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American Airlines Elite Status

Fear of missing out or FOMO is very real in our world and the award travel world is no different. Folks have FOMO over all-time high credit card welcome offers, hotel status, airline status, airport lounges, etc. This holds true for American Airlines elite status as well. Once the program changes were announced in 2022, allowing folks to earn AA elite status solely via credit card spend, FOMO reached an all-time high and it certainly affected my decision-making in 2023. In light of this FOMO, and our general precautions about chasing status, I explain why I chased American Airlines status and offer ongoing updates to determine if my decision was correct.

3/31/24 Update: I have updated the chart to reflect upgrade results for March 2024.

Earning Elite Status

Beginning in 2022, American Airlines elite status is earned via accrual of Loyalty Points*. These Loyalty Points are the sole metric for elite status and no flight segments, flight spend, etc. are required. Loyalty Points are earned via:

  • redeemable miles earned on American Airlines, American Eagle, any oneworld airline and other partner airlines
  • credit card spend on American Airlines AAdvantage co-branded cards
  • AAdvantage eshopping portal, AAdvantage Dining, SimplyMiles, AAdvantage Hotels, and other AAdvantage partner programs

To earn elite status, one must earn Loyalty Points between March 1 and February 28 (or February 29) of the following year, as this is American Airlines' elite status earning year. The Loyalty Point thresholds for elite status are:

  • 40,000 Loyalty Points for AAdvantage Gold
  • 75,000 Loyalty Points for AAdvantage Platinum
  • 125,000 Loyalty Points for AAdvantage Platinum Pro
  • 200,000 Loyalty Points for AAdvantage Executive Platinum

Once you earn American Airlines elite status, you retain it for the remainder of the following elite year and the following year. For example, if you earn AAdvantage Platinum Pro on September 1, 2024, you retain Platinum Pro through March 31, 2026.

*Note: You can earn lifetime American Airlines elite status via the Million Miler program

American Airlines Elite Status

My Path to Elite Status

The idea of chasing American Airlines elite status began when booking my Bilt trip last year. As part of a positioning flight, I booked a 13+ hour Qsuites revenue fare for cheap and credited it to my AA account. After buying a new Macbook Pro for work during a 10 points per dollar AA shopping portal day, I quickly realized I was already AA Gold in just a short time. The wheels started turning and I began crunching numbers. American Airlines is now very convenient for us, as BWI and DCA airports are now equidistant for us. I decided to give it a shot and see what happened.

american airlines elite status

Starting in April 2023, I earned the following Loyalty Points this loyalty member year (March 1, 2023 to February 29, 2024):

  • 117,567 Loyalty Points via AAdvantage Shopping
  • 3,700 Loyalty Points via AAdvantage Hotels
  • 5,600 Loyalty Points via SimplyMiles
  • 497 Loyalty Points via AAdvantage Dining
  • 29,716 Loyalty Points via American Airlines and partner revenue flights
  • 75,311 Loyalty Points via American Airlines cobranded credit card spend
  • 20,000 Loyalty Points for holding an AAdvantage Executive card and hitting accrual thresholds

Total Loyalty Points earned: 252,391

I reached the 200,000 Loyalty Points threshold on December 28, 2023 and earned American Airlines Executive Platinum elite status. As I mentioned in my article detailing our experience with American Airlines systemwide upgrades, I prioritized spend on AA cobranded credit cards for January and February to reach 250,000 Loyalty Points, so I could choose four more systemwide upgrades.

My Experience as an Executive Platinum

Over the next fifteen months, I will regularly update this post to outline my successes and failures as an American Airlines Executive Platinum elite status member. Was it worth the work to get here? Who knows! We can all crunch the numbers and find out. So far, here are my flights as an Executive Platinum:

MonthRouteCash or PointsUpgraded?Time of Upgrade
JanMRY-PHXPointsNoNone
JanPHX-DCAPointsNoNone
JanDCA-TPACashYesDay Prior
JanTPA-DCACashNoNone
FebDCA-MKECashYesAt Boarding
FebMKE-DCACashYes3 Days Prior
MarDCA-TYSCashYesAt Boarding
MarTYS-DCACashYes3 Days Prior
Updated 3/31/24

As of March 31, 2024, I am 0 for 2 on upgrades for points flights (0%) and 5 for 6 on cash flights (83%). One of the lowlights of the first two months was the Phoenix to Washington, D.C. flight. The airplane had 12 seats in First Class and I was 15th on the upgrade list. At least I can book Main Cabin Extra seats at time of booking.

American Airlines Elite Status: ToP Thoughts

Is chasing American Airlines elite status for you? Um, maybe. I do think most folks can benefit from AAdvantage Gold, as you can select Main Cabin Extra seats at check-in, get complimentary upgrades and a free checked bag. Also, Gold status is easily obtainable without flying or putting much spend on a credit card. Simply shopping via the AAdvantage shopping portal and/or SimplyMiles throughout the year can easily reach the 40,000 Loyalty Points needed for Gold.

Overall, I am okay with my decision to chase American Airlines elite status in 2023. But I am waiting to see how beneficial the perks are before committing to earning anything more than Gold next year. As we always say, elite status is overrated for most folks and I am no exception. I am excited to see where this goes and will update you along the way.

Do you have American Airlines elite status? What are your thoughts? Come over to our Facebook group and let us know.

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