Check your email: American Airlines is giving away free elite status

Feb 17, 2021

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Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new targeted offers.


Travelers can work all year to get elite status — spending thousands of dollars, going on mileage runs, or even just paying airlines large sums to maintain status. But sometimes, airlines will simply offer members status for free. And we’ve seen them do that more in recent months to stir up demand.

Well, check your email because American Airlines has once again sent out offers for complimentary status to some of its members.

American Airlines is targeting some AAdvantage members with three months of free Gold or Platinum elite status. During the trial period, targeted members will have the opportunity to extend their status through early 2021 by fulfilling certain requirements. Plus, those being targeted for Platinum status are being offered the opportunity to fast-track Platinum Pro elite status.

Even with the reduced thresholds for 2021, earning Platinum Pro elite status this year would still require 60,000 Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) or 70 EQSs, plus $7,000 Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQDs), so American is being generous.

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AA Trial Status
(Photo courtesy of American Airlines)

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 within three months of registration and you must register by March 8, 2021. Any status earned through one of these challenges will be valid until Jan. 31, 2022.

The challenge requirements may vary from one member to the next, but multiple TPG staffers targeted for complimentary Platinum status received the following offers:

  • Earn 12,000 EQMs or 14 EQS, plus $1,500 to extend your Platinum status
  • Earn 18,000 EQMs or 21 EQS, plus $2,300 to elevate your status to Platinum Pro

Meanwhile, a TPG reader reported receiving this offer:

  • Earn 11,000 EQMs or 13 EQS, plus $1,250 to extend your Platinum status

If targeted for Gold elite status, your challenge requirements will be slightly lower:

  • Earn 6,000 EQMs or 7 EQS, plus $700 to extend your Gold status

Note, qualifying flights must be operated by American Airlines or marketed by American Airlines, American Eagle, British Airways, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines or Qantas. Flights marketed and/or operated by other partners aren’t eligible for this challenge.

American Airlines Admirals Club BOS (Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)

Along with this boost in status, members targeted for Platinum elite status are getting up to 20 complimentary 500-mile upgrades after registering. It is unclear whether those that earn Platinum Pro through a challenge will be eligible for the new elite choice rewards.

Related: What is American Airlines elite status worth?

Bottom line

It’s unclear how exactly American targets members for these free status offers. But if you were targeted and are planning to travel in the next few months, it could be worth taking advantage just to test it out. We value AA Gold status at $930, Platinum at $2,220 and Platinum Pro at $3,580, so depending on how often you fly American or other Oneworld airlines, there could be a lot of value for you here.

If you weren’t targeted but would still like to participate, you could call American AAdvantage and pay a fee to enroll in a status challenge. The airline also occasionally offers targeted promotions to Hyatt elites and FoundersCard members.

Additional reporting by JT Genter and Joseph Hostetler.

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.
Regular APR
15.99% - 24.99% (Variable)
Annual Fee
$450
Balance Transfer Fee
3% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum.
Recommended Credit
Excellent, Good

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.

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