancel your award and AAdvantage will deposit your miles back into your account.

Related: How to change or cancel an American Airlines flight

Bottom line

As the end of February 2023 nears, it's a good idea to check in on your elite status plans. Figure out where you stand now and calculate the Loyalty Points you'll likely earn through the end of the qualification period based on your planned travel and other activity that can earn Loyalty Points.

Spending a little more on a mileage run or other activities may let you snag your desired AAdvantage status by the end of February 2023. However, it's best not to wait until the last minute since your activity might not post as you expect (or as quickly as you expect).

Additional reporting by Ethan Steinberg and Eric Rosen.

Featured image by ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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