American Airlines Sending Out Targeted Status Challenges

American Airlines has just sent out a round of targeted status challenge offers. American seems to send these out a couple of times per year.

We’ll never know exactly what targeting techniques they use, though I imagine:

  • In some cases they’re probably going after former elite members who now fly American less
  • In other cases they’re probably going after non-elite members who have purchased full fare tickets on American in the past

American’s latest targeted status challenge

These offers are typically fairly widely targeted, and this one seems to be no exception. If you want to see if you were targeted, check your email for something from American with the subject line “Free Platinum status for you” or “Free Gold status for you.”

You can also follow this link to see if you were targeted, though if you didn’t get the email it’s unlikely you’ll be able to register.

With this offer, you:

  • Need to register by January 25, 2019
  • Receive complimentary status through May 15, 2019
  • If you were targeted for the Gold challenge you receive 10 free 500 mile upgrades, if you were targeted for the Platinum challenge you receive 20 free 500 mile upgrades (these don’t expire)

Then to earn the status through January 31, 2020, you need to earn a certain number of elite qualifying miles and elite qualifying dollars. There seem to be three versions of the offer for Gold, Platinum, and Platinum Pro.

For the Gold version of the offer you can earn Gold with 7,000 elite qualifying miles and 850 elite qualifying dollars.

Then with the Platinum version of the offer you can either earn Platinum with 12,500 elite qualifying miles and 1,500 elite qualifying dollars, or Platinum Pro with 20,000 elite qualifying miles and 2,400 elite qualifying dollars.

Then for the Platinum Pro version of the offer you can earn Platinum Pro with 20,000 elite qualifying miles and 2,400 elite qualifying dollars.

In order to qualify for the offer you need to register before flying (though it’s fine if your ticket was previously booked). Furthermore, eligible flights only include those operated by American Airlines or marketed by American Airlines for travel on British Airways, Finnair, Iberia, and Japan Airlines.

Why I’m conflicted about these challenges

I find the logic of these challenges to be interesting. Anecdotally it sure seems to me like the number of offers they’ve sent out the past couple of years has increased, which is interesting, because it’s at the same time that they’ve increased elite requirements.

I get the concept of trying to target new customers in order to create loyalty, and sometimes it works. There are some reports of people who haven’t flown American in years receiving this offer, which does make me wonder, though.

But what I question most about this is the logic of increasing elite requirements and alienating existing customers while also giving huge shortcuts to status with these challenges.

Were you targeted for one of these American status challenge offers, and if so, do you plan on taking advantage of it? What do you make of American’s frequent targeted status challenges?


  1. I received the offer. Former Executive (5 years ago) with no status, but I do buy full fare tickets. Was very pleased as I have a flight tomorrow! Works out well as I am in a new position that requires a decent amount of biz travel.

  2. So AA ups the EQDs to $15k this year for those of us that requalify every year then offers these easy challenges for those that probably don’t give that much business to AA. That’s why I’m trying to burn all my miles and crediting my international J flights to Alaska now.

  3. Yup, feels a little like those old US Air offers where you could simply pay for whatever status you wanted. Worked out so well for them, apparently, that they were able to take over a better airline.

  4. @Hal and not only do they up the EQD to $15000 to match Delta, they do not allow excess EQM rollover, as Delta does.

  5. Plat Pro offer received – a bit surprised as I’m in the UK and have never had status with AA! Already have BA Silver so no real benefit but took it anyway in case of any matching opportunities! (also added it to some BA redemptions on QF just on the off chance they credit!).

  6. I got the Platinum Pro offer. I’ve never had status with any airline but recently flew one leg from LAX-MEX and opened up a Citi AA business card this week. I doubt I’ll meet the requirements to keep it through Jan 2020, and honestly I do not care. I fly on points in business class on international carriers 75% of the time and Southwest the rest of the time. Besides, even if I got it, I probably wouldn’t get to use the benefits. But it was exiting to be targeted!

  7. Is it me, or does the Platinum Pro offer show up twice? Perhaps hire an editor? Your writing, especially, seems to need it.

  8. Received the Gold offer. I’ve never had status on AA and don’t fly too often but I’ve been a member for 25+ years. I already get a free checked bag with my AA credit card and some level of priority boarding, but I took the offer. I’m flying next week so we’ll see if it means anything for this trip.

  9. I received the platinum offer. I last flew AA 3 years ago on an AA award ticket. Never had status with AA or booked any tickets with money. Not much use to me at this point. I stopped collecting AA points when they ended their Canadian CC agreements.

  10. I got Platinum Pro! Regarding complimentary upgrades, does anyone know how AA handles this in practice on the 777 flights to Hawaii with premium economy? Terms say “upgrades are valid from the Main Cabin to the next class of service.” Does that mean upgrades can only clear into premium economy or will they still upgrade into business?

  11. I got the Gold offer and couldn’t care less. Gold status = meaningless and I prefer to spend my money on an airline where miles can actually be redeemed for flights without multiple overnight connections or insane BA fuel surcharges. I live in Chicago and would jump on this if United did something similar but, wait, they aren’t so quick to devalue their program.

  12. @chiguy1979, might not work for you, but my wife got plat pro offer last year and was able to leverage it to platinum challenge with United.

  13. 18 years of EXP and had some health issues this year. Had 56K qualifying miles in 3 months and AA told me to go pound sand. UA has given me 1K status for Q1 knowing my history and my travel history. It’s sad what’s happened to AA…Doug Parker has singalong handily destroyed a great airline.

  14. I received a gold offer. Used to be AA Gold for a few years in a row up until 2016. Only took a few AA flights last year, but one of them was paid first (maybe that helped?)

  15. Sweet. After flying 75 segments and earning Plat last year, people who don’t fly AA regularly get free Plat Pro and upgrade priority over me…

  16. I got the email and signed up. Not flying AA much, this appears to be equal to United Gold. It also appears that one cannot upgrade on transcontinental flights. If I read it correctly, upgrades would be limited to North America. True? The 20 free 500 mile upgrades are nice – does that mean I use 5 – 500 mile upgrades to go from SFO to NY? Sorry for the questions. Trying to figure out which airline to book my Feb. SFO to London trip as I also have Gold on United.

  17. Lots of tears on this thread. I’m guessing most people crying aren’t even personally paying for the majority of their tickets…

  18. Got a plat pro offer, but I’m scratching my head how I got targeted.

    I’m a long time aadvantage member, but I’ve been fairly inactive last several years. I got Delta gold recently, did Delta leak this info? Ive signed up with Hainan status challenge, was Hainan the culprit?
    Or more likely it was Cathay who passed my name and email address to AA, which is in the same alliance: yes, I’ve bought that flash sale F ticket and gave Cathay my name and email address.

  19. I received the offer for Platinum – as did my husband. While I generally don’t fly American often, I do have the Citi and Red card, and I have a number of flights coming up with American: Austin (paid revenue flight), Hawaii (booked using Avios), inter-island flight in Hawaiian (using AA miles) and Madrid (using AA miles). The only paid flight is my Austin flight for $260. Perhaps I’ll get lucky and can upgrade my flight to Hawaii. If not, I’ll just add the 20 500 mile upgrade segments to the 8 I already have.

  20. American Airlines is a joke I will never fly AA again in my life time they lost my luggage in Dallas airport
    From now on I’ll fly Southwest Airlines

  21. Received today an upgrade offer to gold status. But I didn’t sign, I have some other nicer alternatives for my usual flights.

  22. I was targeted for Gold, and as someone who recently moved to the Chicago area, I’m willing to give it a shot as a (now) leisure traveler. I’m assuming I was targeted from spending a lot of money for work travel from a few years ago? Either way, I’m not very high maintenance and will certainly appreciate the few opportunities to simply be moved into MCE enjoying a beverage or two while on a weekend getaway.

  23. Got platinum pro. The last time I flew AA was back in 2014.
    Qualified for delta gold last year. Not sure if aa got the information.

    However, I did not get any 500 mile upgrades. It still shows 0.

  24. Got the Platinum – but Gold with BA so unlikely to use it and not aware of any status match opportunities.

  25. @ddt that is because Plat Pro doesn’t need/use 500 mile upgrades. You already now have automatically requested unlimited upgrades on all flights so once you hit that level they become irrelevant.

  26. All of my flying (which fortunately isn’t much) is on my own money and I’m currently at the bottom with Gold. So yeah, it is annoying to give someone status w/o doing anything. Hopefully it means they are at the bottom of any upgrade list.

    Does anyone ever use those upgrade certs (500 mile ones) successfully? I just pay for the seat I want since my flights are cross country and I’d rather not risk sitting in coach.

  27. Similar to rich I also dedicated all my (almost entirely personal and out of pocket) flying to AA in 2018 and got Gold Status. It isn’t even so much that AA is giving it out to people for almost nothing, if they think that is good for business that is up to them.

    It is a little annoying that the promo version is even better than earning it, as they give you 10 free 500 mile upgrades, whereas if you earn it, you get 0 500 mile upgrades, just the “privilege” of being able to earn or purchase them, in the future, at further cost.

    Seems to me I am better off going back to being a free agent this year, using my gold perks when I fly AA, but not re-qualifying, as it seems that is how you get these offers. If you are already a loyal flyer they just want you to earn it the “normal” way.

  28. Data points: everyone in my fam w/ AA account got offer. Myself: mostly award redemption and last revenue AA flight in 2017 got Gold. My mom: maybe 2 revenue flights a year but otherwise mostly award flights got Plat offer. My wife: has AA account for credit card points and award redemption for others and has never flown AA revenue got Plat Pro offer.

  29. I have been Platinum Pro for many years. Last year I made EP. I was a few miles short in December and they sent me a cash offer to buy EP of around 2400 usd. I flew another couple of flights last month and they sent me an offer to buy EP for less than the cost of doing a mileage run, so I took it.

  30. Two accounts within my family received the offer for Plat Pro.

    Account 1:
    -Earned miles thru Citi AAdvantage Platinum CC until Feb 2018
    -Redeemed an AAdvantage award in Feb 2018
    -No flight activities within last 2 years
    -Award mile balance ~12500

    Account 2:
    -Earned ‘E-MILES’ in Aug 2017
    -No flight activities within last 2 years
    -Award mile balance ~25000

    Another family member account has similar activities and award mile balance as #2 above, but did not receive the offer. This goes to show that the offer may be somewhat random.

  31. Data point on the total randomness of the targeting criteria: my wife had never set foot in AA in her life, doesn’t have any US issued Credit Card, doesn’t have elite status in any Airline/Alliance, I only created her account about a year ago just in case, and never credited any mileage there.

    Yesterday she got the Platinum version of the Challenge/upfront status.

  32. Bummer! Nothing for me this time. Got the Plat Pro offer last summer (didn’t keep it) but earned 2,530 EQDs, 14,556 EQMs and 15.5 EQSs in 2018.

  33. I tried to use my AA advantage miles to go to Italy for one week in March. It would take 2 days to get there and a bunch of miles. In my opinion AA Citibank card is an illusion, a nightmare, a total wasre of money.

  34. I was targeted for Platinum. Have not come close to an elite status in 12 years. I still have four 500 mile upgrades from when I earned Gold I was never able to use. I have SPG Gold via 10 mostly award stays and Hilton Gold via Amex Ascend. My AA flights last year:
    SAN-NRT on JAL metal ticketed through Citi TYP (when Prestige TYPs were still worth 1.7 cents for AA)
    SAN-ORD-STL on AA award

    I’m sitting on way too many AA miles via credit cards after cancelling a couple of biz class tickets my folks weren’t able to use due to health issues.

  35. After 32 years of being an AAdvantage member, American has given me zero elite offers. I have the Barclay’s AA Red Aviator and Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard.

    In 2018 I flew 14 American revenue flights, and to Milan, London and Madrid on OneWorld partners British Airways, Iberia (Europe) and Qantas (Australia).

    I am Platinum with United; used to be 1K.

    The only thing American has ever offered me was last month in ORD, when I was on two different canceled flights in two weeks. American offered to rebook me for free.

  36. Got the Platinum offer. No status with any airline. Nearest airport served by AA is 3 hours away. Do redeem award tickets usually once a year, mainly Europe and Hawaii. Just finished a BusinessExtrAA award to Europe. No idea why I was targeted.

  37. I got an email for Platinum status last night and immediately activated the offer. It expires May 15th. Might have gotten the offer as I recently purchased a “full fare” business class ticket for myself and spouse for a MEX-PHX-SAN ow in Dec so we could get on the nonstop into PHX (threw away the PHX-SAN leg). Perhaps it also helped that I was Platinum eons ago, but I doubt it as that was at least 5-7 years ago(?) Anyway I am glad I got it, + 20 upgrades. Not counting on any upgrades ever clearing but at least we get free priority seating and 2 free bags checked as I have some travel to do between now and May 15th; and now that AA’s Saver award availability and married segment garbage to even score a business class seat between MEX-PHX totally sucks, this will help! As far as continuing to be loyal. No way. On a side note, @Lucky, I agree with you! Our recent MEX-PHX flight had an equip-change and it was a 737MAX. Business class seat very uncomfortable, or should I say horrible, fortunately for us it was nowhere from being full so we spread out and the F/A in business treated us wonderfully.

  38. 500-mile upgrade question, can I use them on a flight after May 15th or I have to have an elite status at the time of the flight in order for those 500-mile upgrade to be valid?

  39. No offer. Currently an Advantage platinum million miler. Guess they don’t value my business.

  40. Targeted for Platinum Pro (SF bay area) although I didn’t fly AA since 2015 and had Gold status only once. WTH?

  41. I didn’t receive an offer by email but complained to aadvantage customer service and got put in touch with someone offering something similar. my question is assuming i take the challenge and qualify for renewal until jan 2020, do the miles/$ i earned as part of the challenge also count towards renewal for the following period (ie until jan 2021)?

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