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

June 23, 2021
4 min read
American Airlines 777-300 first class
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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 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.

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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 2023 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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(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 July 13, 2021. Any status earned through one of these challenges will be valid until Jan. 31, 2023.

The challenge requirements may vary from one member to the next, but TPG reader Jeremy Croning was targeted for complimentary Platinum status and received the following offers:

  • Earn 11,000 EQMs or 13 EQS, plus $1,250 to extend your Platinum status
  • Earn 16,500 EQMs or 20 EQS, plus $1,950 to elevate your status to Platinum Pro

TPG staffers have previously also come across these 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

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 plan to travel in the next few months, it could be worthwhile to take advantage of this offer in order to test out elite status. 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, Alaska 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 image by (Photo by Benji Stawski/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.

TPG featured card

Best for American Airlines lounge access
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
3 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

1 - 2X miles
2X2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
1X1 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on other purchases

Intro offer

50,000 miles
Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

Annual Fee

$450

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent, Good
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.

Why We Chose It

 includes a complimentary membership to the American Airlines Admirals Club lounge. Users can also add up to 10 authorized users (for no additional cost), and they get their own access — including two traveling companions. The primary cardmember also enjoys priority check in, screening and boarding for themselves and up to eight travel companions. Other perks include a free checked bag for domestic travel, 25% off eligible inflight purchases and $100 statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.

Pros

  • Offers Admirals Club lounge access.
  • Help earning up to 10,000 EQMs that go toward elite status.
  • Priority check-in, airport screening, boarding and a free checked bag for you and up to 8 travel companions.
  • 25% discount on inflight food and beverages.
  • Receive a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck Fee Statement Credit.

Cons

  • No travel protection benefits.
  • Miles redemption limited to American Airlines and its Oneworld partners.
  • 25% inflight credit doesn't include Wi-Fi.
  • 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
  • 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
  • Earn 1 Loyalty Point for every 1 eligible AAdvantage® mile earned from 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
Best for American Airlines lounge access
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
3 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

2X2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
1X1 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

    50,000 miles
  • Annual Fee

    $450
  • 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

 includes a complimentary membership to the American Airlines Admirals Club lounge. Users can also add up to 10 authorized users (for no additional cost), and they get their own access — including two traveling companions. The primary cardmember also enjoys priority check in, screening and boarding for themselves and up to eight travel companions. Other perks include a free checked bag for domestic travel, 25% off eligible inflight purchases and $100 statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.

Pros

  • Offers Admirals Club lounge access.
  • Help earning up to 10,000 EQMs that go toward elite status.
  • Priority check-in, airport screening, boarding and a free checked bag for you and up to 8 travel companions.
  • 25% discount on inflight food and beverages.
  • Receive a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck Fee Statement Credit.

Cons

  • No travel protection benefits.
  • Miles redemption limited to American Airlines and its Oneworld partners.
  • 25% inflight credit doesn't include Wi-Fi.
  • 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
  • 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
  • Earn 1 Loyalty Point for every 1 eligible AAdvantage® mile earned from 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