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American just unveiled 2 easier ways to requalify for elite status

June 29, 2021
5 min read
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Requalifying for elite status with American Airlines just got easier.

On Tuesday, the Fort Worth-based carrier unveiled two new paths to requalifying for AAdvantage status, both of which are open to all current elite members.

The two new pathways join AA's other recently announced promotions intended to make it easier to earn and requalify for status this year.

American's new opportunities to requalify for status

Any current AAdvantage elite member can partake in one of the following two paths to requalifying for status without needing to register.

  • Spend $15,000 on an AAdvantage credit card.
  • If you spend $15,000 or more on eligible purchases on an AAdvantage co-branded credit card between July 15 and Nov. 15, you’ll requalify for status through Jan. 31, 2023.
  • All Citi® / AAdvantage® credit cards are eligible as well as all AAdvantage® Aviator® and all AAdvantage® credit cards issued outside the U.S.
  • You can combine spend on purchases across all AA co-branded credit cards to reach the $15,000 threshold.
  • Fly with American or a partner airline in the last four months of the year.
  • If you earn 2,000 elite-qualifying dollars (EQDs) from AA or partner-operated flights between Sept. 1 and Dec. 31, 2021, you’ll requalify for status through Jan. 31, 2023.

The information for the AAdvantage Aviator cards has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Note that these two new paths to requalifying for elite status are available to those who held status with American on Jan. 1, 2021. As such, those currently enrolled on limited-time status challenges are excluded from this offer.

Related: The best credit cards for American Airlines flyers

Additionally, it's important to note that the promotions are only open to existing elites who are looking to requalify for the exact same tier they held as of Jan. 1, 2021. If you're trying to achieve a higher status tier or earn elite status for the first time, this promotion isn't for you.

That said, this latest AAdvantage update will likely make it significantly easier for current elites who might've just restarted flying this summer. Even if spending $15,000 on a co-brand card is too high of a threshold, the $2,000 EQD track should be achievable, even if you only plan to travel a few times during the four-month period at the end of the year.

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Requalifying for AA status just got much easier (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Airfares are on the rise once again, and the EQD promotion applies to flights with AA's partners, including Alaska and JetBlue. If you take a few trips, especially with some in premium cabins, hitting the $2,000 EQD mark shouldn't represent too much of a challenge.

The one major "catch"

The one major "catch" to these two new paths is that you won't earn elite choice rewards — which include systemwide upgrades — if you're requalifying for Platinum Pro or Executive Platinum status. You'll need to earn status at the reduced flying thresholds below to earn the full suite of status benefits.

But for those that don't envision traveling enough to hit AA's reduced thresholds, this new promotion represents a much easier opportunity to requalify. In fact, it's now the most generous of the big 3 U.S. airlines — neither Delta nor United have announced a similar program for elites.

Related: American's mid-year AAdvantage program updates, including EQM and EQD promos

Other ways to qualify for AA elite status

If you're still trying to requalify through flying, or attempting to earn AA status for the first time, you'll need to hit the reduced thresholds in the chart below.

MetricGoldPlatinumPlatinum ProExecutive Platinum
Elite Qualifying Miles (EQM)20,00040,00060,00080,000
Elite Qualifying Segments (EQS)20457095
Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQD)$2,000$4,500$7,000$12,000

In late 2020, American Airlines slashed the traditional pre-COVID thresholds by roughly 20% to 33% and rolled over all elite-qualifying progress earned in the fourth quarter of 2020 into the 2021 program year.

Related: Complete guide to AA’s elite-qualifying miles

Additionally, earlier this month, the carrier unveiled three promotions to make it easier to earn EQMs and EQDs.

  • Every AAdvantage member will receive bonus EQMs on the first ten flight segments flown between June 3 and Aug. 31.
  • All current elites received a one-time EQD deposit varying based on elite status, ranging from 500 bonus EQDs for Gold members to 3,000 EQDs for Executive Platinum and Concierge Key members.
  • Current elites can purchase a package of EQMs for $495, which will earn you 495 EQDs, as well as the following number of EQMs:
  • Gold members receive 2,500 EQMs
  • Platinum members receive 5,000 EQMs
  • Platinum Pro members receive 7,500 EQMs
  • Executive Platinum and invite-only Concierge Key members receive 10,000 EQMs

All told, American's leading the way with its latest status adjustment. Though the airline isn't outright extending status like it did in 2020, for most elites, retaining status through January 2023 just became much easier.

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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  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
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Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more