This is how many Loyalty Points the TPG staff has earned so far
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Loyalty Points earned in January and February have finally posted to accounts, and the new metric has finally replaced elite qualifying miles, segments and dollars as the only way to earn elite status with American Airlines.
Many TPG staffers have already earned a sizable amount of Loyalty Points by flying, spending on cobranded credit cards and other various earning methods. Remember, you can earn Loyalty Points through a variety of the same ways you’ve earned AAdvantage miles over the years.
Last month, we showed you some of the ways that TPG staffers have earned Loyalty Points. Now that Loyalty Points have posted to accounts, let’s take a look at how close these staffers are to earning American elite status this year.
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Andrew Kunesh – editor, points & miles
Andrew is a loyal Delta flyer, but that hasn’t stopped him from earning Loyalty Points in the first two months of the year.
He plans to earn Gold or Platinum status this year in a quest to make his annual handful of American flights more enjoyable. Plus, he values AAdvantage miles highly, and doesn’t mind going out of his way to earn them when shopping online.
He’s earned just under 3,100 Loyalty Points this year, all through the AAdvantage eShopping Portal. Most of his purchases have been household goods from Bed Bath and Beyond and cat food from Chewy. He also subscribed to The Wall Street Journal for 1,000 points and clicked through the portal before booking an IHG hotel in Atlanta for a work trip last month.
Andrew also leveraged the statement credits included with The Platinum Card® from American Express and The Business Platinum Card® from American Express to earn Loyalty Points. He clicked through the shopping portal before making purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue and Dell.com. The Amex Platinum has a Saks credit, while its business equivalent has a Dell.com credit.
Going forward, he plans to earn with the shopping portal, SimplyMiles and by crediting Oneworld flights to American.
Katie Genter – senior reporter, points & miles
Katie’s held American Airlines Executive Platinum status since 2016, and she isn’t quite ready to switch to another program yet. She started the year in South Africa, where she picked up Loyalty Points as follows:
- 153 Loyalty Points on an $88 IHG night near the O. R. Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg.
- 741 Loyalty Points from Hyatt dual accrual on 11 nights in Johannesburg and Cape Town.
- 311 Loyalty Points on a $70 British Airways flight from Johannesburg (JNB) to Gqeberha (PLZ).
After returning from South Africa, Katie visited Las Vegas to check out the new MGM Rewards program. While in Las Vegas, she earned an elite qualifying Hyatt night for just $24, and she earned 178 Loyalty Points on two nights at MGM properties that she credited to Hyatt.
After Las Vegas, Katie headed on an American Airlines Vacations booking to the Dominican Republic. She’d booked her trip to utilize a 20,000-mile bonus when spending $2,000 or more on a five-night or longer stay at select AMResorts hotels. The 20,000 miles weren’t Loyalty Points-eligible, but she earned 1,000 Loyalty Points for booking online and 1,712 Loyalty Points for her round-trip flights from New York-JFK to Punta Cana (PUJ) that earned based on flight distance according to American’s special fares chart.
Next up, she took a special fares trip to Bogota (BOG) that she and her husband had originally booked for significant EQD and EQM earnings. But it also earned Loyalty Points decently, as she racked up 12,260 Loyalty Points on the $405 round-trip premium economy fare from New York (LGA) to Bogota via Dallas (DFW).
In mid-February, Katie flew from New York (LGA) to Atlanta (ATL) on a $72 fare that earned 594 Loyalty Points. She’s also earned 471 Loyalty Points on Miles for Opinions surveys, 1,500 Loyalty Points through the AAdvantage shopping portal, 1,000 Loyalty Points through SimplyMiles and 10 Loyalty Points through spending on her American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card.
Katie earned 19,930 Loyalty Points in the first two months of 2022. At this rate, she’ll earn almost 140,000 Loyalty Points by the end of February 2023. This would get her Platinum Pro status but leave her significantly short of Executive Platinum.
Kyle Olsen – reporter, points & miles
Although he’s new to status with American, Kyle is shooting for AAdvantage Gold or Platinum by earning on Oneworld partner flights.
He hasn’t earned any Loyalty Points yet but is planning to leverage partner flights on an upcoming trip. Specifically, Finnair’s discounted business-class ticket prices combined with American’s generous accrual bases make earning Loyalty Points with Finnair relatively easy if you’re traveling on a long-haul flight.
For example, on this $1,300 round-trip business-class ticket from Paris to Bangkok, you could earn at least 15,000 Loyalty Points and possibly much more depending on your status.
The final AAdvantage mileage total for this “I” fare-class route (including cabin bonuses) converts to Loyalty Points at a 1:1 ratio. This means pretty massive Loyalty Points earnings given that the trip from Paris to Bangkok via Helsinki clocks in at 12,194 miles round-trip.
We assume that these bonuses will count as Loyalty Points, given elite status bonuses count as Loyalty Points for AA-ticketed flights. Depending on your current elite status level, you’ll earn the following:
- AAdvantage member: 15,243 AAdvantage miles + 15,243 Loyalty Points (12,194 base miles [distance flown] + 3,049 miles [cabin bonus]).
- AAdvantage Gold: 21,340 AAdvantage miles + 21,340 Loyalty Points (12,194 base miles [distance flown] + 3,049 miles [cabin bonus] + 6,097 miles [40% elite bonus]).
- AAdvantage Platinum: 24,389 AAdvantage miles + 24,389 Loyalty Points (12,194 base miles [distance flown] + 3,049 miles [cabin bonus] + 9,146 miles [60% elite bonus]).
- AAdvantage Platinum Pro: 27,437 AAdvantage miles + 27,437 Loyalty Points (12,194 base miles [distance flown] + 3,049 miles [cabin bonus] + 12,194 miles [80% elite bonus]).
- AAdvantage Executive Platinum: 33,535 AAdvantage miles + 33,535 Loyalty Points (12,194 base miles [distance flown] + 3,049 miles [cabin bonus] + 18,292 miles [120% elite bonus])
If you currently hold no elite status with American like Kyle, you would need to spend $6,000 on American flights to earn the 30,000 Loyalty Points needed to qualify for AAdvantage Gold as American only provides 5 miles per dollar when earning on its own tickets as a general member. But in this case, by using Finnair, you could earn over 15,000 Loyalty Points — half of what’s needed for Gold — after spending just $1,300.
Nick Ewen – senior editor
Nick originally wasn’t planning on pursuing any airline elite status in 2022 — but he quickly got sucked into the “gamified” approach to earning AAdvantage status.
He currently has no status with American, but he’s hoping to reach at least Platinum by strategically leveraging partner promotions and shopping bonuses (ideally for transactions he would be making anyway).
When his Loyalty Points finally posted, he was already more than halfway to Gold.
The majority of these Loyalty Points came from the AAdvantage shopping portal and the SimplyMiles site. In some cases, he bought items that he wouldn’t have otherwise purchased. However, he also picked up:
- 223 Loyalty Points for pickup orders at Sam’s Club (all items he would’ve purchased anyway).
- 465 Loyalty Points for filling up his tank at BP (stacked with a discount from GetUpside).
- 984 Loyalty Points for buying a Valentine’s Day gift for his wife from Kate Spade.
- 170 Loyalty Points for new gym shoes from Reebok (stacked with a 10% discount through Chase Offers).
That said, he’s still missing miles from a SimplyMiles purchase he made at Barnes & Noble along with bonus miles from FTD.
Zach Griff – senior reporter, aviation
Zach started the year by focusing his travel with American, thanks to the double-dipping promotion for January and February. He earned additional elite qualifying miles and dollars toward his 2021 status, while also earning Loyalty Points toward requalifying for status in 2023.
He even took one Oneworld-partner-operated itinerary with British Airways, which should net him nearly 5,000 Loyalty Points. They haven’t posted to the account yet, so he’s waiting to see how it all credits.
That said, Zach isn’t chasing Loyalty Points right now. He’ll continue flying with American when the schedule fits, but he isn’t doing anything differently at the moment.
He’ll evaluate that decision over the course of the year depending on his travel patterns and the trajectory of the pandemic.
Clint Henderson – managing editor
Clint was probably one of the most skeptical members of The Points Guy staff about the new Loyalty Points program. He’d already switched his loyalty to Delta and to AA partner Alaska Airlines when AAdvantage decided to ditch the old system. Initially, Clint was excited to play with the new program, but he says he’s given up on AA again after only earning 4,652 Loyalty Points.
Clint’s carried Platinum Pro status with American for several years now, thanks to status extensions during COVID-19. However, he’s abandoning AA and likely won’t come close to making it to Gold this year.
He earned 4,000 points from a Rocketmiles promotion and several hundred more from spending on his Barclay’s AAdvantage Silver card and an eShopping promo. That wasn’t enough, however, to get him excited to continue the effort with the new AAdvantage program.
“They call it a ‘new, simpler AAdvantage program,’ but it actually seems even more complicated than the previous version which I already found confounding,” said Clint.
He said he’ll stick to crediting his AA flights to Alaska, and see if he can remain top-tier MVP Gold 100K this year.
Loyalty Points have posted to American accounts, and the race is on to qualify or requalify for elite status.
From flying to buying flowers, TPG staffers plan to use a variety of earning methods to earn status this year. We’re just two months into the Loyalty Points program, and some staffers have earned almost 20,000 Loyalty Points. We’ll keep you posted throughout the year as the TPG staff continues to rack up Loyalty Points toward elite status.
Featured photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.
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