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Here is everything I did to get American Airlines Platinum status

Dec. 26, 2022
8 min read
AA plane
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My journey with elite airline status has developed quickly during my time as a travel reporter at TPG.

When I first joined TPG in June 2021, achieving even entry-level elite airline status seemed like an impossible hurdle for someone like myself; I did not have a cobranded airline credit card, and I traveled inconsistently — especially compared to my colleagues, some of whom travel weekly.

Therefore, I knew I wouldn't earn status via credit card spending or travel alone. Instead, I would have to strategically earn status and look for additional, more creative ways to contribute. I began to think of my status approach as various income streams that provide multiple ways to earn Loyalty Points — the points are American Airlines' status currency and are based on distance, spending and fare class flown.

For me, it came down to flying consistent domestic flights, with a few long-haul flights sprinkled in; I also prioritized staying at Hyatt properties when traveling and intermittently shopping online through the AA shopping portal whenever possible.

Here's how I earned mid-tier American Airlines AAdvantage status and how you can apply the below tactics to your own American Airlines status goals.

Earn points on flights

I went from never holding airline status to becoming an American Airlines AAdvantage Gold member in about eight months.

Since becoming an AAdvantage member on July 15, 2021, I have flown on 17 American Airlines flights and earned Loyalty Points from all but two of them, which I used award miles to book. As a friendly reminder, only paid flights count toward status. Of these 17 flights, 11 were domestic flights (mostly short-haul regional flights within the East Coast and Midwest, minus a one-way flight from Washington, D.C., to Phoenix).

These domestic flights combined added 12,746 Loyalty Points to my account.

In December 2021, I attended a TPG retreat in Scottsdale, Arizona, where I won 30,000 Loyalty Points in a raffle. When these points appeared in my account on March 1, 2022, I instantly had entry-level Gold status through Feb. 28, 2023. With this 30,000-point AAdvantage adjustment, I had just less than 45,000 Loyalty Points total, thanks to the approximate 15,000 Loyalty Points I had earned in the preceding seven months of AAdvantage membership.

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Needless to say, this is unusual and wouldn't have happened outside of my TPG employment. Still, it turned me into an American loyalist, and I began prioritizing flights on American and Oneworld partner airlines when possible. It also meant I now earned a 40% mileage bonus as a Gold member, equal to 7 miles per dollar spent on flights — which is 2 miles more than a non-status flyer.

This also began my quest to reach Platinum for 2023.

Beyond the aforementioned domestic flights, I took two international round-trip flights to Paris and Singapore this year. However, only my trip to Singapore contributed to my Loyalty Points earnings (even though it wasn't an American flight).

When I traveled to Paris this spring, I flew French Bee from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Paris-Orly Airport (ORY); I used award miles to fly from ORY to O'Hare International Airport (ORD), so I didn't get any points from either trip.

As I looked ahead to the end of the year, I knew my best bet to reach Platinum for 2023 was by booking a long-haul flight in a premium cabin; you earn bonus miles that qualify toward your Loyalty Points balance when you fly premium economy, business class or first class.

To do this, I took a rather indirect flight route from ORD to Singapore Changi Airport (SIN). The route was a round-trip flight on Finnair in October across four segments: ORD-Helsinki Airport (HEL), HEL-SIN, SIN-HEL and HEL-ORD. In total, I flew more than 20,00 miles over five days to earn 28,554 American Loyalty Points through Finnair, a Oneworld member.

Read more: Why I booked a Finnair flight to help me reach American Airlines elite status

AA.COM

Together, these two long-haul premium flights comprised nearly 39,000 Loyalty Points which, on their own, would be enough to beat the threshold of 30,000 Loyalty Points for American Gold status.

AA.COM

Even so, I was still short 6,371 points to reach Platinum as of November 2022. I planned on reaching it via three trips:

  • ORD to LaGuardia Airport (LGA) in December 2022: Base fare of $422.20 for a total of 2,955 Loyalty Points and award miles.
  • ORD to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) in January 2023: Base fare of $229.77 for a total of 1,608 Loyalty Points and award miles.
  • ORD to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) in January 2023: Base fare of $255.81 for a total of 1,790 Loyalty Points and award miles.

Use American's shopping portal

AADVANTAGE SHOPPING PORTAL

Although I was focusing on earning Loyalty Points mainly via flights, I earned Platinum earlier than expected, thanks to my Black Friday online shopping via the AAdvantage shopping portal.

This is perhaps the easiest way to earn Loyalty Points, since you're shopping for purchases you were already going to make. American's eShopping portal rewards users with base miles that count as Loyalty Points for purchases made at participating retailers.

As of December 2022, miles earned from online shopping with AAdvantage eShopping count toward Loyalty Points at a 1:1 ratio. The number of miles you earn depends on the specific retailer and price point. For example, I earned almost 4,000 Loyalty Points through purchases made at Hunter Boots, Alo Yoga, Lululemon and Gap, based on their earnings offerings and transaction totals.

AA.COM

Those Loyalty Points, along with my round-trip flight last week from ORD to LGA, were enough to reach Platinum this month ahead of schedule.

Related: Comparing the Finnair premium economy flight experience on the A330 vs. the A350

Become loyal to 1 airline and alliance

As you read, I became an American Airlines loyalist by default. Even before becoming a status holder, though, I organically opted to fly American over other carriers based on route availability out of my then-home airports, DCA and Dulles International Airport (IAD).

Although I primarily fly from Chicago these days, American has a large enough presence at ORD to make the longer commuter to O'Hare in the northwest suburbs versus the city's Midway International Airport (MDW) worth it.

Once you decide on an airline, be sure to take advantage of alliance perks; American status opens the door to the 13 Oneworld member airlines that connect passengers to 900-plus destinations in more than 170 countries. Popular Oneworld airlines include Alaska Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines and Qatar Airways.

By flying on these other carriers as an AAdvantage Sapphire member, I get reciprocal benefits on partner flights, including priority check-in and boarding, plus lounge access when traveling internationally. I can also access American's signature Flagship lounges when departing on or connecting to a same-day, qualifying international flight in any class, including at ORD.

Take advantage of the Hyatt-American partnership

As of last year, AAdvantage members can earn World of Hyatt points for qualifying American flights, and all World of Hyatt elite members can earn World of Hyatt points on qualifying American flights. More specifically, this partnership allows:

These points are bonus earnings, in addition to the World of Hyatt points you’d already earn on stays and the American miles you’d already earn on flights. This partnership helped expedite my way to becoming a World of Hyatt Discoverist, the first tier of Hyatt status.

As a Discoverist, I earn 5 World of Hyatt points per dollar spent on eligible stays at Hyatt.

Bottom line

Though I did not expect to secure AAdvantage Platinum for several more months, I was pleasantly surprised to earn it ahead of schedule.

Now it's on to my next goal: obtaining Platinum Pro by March 2024.

Read more: I flew premium economy for the 1st time: My coach mindset says it's not worth the extra money

Featured image by CAROLINE TANNER/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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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
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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
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