I’m sure I’m not alone in scrambling at the last minute to achieve the next tier of elite status with American Airlines (AA) before the looming February 28 deadline. I’ve been an Executive Platinum member for years and before Covid it wasn’t really a challenge to achieve, thanks to flying all over the world (and usually on someone else’s dime.) RELATED: American Airlines’ Nifty Tool Helps Travelers Find the Best Way to Use Their AA Miles
Having top tier elite status allows you to have a special phone number where you usually don’t have to wait long for an agent, get to check in at the First-Class counter, get three free checked bags weighing up to 70 pounds apiece and for everyone in your party, free upgrades on domestic flights if space is available, the ability to select the best coach seats for free, board first …
Unfortunately, most of my travel for business isn’t back and American Airlines changed the way they reward their best customers. AA shook up the miles and points programs in 2021 and they now reward customers who spend the most amount of money with them and their partners instead of basing it on the amount of miles their customers fly. This alone has seen a huge increase in spending on their co-branded credit cards, including mine.
Here’s how their Loyalty Points work in a nutshell. One (1) eligible AAdvantage mile earns one (1) Loyalty Point. If you fly on American Airlines, American Eagle, any oneworld airline and their other partner airlines you earn miles based on ticket price (includes base fare plus carrier-imposed fees; excludes government-imposed taxes and fees).
This means that the more you spend, the more you’ll earn, which is a far cry from the days when travel hackers would just buy cheap long-haul tickets and earn one mile for every mile they flew. Some customers would spend just a few hundred dollars on a ticket to Asia and earn 15,000 miles for the trip. Meanwhile, business travelers, who spent way more money on a ticket to fly New York to Boston, would get just a few hundred miles.
The new system totally makes sense from a business perspective but it does change the miles and points game considerably.
This is how American Airlines now credits their members:
A regular AAdvantage member earns 5 miles for every U.S. dollar spent.
-AAdvantage Gold member earns 7 miles for every U.S. dollar spent.
-AAdvantage Platinum member earns 8 miles for every U.S. dollar spent.
-AAdvantage Platinum Pro member earns 9 miles for every U.S. dollar spent.
-AAdvantage Executive Platinum member earns 11 miles for every U.S. dollar spent.
According to American, “Basic Economy tickets issued on or after January 1, 2023, for travel starting March 1, 2023 will earn award miles at a rate of 2 miles per dollar in addition to Loyalty Points. Status members’ bonus percentages will apply to the base mileage rate of 2 miles per dollar on American and other select partner airlines.”
If it’s confusing, see this sample calculation below from an example direct from AA.com:
AAdvantage member flying round-trip on an American-marketed flight from Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) to London-Heathrow (LHR) on a Main Cabin fare ticket:
The Number of Loyalty Points Needed
Here’s the number of Loyalty Points you need to gain elite status:
AAdvantage Gold 30,000
AAdvantage Platinum 75,000
AAdvantage Platinum Pro 125,000
AAdvantage Executive Platinum 200,000
As I mentioned earlier, many loyal American fliers are using one of their co-branded credit cards to earn one Loyalty Point for every dollar spent. Here are the best credit cards for American Airlines fliers in 2023.
I’m short points and I have a large annual purchase each March, made to my website hosting company, so I came up with the great idea to have them bill me early. I called Citi to see if they would move my monthly billing cycle but they wouldn’t. What hurts is that my typical billing date is the second day of each month, meaning I’m going to lose out on those points for last year by two days. So now I have to get creative to earn 10,000 loyalty points in the next couple of weeks.
I could do some shopping using American’s shopping portal but I don’t need anything. But while researching quick and relatively cheap ways to earn Loyalty Points, I remembered the best way to earn AA Loyalty Points is by booking hotels using Rocketmiles. Rocketmiles doesn’t have any bargains on hotels and you won’t be able to use any of your elite hotel benefits if you book a chain like Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott … So the real value in booking via Rocketmiles is that there are hotels where you can earn up to 10,000 points for one night’s stay.
Unfortunately, the 10,000-point-a-night rooms seem to be for rooms costing $1,000 or more. I’d rather take that money and buy a business class ticket to New York and earn 11,000 points.
But I did find a hotel in L.A. for $289, which earns 5,000 Loyalty Points a night. Now that’s a deal. The problem is I don’t need a hotel in L.A. and I feel bad just checking in and not using it. I thought about giving it to a homeless person but there’s too much risk in case they trash the place or steal something.
So it looks like we might be taking a mini vacation next week. I’m just trying to figure out where. Then of course, the other thing that keeps popping up in my head is: Is American Airlines Elite Status even really worth it?
- How to Save Money With a Secret Third Carry-On
- How to Use Your Wireless Headphones to Watch In-Flight Movies
- 10 Airport Security Hacks Every Traveler Should Know
- How to Get the Best Coach Seat on the Plane
- The Sleep Hack Every Traveler Needs to Know
- Never Get Your Valuables Stolen on the Beach
Love to save money when you travel? Sign up to Johnny Jet’s free newsletter and check out these popular posts: 10 ways to find cheap flights and 12 ways to save money on baggage fees. Follow Johnny Jet on MSN, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube for all of my travel posts.