Why I won't be retaining my Executive Platinum status with AA in 2019Last week, American Airlines (AA) sent me an email with the following subject line: “Elevate your 2019 elite status.” I was happy to see it so early because I’d been wondering how much the airline would charge me to retain my elite status without any more flights in 2018. The same email came in late 2017, and it got me pondering, but it was sent in mid-December instead of early November.

American has four published elite status levels, listed below with their 2018 requirements:

  • Gold: 25,000 EQMs or 30 EQSs and $3,000 EQDs
  • Platinum: 50,000 EQMs or 60 EQSs and $6,000 EQDs
  • Platinum Pro: 75,000 EQMs or 90 EQSs and $9,000 EQDs
  • Executive Platinum: 100,000 EQMs or 120 EQSs and $12,000 EQDs

Key, via AA’s elite status homepage:
EQMs (Elite Qualifying Miles) represent a percentage of the actual miles flown (including applicable minimum mileage guarantees) based on the airline and the booking code purchased. EQSs (Elite Qualifying Segments) are segments you earn on eligible purchased tickets for flights on American or partner airlines. EQDs (Elite Qualifying Dollars) are awarded based on ticket price (includes base fare plus carrier-imposed fees, but excludes government-imposed taxes and fees) on American Airlines-marketed flights.

AA also has one unpublished elite level called Concierge Key, the requirements for which aren’t made public. I know, however, that it’s reserved for the highest-spending customers. Supposedly, you have to spend at least $50,000/year or be in charge of a large corporate account to qualify. It obviously comes with a ton of perks—most visibly the chance to board before first class.

Back to my situation: I’m an Executive Platinum (EP) and to date in 2018 I’ve flown 90,474 miles but spent “only” $8,792 (see screenshot below). Sadly, last year American began measuring their customers’ value by how much they spend instead of how many miles they fly. It was a smart business decision, but it still sucks for anyone that doesn’t have deep pockets or a large corporation funding their travels.

I have almost a dozen AA flights on the books between now and December 31, so I’ll easily cross the 100,000 EQM mark (the Executive Platinum requirement). The problem is that they’re all cheap fares, which means that I’ll end up a couple thousand dollars short of the Executive Platinum spend mark. Unless I get lucky and have a large corporation buy me a last-minute, expensive ticket, I won’t be retaining my Executive Platinum status in 2019.

I won’t be buying it either, because from American’s initial offer (you can see your own offer by logging in here) it appears that it’s now charging the amount that you’re short in EQDs (or around there). I’ve spent $8,792 so far in 2018, and as you can see from the screenshot below, the airline is offering me Platinum Pro for $495 or Executive Platinum for $3,465. I was hoping that my Executive Platinum offer would be a lot better, but obviously that’s not the case.

2020 is going to be even more difficult for anyone seeking status, as American is increasing the spend requirement for Executive Platinum status to $15,000 and getting rid of a great perk: the ability to use the Barclays Aviator card to get up to $6,000 EQDs taken off, which was huge for big-spending users. If you ask me, that card is now garbage.

I’ve already started booking away from American, even though it’s difficult to give up the EP status, which gives me free domestic upgrades, four system-wide upgrades, three checked bags with up to 70lbs each (I never cared about checking heavy bags until I started traveling with my son), and other perks.

How about you? Do you have status with AA, and if so are you sticking with them next year? Let me know in the comments below.


21 Comments On "Why I Probably Won't Be Retaining My AA Executive Platinum Status in 2019"
  1. Kalpesh Shah|

    Great post! Thanks for sharing this amazing post.

  2. JessR|

    Hey Johnny – I agree with most all of what you posted on this topic but the Barclays Aviator (Silver), will give $3000 EQD toward 2020, now with a $50K spend. So they’ve cut this benefit in 1/2. That, plus the higher AA requirement makes this much tougher to hit for 2020.

    1. Johnny Jet|

      Good point! Thanks for correcting me.

  3. Robin|

    I’m pretty much done with American Airlines. On our last flight with them, we had so many delays that we missed the connection from LAX to Fresno CA. We were offered an overnight stay as no other flights were available that night. My husband had a cardiologist appointment the next day, so we asked if we could rent a car instead. Customer services told us we could and they would reimburse for the rental and gas, but not insurance coverage. We rented the car and when I submitted the bill (under $100) I was told they do not cover that. I had made the mistake on not getting this in writing from the customer service rep so I was out the money.
    This was not the first problem with them. I’m going to use up my miles and take my business elsewhere.

    1. Johnny Jet|

      I hope you escalated your claim. If not, you should.

  4. Drew|

    Great Post and I feel your pain. I actually appreciate the excusive community that Delta has with Diamond because you need 125,000MQMs and $15K in spend. Even though I have been a Diamond since the inception of Diamond, I am sitting at LGA as #8 on the upgrade list AND I have their premium credit card. Travel is often less fun than it needs to be.


  5. Penny Francis|

    Long time AA flyer, many years Plat, but passed on buying up to Plat ($1299) for 2018, thus currently Gold. Side note: they offered me Plat for $1299 as late as 4/2018… yeah right.
    I have AA linked CCs and am an avid shopper thru the AA portal as well, earning 30K plus miles in purchases & bonuses etc. in 2018. I never leave miles on the table if I can help it and have redeemed for some great experiences in F/J on CX, BA etc.

    2018 travel easily exceeded 25K miles, but came in $300 short on EQDs. I would have made it but for an injury that forced me to cancel that trip and leaves me unable to fly the rest of the year. They want $595 to buy up.

    I have become disillusioned with paying more, longer flights/more segs, and ultimately getting less value. Am currently looking at an open jaw trip PDX-FLR/FCO-PDX for early Sept. 2019. AA site is consistently difficult to work with; I miss the ability to choose by schedule versus price. I want to route PDX-DFW-MAD-FLR and am willing to purchase PE, but they won’t sell PE. And the prices on AA’s site are a lot higher than DL and others. Google flights comes in about $400+/-cheaper for identical flights (And I am careful to buy AA ticket stock), but still no PE.

    Dumped my Sky Pesos 10 yrs go, but am thinking of making up….

  6. Romeo Danais|

    Flying used to be fun, now its a chore!

  7. Diana Garrity|

    After our last flight on American going to Portugal in September we’re definitely not using our American Credit card! We flew from Chicago toPhiladelphia then at 8:00 pm we were to take off for Portugal but by 3:00 am flight was cancelled. Too disorganized, no food, had to fly to Toronto the next day they put us on cheapest airline to Portugal but we had to pay for our unused first night in Lisbon. The cancelled flight wasn’t due to weather. They have no customer service! They really don’t care about there customers!!

  8. Tim|

    Look into booking a long-haul partner award and earning EQDs as a percentage of miles flown (rather than dollars spent). I was able to find a cheap PE fare to India last year that netted me 22% of total miles flown as EQD. Easily got me over the spend hurdle.

  9. Marvin Bachman|

    what is a PE fare as I have missed out on something

    1. Johnny Jet|

      Premium Economy

  10. Lorain|

    I am a lifetime Platinum and received a similar email to pay and jump to Platinum Pro. I have the miles but slightly short on dollars by approx. $1,300. I might do it. But I heard from a flight attendant that American is going to phase out their TV screens on the back of each seat because too many break and the weight of the screens and hard drives are an issue. American want you to use your own device (tablet, laptop, phone, etc.) to download a movies from their go go inflight blah blah. Johnny, can you comment on this??

    1. Johnny Jet|

      The FA is right. They are phasing them out on most new aircrafts. Not the long haul 787, 777, A321T (NYC-LAX/SFO)…

  11. Kyle Wyman|

    Right now I’m on par to be almost exactly 10,000 EQM’s short of EXP for 2019… my buy up offer is $2395

    The kicker? I’m at a whopping $14,882 EQDs… well past the $12k minimum.. plus spend about $20k a year on flights for my company, all tracked through Business Extra. Can’t they throw me a bone?

    1. Johnny Jet|

      That’s ridiculous. They should definitely be throwing you a bone.

  12. Tim|

    I’m in the same boat, Johnny. I spent $16,000 + but was 6,000 miles short of qualifying. I came here today because they have sent me the same offer to keep my EP status for 2019 ($1945) three times since December. I’m thinking of calling them today to see if they will reduce it any. I do have a long trip to Hawaii coming up and being based in Miami, that’s a big trip and the upgrade would be worth it right there. Bonus if I can bring a friend on my systemwide. Unfortunately AA is the only game in town for people in Miami, unless you want to KNOW in advance you are connecting to go just about anywhere. I travel to Latin America, Vegas, and the odd Europe trip, so the bonus on miles is what’s in my head. The upgrades for easy flights across the USA is nice. I probably sound like I’m talking myself into it, but as someone who has had it for 4 years now, it sucks I have to pay that much after spending so much in 2018 and just missing it. Thoughts?

  13. Robin|

    I’ve been flying exclusively with American for 3 years ( average 3 flights a week). Their fleet is sooo bad. The seats are tiny and so uncomfortable. Employees are unpleasant. Going to start flying United as of Monday.

  14. Jeff|

    Being AAdvantage member since 1999 and a Platinum member for the last 10 years until 2018. Had enough EQMs but $1,100 short of EQDs so holding Gold now. Will have more than 60K EQMs this year but about $1,000 short of EQDs again in 2019 so I signed up Aviator Business Card in February specifically for its $3000 EQDs benefit. Met the $25,000 spending mark last month but seen no EQDs so far. Barclays’ website still shows that $3000 EQDs as Aviator Business cardholder’s benefit but that benefit has disappeared from American’s website. Do you know if American has stripped that EQDs benefit from Aviator Business Card without notifying the cardholders?


    1. Johnny Jet|

      Hi Jeff,

      I reached out to Barclays and this is what they had to say: As for your reader’s question, the EQD benefit does still exist on the Aviator Business Card (it was not removed when we removed it from Consumer Aviator Red).

      Here are a couple reasons why his $3K EQDs may not yet be appearing:
      • If he hasn’t yet reached $25K in NET purchases (i.e., excludes returned goods/services, cash advances, convenience checks, transferred balances, credit, fees and finance charges
      • If it hasn’t yet posted – i.e., it’s less than 6-8 weeks after his meeting the $25K spend requirement (that is the amount of time we state in the Business Card Reward Rules

      The max across all AAdvantage products is $3000 EQDs per calendar year. So, if the reader already earned $3000 EQDs he would be ineligible for additional.

  15. Miko B|

    Agree. And with executive platinum status I was only wait listed for the promised upgrades – which I did not receive! I did my best to qualify but AA promises fall short and do t deliver. Alaska is much fairer. United will accept my AA EXEC PLAT status for a free month trial. WHY NOT? And customer service at AA pacified w maybe a few miles but NOT ELITE. IM UNHAPPY.

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