This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Some 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. And a slew of these free elite status offers were just sent out by American Airlines.

On Tuesday night, many TPG readers report receiving an email from American Airlines offering completely free elite status with “no strings attached.” Most readers who’ve passed along their offer were targeted for Gold or Platinum elite status — which typically requires 50,000 Elite Qualifying Miles and 6,000 Elite Qualifying Dollars:

Some especially lucky AA members were targeted for complimentary Platinum Pro elite status, which otherwise requires 75,000 Elite Qualifying Miles and 9,000 Elite Qualifying Dollars.

So far, all of the offers we have seen have the following terms:

  • Sign up by January 25, 2019.
  • Complimentary status runs through May 15, 2019.

Along with free elite status, AA is offering bundles of 500-mile upgrades to targeted members. Members targeted for Gold will receive 10 upgrades upon accepting the offer. Platinum offers come with 20 upgrades — which are good for upgraded travel up to 10,000 direct flight miles. There’s no offer of 500-mile upgrades for those targeted for Platinum Pro, as these elites get unlimited complimentary upgrades through the 500-mile upgrade system.

How to Check If You’re Targeted: Members who were targeted for this promotion should have received an email. However, you can check to see if you’re targeted without digging through your inbox by heading to AA’s Promotions website and see if you have an offer listed. If you’re not targeted, your promotions tab will look as empty as mine:

If you want to try a specific link to see if you were targeted, this is the link embedded in each email to members targeted for Platinum elite status.

Elite Status Challenges: Some — but not all — offers are combined with a challenge to maintain elite status or earn an even higher elite status. For all challenges, EQMs and EQDs must be earned between the date of registration and May 15, 2019 to earn elite status through Jan. 31, 2020.

Members targeted for Platinum Pro status need to earn 20,000 Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) and 2,400 Elite Qualifying Dollars to extend their status for the rest of the year.

AAdvantage members that received the Platinum offer received the challenge to either:

  • Keep Platinum status by earning 12,500 Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) and 1,500 Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQDs)
  • Earn Platinum Pro status by earning 20,000 Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) and 2,400 Elite Qualifying Dollars.

For those only targeted for Gold status, there’s not fast-track to Platinum Pro or even Platinum elite status. But members can extend their Gold elite status by earning 7,000 Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) and 850 Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQDs).

Who’s Targeted: It’s interesting to see a bit of data behind who’s targeted. A strangely-high number of targeted members report living in California — where AA might be trying to poach flyers from its competitors.

Perhaps most frustrating to those of us that are loyal to AA, it seems that most targeted members barely ever fly AA. One TPG reader who was targeted for Platinum elite status has less than 15,000 lifetime miles credited to AAdvantage. And he reported that he didn’t fly AA at all in 2018. One member targeted for Gold elite status says she’s never held AA elite status and only flew AA twice in 2018.

AA even gave away status to this AAdvantage member:

Know before you go.

News and deals straight to your inbox every day.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.