American AAdvantage Status Challenge Returns

American AAdvantage Status Challenge Returns

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American AAdvantage has historically offered a status challenge program, which is a way to fast track elite status, typically at a cost. American had suspended this when the new Loyalty Points system was introduced earlier this year. There’s an update — American’s status challenges have finally made a comeback, in the form of a rather smart yet complicated program named “Instant Status Pass.”

AAdvantage Instant Status Pass program

American AAdvantage’s Instant Status Pass program isn’t particularly straightforward. The first thing to understand is how you’re eligible for this:

  • You may see an offer in the promotions tab of your AAdvantage account to enroll in this offer
  • You can call AAdvantage customer service at 800-882-8880 in order to enroll
  • There will typically be a cost, and the cost will vary by person, depending on your existing status, the status you’re going for, etc.; some people may even be targeted for a free status challenge

Ordinarily a status challenge requires completing some activity during a limited window (usually a few months), and then you receive the status for an entire year. American wants to make sure people stay more engaged, so the airline is requiring members to complete challenges in three consecutive phases (each four months), in order to maintain status for an additional year.

When you enroll in Instant Status Pass:

  • In phase one, you’ll receive elite status for four months, and during those first four months you have to earn a certain number of Loyalty Points in order to maintain the status for another four months
  • In phase two, you’ll receive the status for another four months, and have to earn a certain number of Loyalty Points to maintain the status for an additional four months
  • In phase three, you’ll receive the status for another four months, and have to earn a certain number of Loyalty Points to maintain the status for an entire additional year

In phase one, each elite tier requires earning the following number of Loyalty Points (this is roughly one third of the normal annual requirements, which makes sense):

  • The AAdvantage Gold status challenge requires earning 10,000 Loyalty Points in the first four months
  • The AAdvantage Platinum status challenge requires earning 25,000 Loyalty Points in the first four months
  • The AAdvantage Platinum Pro status challenge requires earning 42,000 Loyalty Points in the first four months
  • The AAdvantage Executive Platinum status challenge requires earning 67,000 Loyalty Points in the first four months

After completing the first phase, you’ll receive an email with instructions for the second phase. Then after completing the second phase, you’ll receive an email with instructions for the third phase. My guess would be that the second and third phases have similar Loyalty Points requirements, and that this essentially requires you to just earn the same number of Loyalty Points as you’d usually need over the course of a year, just in smaller, four month chunks.

Loyalty Points can be earned in a variety of ways (including through non-flying means), so in theory you could complete this challenge with credit card spending, for example.

American has brought back a status challenge

My take on American’s Instant Status Pass concept

I have mixed feelings about American’s new Instant Status Pass concept. On the plus side, I think most would agree that this won’t do much to dilute status, since it takes a lot of effort to maintain status, and it’s only awarded in four month increments.

Furthermore, I’m impressed by the thought that went into this status challenge concept. The issue with some challenges is that members will be really active in the program for a few months (during the trial period), until they earn their status for a year, and then they drop off.

What American is doing here is a smart way to engage prospective customers, and offer them something upfront while still making sure they stay on the “hamster wheel,” even after the first trial period. That’s smart.

All that being said, I can’t help but feel like all of this sounds a bit complicated for the average consumer, and lacks transparency. In many cases people will be paying a significant amount of money upfront in order to be able to participate:

  • Understanding this concept is complicated to begin with
  • On top of that, American won’t tell people what the second and third challenges are, so you don’t fully know what you’re signing up for

Now, I imagine over time we’ll get lots of data points, and will be able to determine what’s required during phases two and three. But for now I’d say this program is a bit confusing.

I have mixed feelings on American’s Instant Status Pass

Bottom line

American Airlines has introduced Instant Status Pass, which is the name of a new status challenge program. While different members may be eligible for different offers, the idea is essentially that you’ll have an initial four month period during which you need to earn roughly one-third of the standard Loyalty Points requirements.

You’ll then have two more four month periods where you need to complete certain activity in order to earn status for an additional year. This program seems both complicated, and a good way to engage members beyond an initial trial period.

What do you make of American’s Instant Status Pass program?

Conversations (22)
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  1. Evan Guest

    Adjacent to this discussion, and Not sure if it’s only me, but AA’s new reward system is horrible. If I fly to US from Brazil 2x a month it’s easy to make Exec Plat (but incredibly costly) yet that doesn’t even get me any loyalty choice rewards like systemwide upgrades. Need 40 flights for that. There used to be a balance between $spent, miles and segments. Now you have to trip the segment hurdle before you get anything. Insanity.

  2. Mike in Reykjavik Guest

    If you sign up for Gold and hit the Platinum threshold of 25K immediately, is the level up to Platinum is instantaneous? Or are you stuck at Gold for 4 months until Phase 2 starts?

  3. JD in AZ Guest

    Just called and $750 for Plat Pro challenge. I am almost Plat already this year after just starting to fly them in July and will hit Plat Pro on my own in another 3 months tops. What a lame offer...Plat Pro isn't getting upgraded hardly ever when there's so many EPs out there now....so maybe it makes sense for some, but I see zero value in this over complicated new 'program' with a large up-front...

    Just called and $750 for Plat Pro challenge. I am almost Plat already this year after just starting to fly them in July and will hit Plat Pro on my own in another 3 months tops. What a lame offer...Plat Pro isn't getting upgraded hardly ever when there's so many EPs out there now....so maybe it makes sense for some, but I see zero value in this over complicated new 'program' with a large up-front cost unless you are trying to avoid baggage fees (if you travel with 2 - 3 bags on the regular).

    I should have never switched from United 1k to try something new, at least they value their loyal road warriors over at 'Ted'. Might be calling them back to do a FREE (yes United will status match for FREE!) status match after this failed AA experiment. Living in PHX, it has been nice getting more non-stops but still not worth the lack of value I received as a 1k Member for 10 years as a United guy and it seems like AA doesn't really want to 'fight' for my business. Fine by me...

    Also - AA Advantage Supervisor told me that they are not waiving this fee for anyone so that is either misleading or I was lied too by the phone rep.

  4. Nick In Chicago Guest

    I think the only reason they're doing this is they lost a lot of AAdvantage Elites this year by NOT rolling status such as United and Delta. Personally, I was merely an AA Platinum but status matched to United Gold and completed the requirements before losing AAPlat in March.

  5. Gary Rifkin Guest

    I'd be curious if you can use this promotion to KEEP your current level that you otherwise might not have been able to earn. For example, I'm ExecPlat but have no chance of getting the required Loyalty Points by the deadline as I've not flown AA much this year. I'd put all my spend on AA if I could requalify with a smaller number of LP in the 4 month period. Any insights?

  6. Anthony Joseph Guest

    This is a gimmick.... The next 4 months are pretty low season for travel. So, what would the Phase 2 and Phase 3 travel challenge requirements be since this runs into the busy summer season.
    I wouldn't trust American Airlines and Marriott for that matter where they are continuing to trash loyalty programs. This is what happens when bean counters are running things and don't understand reciprocal loyalty value particularly when going through recession...

    This is a gimmick.... The next 4 months are pretty low season for travel. So, what would the Phase 2 and Phase 3 travel challenge requirements be since this runs into the busy summer season.
    I wouldn't trust American Airlines and Marriott for that matter where they are continuing to trash loyalty programs. This is what happens when bean counters are running things and don't understand reciprocal loyalty value particularly when going through recession cycle in the economy.
    I also hate what AA has done to the Alaska Airlines FFP.

  7. GetToThePoints Guest

    #1 the employees know nothing about this. I finally got transferred to a department that supposedly did and she explained that I had to buy into (with real dollars) the level I wanted and then also get loyalty points. I asked what the status match actually offered. And she said it was the same as just spending on the credit card and getting 1 loyalty point on each dollar of spend in addition to the...

    #1 the employees know nothing about this. I finally got transferred to a department that supposedly did and she explained that I had to buy into (with real dollars) the level I wanted and then also get loyalty points. I asked what the status match actually offered. And she said it was the same as just spending on the credit card and getting 1 loyalty point on each dollar of spend in addition to the regular AA point you get (is this true?). And I said why then would anyone "buy" into a level. She didn't know. So, this article needs major clarification and AA needs to revamp their page and train employees BEFORE releasing some hair brained scheme.

  8. Matthew L Guest

    I called into AAdvantage customer service to see my offer/price. After 15-20 minutes on hold, got transfered to someone who told me she had to transfer me back to AAdvantage customer service ... waste of my time, not interested anymore

  9. purt11 Guest

    If a challenge were to begin this month, would the four months run only through the end of January (i.e., October, November, December, and January)? Or instead would the challenge run for 120 days?

  10. immer Guest

    Would fees for the challenge be reimbursed by credit cards that provide credit for airline fees?

  11. JGB Guest

    Ben, curious on your strategy in renewing your EXP status, if that’s what you’re planning - and how have you been earning loyalty points, and if short of 200k, how are you earning the rest by the end of Feb 2023? Would love to see your next post on this topic!

  12. LarryInNYC Diamond

    Sounds like:

    1. You pay them money

    2. You earn the SAME number of LPs in a year as before.

    3. You maintain status for 12 months.

    The only major difference is that your status starts earlier in exchange for some money. Earning the LPs is harder (it has to be spread out) and, if the status extension at the end is really 12 months (and not aligned to the status year) it might not last as long.

    1. Sel, D. Guest

      This isn’t 100% true. You earn miles and LP’s quicker once you’re EP. Much quicker if you’re flying.

    2. LarryInNYC Diamond

      Yes, good point there. Especially if you're starting from 0.

  13. mu Guest

    According to the post, "You may see an offer in the promotions tab of your AAdvantage account to enroll in this offer You can call AAdvantage customer service at 800-882-8880 in order to enroll."

    Is this targeted, or not?

    1. Lara S. Guest

      I am currently Plat Pro and didn't see anything in my account and do not have time to call them and wait on hold forever so it's not a great idea in my book since I can't imagine many people would go through this constant rigamarole. So even if it is targeted I am not a targeted person despite flying AA a couple times this year on paid business class tickets but also currently not...

      I am currently Plat Pro and didn't see anything in my account and do not have time to call them and wait on hold forever so it's not a great idea in my book since I can't imagine many people would go through this constant rigamarole. So even if it is targeted I am not a targeted person despite flying AA a couple times this year on paid business class tickets but also currently not likely to re qualify for PP.

      I also checked on my next month's AA flights and couldn't find anywhere where it said how many loyalty points I'll get for that itinerary (which at least United is fairly transparent about). So I'll stick with my United 1K and move my loyalty back there. Not that AA cares.

  14. Gravelly Point Guy Guest

    No thanks! Cramped seating, worst interiors ever and no seat back AVOD, they can shove it!

    1. GetToThePoints Guest

      My recent trip was great. Excellent staff, on time and attentive.

  15. Eskimo Guest

    Sounds like a pilot move to shift to a 12-month rolling status?

    1. BenjaminGuttery Diamond

      I hope not. I work HARD to earn my status, and throughly enjoy a few months of time each year where I'm not chasing anything.

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The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Evan Guest

Adjacent to this discussion, and Not sure if it’s only me, but AA’s new reward system is horrible. If I fly to US from Brazil 2x a month it’s easy to make Exec Plat (but incredibly costly) yet that doesn’t even get me any loyalty choice rewards like systemwide upgrades. Need 40 flights for that. There used to be a balance between $spent, miles and segments. Now you have to trip the segment hurdle before you get anything. Insanity.

0
Mike in Reykjavik Guest

If you sign up for Gold and hit the Platinum threshold of 25K immediately, is the level up to Platinum is instantaneous? Or are you stuck at Gold for 4 months until Phase 2 starts?

0
JD in AZ Guest

Just called and $750 for Plat Pro challenge. I am almost Plat already this year after just starting to fly them in July and will hit Plat Pro on my own in another 3 months tops. What a lame offer...Plat Pro isn't getting upgraded hardly ever when there's so many EPs out there now....so maybe it makes sense for some, but I see zero value in this over complicated new 'program' with a large up-front cost unless you are trying to avoid baggage fees (if you travel with 2 - 3 bags on the regular). I should have never switched from United 1k to try something new, at least they value their loyal road warriors over at 'Ted'. Might be calling them back to do a FREE (yes United will status match for FREE!) status match after this failed AA experiment. Living in PHX, it has been nice getting more non-stops but still not worth the lack of value I received as a 1k Member for 10 years as a United guy and it seems like AA doesn't really want to 'fight' for my business. Fine by me... Also - AA Advantage Supervisor told me that they are not waiving this fee for anyone so that is either misleading or I was lied too by the phone rep.

0
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