Check your email: American Airlines giving away free elite status

Jan 9, 2020

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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with new targeted offers. It was most recently published on Sept. 4, 2019.

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. Check your email, because American Airlines has once again sent out targeted complimentary status to its members.

Some TPG readers have reported just receiving an email from American Airlines offering completely free elite status with “no strings attached.” Readers who’ve passed along their offer were targeted for Gold, Platinum and even Platinum Pro elite status.

As a reference, Platinum Pro elite status typically requires 75,000 Elite Qualifying Miles and 9,000 Elite Qualifying Dollars, so American Airlines is being generous.

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

  • Register before you travel no later than Jan. 30, 2020
  • Promotional elite status is valid through April 19, 2020

How to check if you’re targeted for free elite status

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 logging into your AA’s Promotions website to see if you have an offer listed.

Related: Choosing the best credit card for American Airlines flyers

Elite status challenges

All of the offers we’ve seen so far 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 April 19, 2020 to earn elite status through Jan. 31, 2021.

Here’s the message TPG Global News Editor Emily McNutt received with her complimentary Platinum Pro status offer:

Similarly, those targeted for Gold status must achieve 7,000 Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) and 850 Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQDs), and those targeted for Platinum status must achieve 12,500 EQMs and 1,500 EQDs. The deadline to reach these milestones is April 19, 2020.

There’s one offer we’ve seen so far that allows a challenge all the way up to top-tier Executive Platinum elite status. The challenge requires flying 35,000 EQM and spending 4,000 EQD in a little over three months. However, this member is only targeted for Gold status initially:

Related: What is American Airlines elite status worth?

Along with this boost in status, members targeted for Gold elite status are getting either four or eight complimentary 500-mile upgrades after registering. AAdvantage Platinum offers seem to come with 20 upgrades after registering — 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 domestic upgrades without needing to use 500-mile upgrades.

Who is targeted?

We don’t know the formula AA uses to target some members over others, but it does seem they’re trying to win back previous elites. Some of our targeted staff held Platinum status a few years ago.

One TPG reader targeted for Gold elite status notes that “I am a Delta Platinum Medallion and rarely fly American.” Another TPG reader was targeted for Platinum Pro elite status despite saying he only flew four segments in 2019. While he is “not quite sure why I got this,” he plans on “making AA my partner for the year now.”

Comment if you were sent a different targeted offer, and we’ll add it to our data points.

Joseph Hostetler contributed to this post.
Featured photo by JT Genter/The Points Guy.

Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®

Based on TPG’s most recent valuations, the 50,000 miles are worth $700. In addition, you can earn 10,000 Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) toward elite status after spending $40,000 in a calendar year. As of July 23, 2017 this is the only card that offers Admirals Club lounge access so if you are an AA flyer this card might make sense for you.  Aside from lounge access the primary cardholder will receive a Global Entry application fee credit every 5 years, first checked bag free for up to 8 travel companions on domestic itineraries and a 25% discount on eligible in-flight purchases on American Airlines flights.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Admirals Club® membership for you and access for up to two guests or immediate family members traveling with you
  • Earn 10,000 AAdvantage® Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) after you spend $40,000 in purchases within the year
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases and 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases
  • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to 8 companions traveling with you on the same reservation
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 15.99% - 24.99%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
Intro APR on Purchases
Regular APR
15.99% - 24.99% (Variable)
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
3% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum.
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