This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Disclosure, visit this page.

Why I'm not buying back my AAdvantage Executive Platinum status
Photo by Joshua Hanson on Unsplash

American Airlines (AA) just sent me an email (screenshot below) encouraging me to buy back my AAdvantage Executive Platinum status. I appreciate them giving me ample notice, but the offer was absurd.

I’ve been on the fence about staying loyal to American Airlines and its Oneworld partners. This year, I just crossed the million-mile mark on AA and it was a big letdown (there was no acknowledgement, and the lifetime perk of gold isn’t worth much). And after attending United’s Media Day, I feel that United is the better airline and going in the right direction. But I don’t like its new frequent flyer program since I’m not a big spender. Also, my United frequent flyer friends say that their upgrades rarely clear.

One thing I really like about American is that my upgrades do clear. Since I don’t have a traditional 9-to-5 job, I can be flexible with my schedule and take flights when I know my upgrades will most likely clear (like early morning or late at night on a Tuesday, Wednesday or best of all Saturday). American also flies to almost all the places I tend to go the most, like: Miami, New York, Hawaii, Chicago, London…

American also flies the 777 on its LAX-Miami route, which I do the most, and it has an excellent business class. The 52 seats are lie-flat and configured 1-2-1, making it a real premium product (photo above). When I get upgraded I can sleep like a baby, which makes the flight seem short.

Even when I can’t get upgraded, I usually can secure a premium economy seat (photo below), which is better than domestic first class with the exception of on the A321T plane.

So how does one qualify and what makes American Airlines AAdvantage Executive Platinum status so great? First of all to qualify, members need to fly either 100,000 Elite Qualifying Miles (EQM) or 120 Elite Qualifying Segments (EQS) AND spend $15,000 in a given year. The latter part was implemented last year and is a real obstacle for me, since I tend to buy the cheapest tickets.

What does AAdvantage Executive Platinum status get?

  • 4 one-way systemwide upgrades*
  • Complimentary auto-requested upgrades*
  • 100-hour upgrade window
  • 120% elite mileage bonus
  • Complimentary Main Cabin Extra and Preferred Seats*
  • 3 free checked bags
  • Additional rewards starting at 150,000 Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs)

My buy-back offer

As you can see from the screenshot below, so far this year I’m at $12,206 Dollars (EQDs), 99,096 Miles (EQMs) and 39 Segments (EQSs).

The craziest thing is my buy back offer (see screenshot below) is—get this—$2,995 or 299.5K miles!

Has AA lost its mind? Why would I or anyone ever spend that kind of money or miles for a level of status that’s not much better than the previous level (Platinum Pro) that I’ve achieved? To qualify for Platinum Pro, you need to fly either 75,000 Elite Qualifying Miles (EQM) or 90 Elite Qualifying Segments (EQS) AND spend $9,000 USD. Here’s what it gets you:

  • Complimentary auto-requested upgrades*
  • 72-hour upgrade window
  • 80% elite mileage bonus
  • Complimentary Main Cabin Extra and Preferred Seats*
  • 2 free checked bags

The bottom line

It’s the beginning of November so it’s a little presumptuous of AA to think that its frequent flyers are done flying for the year. Secondly, if it had better technology (or used it better), it would know that I have a bunch of trips already booked before December 31 that will put me past the minimum requirement. This is just another lame way that AA’s sales department is trying to squeeze more money out of its most loyal flyers. And no, I’m not paying up for AAdvantage Executive Platinum.

What’s your AA buy-back offer?

To check your own renewal price, check this link. I’m curious what your buy-back offer was, so please post in the comments below how much AA wants to charge you and how many miles/dollars you’ve accrued so far in 2019.


66 Comments On "Why I'm Not Buying Back My American Airlines Executive Platinum Status"
  1. Steve Solosky|

    Johnny, it seems to me as if American Airlines has lost its way. It is obvious to me, the shareholders come first, followed by management, then the unions. The customer gets to pay for it all. American seems to be cutting back services (for instance, as of November 1, 2019, they have further restricted access to the Admiral’s Club) and treating customers poorly, trying to squeeze every penny they can from them without improving service. I am seriously considering switching my loyalty to another airline too.

    Steve Solosky

  2. Kevin Revolinski|

    $1995 or 199.5k miles (almost all I have) to buy GOLD?!?! Lol. I struggle with them. I’ve had a lot of uncomfortable flights and hassles in the last couple years, but with credit card miles and flight miles I still have a lot of miles left and I’ve used them for some pretty extraordinary journeys.

  3. Bob C|

    $1745.00 for Plat Pro.
    If they bother to look at my reservations they would see that I am only 1027 EQM‘s away without shelling out more money to AA.

  4. Traveler|

    About five years ago I gave up my American Airlines credit card and no longer collect AA miles as I don’t fly them any more. It was too difficult to book flights with them and always required a ridiculous number of miles. Because I am no longer tethered to them, I no longer have to pu tup with their horrible service. Lots of other better airlines out there.

    I now use the Barclay Card (US) exclusively. All travel is eligible, regardless of company, and it is a cinch to redeem points.

  5. Michael Hollander|

    Would you believe that they want $495 to get me to platinum Pro! I have already reached the miles and I am less then $300 dollars away! I already have 2 flights booked to get me over…but if I did not, it would be cheaper for me to fly somewhere then to pay their ransom!

    1. Johnny Jet|

      Agreed. With these kind of offers there’s no way AA is making any extra revenue.

  6. Dmoney|

    Platinum status 1200 or 120k miles

  7. Kristi L White|

    I got the same email this week. I am 7 miles from qualifying (basically my flight home today). Plus I have 25K more miles booked between now and 12/31. They are seriously lost.

    1. Johnny Jet|

      Seriously lost!

  8. Rick|

    I am 5 segments and $3200 Spend from executive platinum.
    I am booked for 9 segments and will hit my $50k spend threshold to earn $3k eqd on my aa silver card next month to reach spend requirements. My offer was $2867 to reach EP status.

    They are clueless.

  9. Erik Durrant|

    $3,095 or 309.5k miles to get Executive. After this week I’ll be 15 segments shy of Executive. I’ll hit that by mid December. For someone who flies out of DFW and mostly north or south east, I have to rely on segments and many layovers through Chicago or Charlotte to achieve this status. I’ve only been flying like this for 2 years now and am already disappointed with AA and how much I’ve felt taken advantage of.

  10. ANK|

    Mine is absurd….my stats are very similar to yours. EQD-$11,075; EQM-104,172; EQS-49. My offer was $4,114 or 337.5 miles for Executive Platinum. Why the extreme contrast compared to your offer??? Ridiculous!

    1. Johnny Jet|

      Ridiculous is right!

  11. Benjamin G Guttery|

    I’m well over the dollar amount for Platinum Pro, and 4,000 EQM’s away (which I have a “First Class DFW-NYC flight in a week that’ll put me over). They sent me an email asking for $1400 OR 119k Miles!!!! And they DON’T Re-Send offers or redo them after you hit the next level. Plus, the “sales/marketing” dept is non existent when it comes to talking to them, EVER. I’m really upset with American this year. Being fully self employed, I can choose where to spend my money, but living in DFW I feel like I’m trapped.

    1. Johnny Jet|

      That’s ridiculous. I don’t think many (if any) will take their offer. I’m guessing 2%. However, your offer should change if you fly/spend more before Dec 31

  12. Will|

    It’s all Doug Parker’s fault

  13. Tennessee|

    I was offered this as well. I usually fly on American’s A321T. However, I’m not willing to spend that much money.

  14. Strev|

    Mine is $495 or 59.5k miles for Gold. I have dollars spent for gold but about 7k on miles or 8 segments. I don’t fly a bunch but it’s usually last minute… trying to decide if it’s worth. If I end up flying more this year would my offer get better since I would get closer to Gold? I doubt I hit the threshold with buying status.

    1. Johnny Jet|

      They most likely will offer you a better deal if you fly/spend more. They did last year

  15. Laura Henry|

    They want $395 or 47,000 miles for me to retain Gold. I’m currently $171 in EQDs away, 2,140 EQMs away, and 2 EQSs away. I have more than enough travel booked through the end of this year prior to them giving this offer.

  16. Eric|

    My offer is $2695 or 270K miles. I am sitting at 94k EQMs and 13k EQDs with four more coast to coast trips booked remainder of the year. I think in other countries this is referred to as extortion.

  17. Marie Adair|

    Funny. I left a positive comment yet it’s mysteriously gone. Imagine that. Biased much?

    1. Johnny Jet|

      It didn’t come through if you left one. You sure you hit submit? We post all comments.

  18. Buddy|

    I was laughing this morning at the same thing when I read my offer. I dont fly as far as you and need just under 2k miles to hit Platinum status as I am currently Gold. My offer was $950 or 100k miles.

    Why would I spend a grand upgrading to Platinum. I have already spent almost 14k in EQDs.

    I also have at least two more trips this year that should get me more than 2k EQMs…

  19. Bill|

    I’m 4511 miles shy of Gold. My offer was$395 or 39.5k miles. It’s cheaper to book a flight and go somewhere. Will they offer something better as the end of the year gets closer?

    1. Johnny Jet|

      They did last year as long as you flew/spent more

  20. Maxine Hopkinson|

    Got three same thing. I met the Eqd number and have a flight left that will land me at Platnium Pro. My offer was $1499 or 149k points. I currently have about 1.4m miles, which I plan on using for upgrades on long-haul flights.

  21. Jane BERLINER|

    I have been a platinum member for 4 years now. I taveled more this year than any other, and mostly on AA, but I am $750 and 1500 miles from gold with 3 trips planned before the cutoff

  22. Kevin Brandon|

    You state that United’s program won’t work for you, because you’re a big spender. Then you say that you’re concerned about upgrades clearing (so you’re not spending these big $ on paid premium class). Then you show your totals where you’re having problems meeting AA’s minimum spend. So which is it?

    1. Johnny Jet|

      I’m NOT a big spender. Where do I state I’m a big spender?

  23. Brian C Jones|

    Similar occurrence with me in 2017. I flew 125,000 miles but only spent $10,250 ($12,000 for that yr to reach Ex Plat). I did not pay the difference to maintain the status and for the first time in almost 15 yrs I did not qualify. I did not notice the difference from Ex Plat to Pla Pro on domestic flights. It was huge on partner airlines and First Class Lounge access. I am now flying well over 250,000 per year and have been Ex Plat since.

  24. John G|

    I received my “offer” yesterday. Currently platinum pro, sitting with 60,000 EQM, $15,500 EQD…my offer, $1950 or 234,000 miles. Which I don’t understand at all.
    My sister is EP, 96,000 EQM $18,000 EQD
    Her offer $1850 or 185,000 miles, or a combo of miles and cash. I have NO idea why they want so many miles from me. I sure as hell won’t give them 234,000 miles.

  25. John G|

    I’ve been looking at all of the offers, unless I’m reading them wrong, it seems AA charges more for the status if your EQD is lower as opposed to your EQM’s being lower.
    My conclusion…..they care more about how much $$$$$$ you’re spending than how many miles you’re flying. Either way, it’s pathetic.

  26. Sarah|

    $10,056 spent, but I’m 20,000 miles and 14 segments short, I have 6 more segments booked so far thru end of year. They want $1750 or 174k miles to keep platinum pro thru end of year 2021, the 75+ flights I’ve taken in the last 28 weeks I think I had issues on 60% of them. I could easily clear another 8 segments for under $1750 but the idea of getting stranded it an airport any more than necessary makes me cringe. Thing is I’m going on my honeymoon to Hawaii in January and I really don’t wanna pay the $700 “co-pay” (insert eye roll here) to upgrade to first with points. Either way, if I want to be treated like a loyal customer, looks like I’ll have to spend some money. Ugh.

  27. Rob|

    My offer is $3225 for ExPlat – which I already requalified for (once the flights post). Charging more for status alone than it would cost to retain it with a ticket purchase is ridiculous. (Ignoring partner hacks) If I really wanted/needed another $3k in spend, I’d jump on a J fare and at least get an added experience out of it.

  28. Linda Wessling|

    Secure your Gold status for 2020
    Exclusive for you – Pay with miles for a limited time.
    71.5K miles

    Guess I’ll just take a trip. Or maybe not, now that I think about it.

  29. Jayna Patel|

    $1555 to hit Platinum. I hit gold earlier this year (which is useless and an AA representative told me that as well.) There are so many Platinum and Platinum Pro travelers that anything under Platinum Pro is useless. It’s hard to get upgraded because there are 16 people ahead of you with higher status.

  30. Josh|

    I am one of the rare ones that qualify based on flight legs, for Platinum Pro I am on #85 and my dollar spend is at $12,386 so that has already been met for next year. The offer is $1,095 to secure pro. Blasphemous!
    Since i am a flight leg person, due to my commute every week to work which is for 2 direct flight legs per week at 507 miles each. Am I the only one that finds it to be wrong that if i dont miss a week of work all year it is only 104 flight legs total, still short if exec platinum? Sorry, just something that drives me nuts, especially since my spend will more than pass the exec platinum minimum.

  31. matt|

    $1200 or 198K miles for up to platinum pro. Absurd. They had already swindled me into spending $540 instead of $240 for the AA platinum challenge bc I’d get immediate platinum benefits vs when I beat the challenge a few weeks later. Still might call them about that.

    It’s absurd really.

  32. Nathan|

    I love American. I am not a stuffed shirt though. The thousand’s of us upcoming business travelers are not this demanding for free crap. Any perks are a bonus. I’ve been upgraded several times this last year and I have sat next to some of the most self absorbed, rude idiots I have ever met. Being pushed by so a entitled flyer could get to their pre assigned seat 1 second before me. Chill out people,come back to humanity and enjoy life more. I guess money doesn’t make you happy but a humble attitude makes you human.

  33. joseph noormand|

    I had been a gikd member for many man years and a walking advertisement for aa. Since five years ago they enforced their long time policy of cutting benefits more diligently. I remember about twenty years ago they were so proudly announcing in their aa magazine that the then ceo had saved aa $20mil buy cutting one olive from the business class salad. They have persued the same tactic- cutting benefits forever. It was a coincident I got on delta flight JFK-lax and noticed their basic economy seats are larger than aa premium seats. I switched to delta and have been flying at least 75k/year and am very satisfied. Once I felt my luggage is heavy and after I checked in I went back to delta agent and asked how heavy was my luggage. With a smile she said lbs 58 and she had not told me a word. A few times I had to change. Y ticker with delta and no problem or the fees as charges. When I get such customer service from delta, of course I will go back to them. I wont be surprised if aa files for bankruptcy soon!

  34. Jesse R Logue|

    I will have 122 segments by year’s end but sadly fall $98.00 short of the 15K for EP. I have an option to upgrade to 1st class for cash ($295.00) on one of my flights but am not sure if that will count towards my EQD. Would appreciate any advice

    1. Johnny Jet|

      I don’t think the UG $ count. I would ask AA but once complete check what your new offer is. I hope it’s $100 but knowing AA it could be crazy so you might need to fly somewhere on a cheap ticket.

  35. Jeff Bue|

    My situation is similar: to reach EP status before EOY. ~$3600 or 490k miles. One word – RIDICULOUS

  36. DANIEL|

    Think, Doug Parker. First Piemont, then US Air, then America West, now American. He, and his team, messed up those airlines and now American. There is a definite trend. Seriously considering Delta’s swap program. Better airplanes, service and lounges.

  37. Gayle Fluster|

    AA does suck but if you fly out of DFW not a good choice. I worked there years ago and sad how crappy it has gotten. We need delta back in Dallas as a hub at least for choices and competition.

  38. Georgia|

    I’m only gold, but I have travel plans this month that should give me another 15,000 air miles to meet the 25,000 goal. My confusion is the EQDs. I bought the tickets earlier this year and spent over the $3,000 goal. Yet my account shows 0. Do they not post until I actually fly?

    1. Johnny Jet|

      Correct. They post it after your flight

  39. Mickey|

    To all of you that complained about having upcoming trips that will get you your status and the fact that AA doesn’t recognize this..trips CAN be cancelled. And quite honestly if you buy the status and then make those trips, it’s on you not them.

  40. AGE|

    I’m not defending AA nor am I commenting about their lazy programming to mine your AAdvantage future earnings. But, the OP is missing a few critical points (pun intended).

    First, yes, the miles purchase value is ridiculous. It’s not worth it. No doubt about it.

    Secondly, the cash buy “could” be valuable. It starts immediately upon purchase. It could add value for your remaining 2019 flights. If you don’t have trips to meet that next level in 2019 but know your 2020 plans, it could have value. You must compare EQDs and EQMs. Class of service on future trips may get you the EQMs but not EQDs. And the grand daddy of them all, the dollar buy wipes out the EQM requirements. It all depends upon how you bill or value your time. Taking mileage runs may be “cheaper” but what if you have the cash but not the time?

    And by the way, the EP System Wide Upgrades still holds great value for some Asia/Pac travellers especially for those traversing the East Coast and Midwest. If you don’t have flexibility, each leg could have a service cost value of $5 – 10K or more. Not intrinsic value mind you.

  41. Jennifer|

    I just checked and to retain Platinum Priority they want 2195 or 219k in miles. Ive currently spent $6688, have 70,249 miles, 52 segments. This just adds insult to injury over the recent changes with Admiral’s Club. Even if you paid for your membership if you are not flying on American you cannot use the lounge. This went into effect 1 Nov.
    More and more this Airline is becoming like US Air (which back in day I hated to fly)

  42. Bill Robinson|

    What amazes me is how docile you are to what points can even get you! In my opinion the entire points program with AA and most airlines is a scam.

    Upgrades: maybe! If no one with higher status wants the seat you want. So my points are inferior? The value is only if it suits AA’s needs? Why isn’t it first come, first serve? Or why aren’t points upgrades issued proportionality to frequent flier miles? I PAID for my points, why should I have to find oddball times and days (like you) to actually use them?

    But the real scam with AA is using miles to buy a flight. Tell them upfront (online) that you want to use miles and see what crappy choices you get. MUCH different from the selection when you are paying with money!

    Now, if you don’t tell them you want to use points, you get a great selection of flights but there is no way to tell them when you get to the payment that you want to use miles! That screen only takes cash money.

    So book it and think you can call and convert your credit card payment to a mileage payment through an agent? No way! Once paid, no changes.

    People like you and me, who use a credit card to acquire much of your miles are sadly gullible. Its deceptive at best and a rip off at worst. Non airline points have value. No discrimination on bookings. The way it should be.

    Class action anyone?

  43. Anonymous|

    Interesting how AA does math for these offers.They are all different. I got one for Gold. I agree they’re ahead of themselves – with holidays I could do lot of traveling. Just had 2 unexpected business trips across country. Service and on time flights won’t improve at any level.

  44. Tom Harmon|

    I recently flew from Chicago to Amman Jordan and then from Tel Aviv, to Amman and back to Chicago on a One World partner. The reservations were made thru an executive travel firm. When I inquired about the miles not being deposited in my account, they said the flights were basic economy and I did not spent enough to get credit for the miles. I fly basic economy alot of the time and always get credit in my account. I do not understand their logic. I have been flying American since it was TWA. If the miles don’t get deposited, I will start using another friendly skys airline. American airlines get a grip and start taking care of loyal customers.

  45. Nolan|

    I’m currently CK as gifted by my employer. I tried to see what my offer, but it tells me “No Offers Available” which is strange. I’m very close to EXP again $17k EQD / 90,500 EQM / 116 EQS and have enough flights booked to become EXP in the next ten days.

    Their $$$ offer Is always ridiculous and really more of a slap in the face than anything. I wonder how many people actually buy it?

    AA offers me the most upgrade potential out of my home airport, TPA. My colleagues (and wife) are Delta Diamond and routinely DO NOT get upgrades even on flights to ATL. AA isn’t perfect but they’ve got my loyalty and they fly nearly everywhere!

    1. Johnny Jet|

      agreed that’s why I’m sticking with them. Do you know how many coworkers were gifted CK status? I bet that’s why you aren’t getting an offer since they will most likely re-gift you.

  46. Nolan|

    Three were gifted it / new regime in the travel dept so I don’t know if I’ll get it for 2020. ?

  47. Peter P.|

    I currently have an EP Status and will likely not make EP for next year. I already met the requirement for Plat Pro, but I have yet to receive an offer for EP. When is it worth it to take their offer for EP? My EP status this was my first and I was able to use my SWU. In fact, I was able use 6 instead of 4 SWU to travel from LAX to HKG and Tokyo. I figured it was a glitch in their system. Upgrading to business on 3 international flights with my girlfriend was a huge change from coach. Would receiving 4 SWU be enough to accept their offer? I would have paid $6K per ticket on biz to HKG last year.

  48. Jerry H.|

    When I clicked on the button in the email to secure status, I received “No offers available” “Thanks for visiting. Our records show that you’re not eligible to receive an offer at this time.” even though they emailed me the offer. It stated the offer was good through Jan. 2020. I’ve already hit the segments for EP and less than $2K away from qualifying dollars. Is this a recent change? Any ideas?

    1. Johnny Jet|

      Hmmm…. That’s weird. I would try again tomorrow then call.

  49. Deval Shah|

    I have “no offer” when I checked the link. I have met $15k limit but 10k (70 seg) away to get to EP level with 100k miles flown in calendar year. I only have one trip left for the year so I don’t think I will reach EP by EOY. Any other way to get to EP if I don’t get an offer by AA marketing?

    1. Johnny Jet|

      If they’re aren’t giving you an offer and you already made the spend they will probably just give it to you. But keep checking. Might be worth taking a quick trip somewhere just in case. I would also call or email to find out

  50. Justin|

    Currently $12,353 EQD, 109,881 EQM; my offer is as of Dec 9 is $3599 or 425k miles

  51. GeorgicaPond|

    I was loyal to American for decades and have almost 2mm miles, but shoddy service, smaller planes on main routes that preclude any chance of upgrades unless one is Executive Platinum, ridiculous restrictions and ever changing policies that now make it impossible to qualify for higher levels unless one flies first class most of the time have made me leave the fold. I’m now flying JetBlue and Alaska, but keeping my AA credit card so that I can maintain my mileage. I will use it for international travel when I can and once it is drawn down then I’m out. The customer is no longer of value to American, but she is to JetBlue and Alaska.

  52. diane l|

    $795 to keep my gold status. Forget it. I’m with you..just buy the cheapest ticket and put mileage on the back burner. A couple years ago, they reduced the price of the offer after the new year. Let’s see if that happens again.

  53. Connie|

    I’m 700 short on EQD’s and of course over 3000 over on EQM’s which means nothing to AA that I sit on their planes so long. If I could afford $1000, I wouldn’t be sitting in their nosebleed section! I am finished with American Airlines.

    Meet the following requirements in a 3 month timeframe after paying the applicable fee:

    7,000 Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) + $1,000 Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQDs)

    8 Elite Qualifying Segments (EQSs) + $1,000 EQDs

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *