American AAdvantage has just launched three promotions that make it easier to qualify for status this year (that status would be valid for all of 2022, and through early 2023). It was rumored that we’d see something like this, and this also follows American recently extending systemwide upgrades issued in 2020.
First let’s recap the current elite qualification requirements, and then we’ll talk about the new promotions.
American AAdvantage 2021 elite requirements
In late 2020, it was announced that American AAdvantage would lower elite requirements for 2021, in light of the pandemic. At the time we saw the airline reduce elite qualification thresholds by around 20%, meaning that qualifying for status requires the following activity this year:
- Gold status requires 20,000 EQMs OR 20 EQSs AND 2,000 EQDs
- Platinum status requires 40,000 EQMs OR 40 EQSs AND 4,500 EQDs
- Platinum Pro requires 60,000 EQMs OR 70 EQSs AND 7,000 EQDs
- Executive Platinum requires 80,000 EQMs OR 95 EQSs AND 12,000 EQDs
On top of that, for 2021, American is waiving the EQD requirement for Gold, Platinum, and Platinum Pro members, if they spend at least $30,000 on an eligible AAdvantage credit card (there’s no such waiver for Executive Platinum members).
New American AAdvantage elite promotions
In addition to the reduced elite requirements, American AAdvantage has just launched three promotions that make it easier to earn status this year. This includes:
- Bonus Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQDs) with no flying requirements, ranging from 500 to 3,000 EQDs depending on your status
- Bonus Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) for upcoming flying, ranging from 2,500 to 10,000 bonus EQMs depending on status
- The ability to purchase bonus Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) for $495, ranging from 2,500 to 10,000 bonus EQMs (and you earn EQDs for the purchase)
With that out of the way, let’s go over the details of these promotions (you can find all of these promotions by logging into your American AAdvantage account and going to the “promotions” tab).
Earn up to 3,000 bonus EQDs
American AAdvantage elite members can earn bonus Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQDs) just for registering by August 31, 2021. There’s no flying requirement, and bonus EQDs will be deposited within 24 hours. Here’s a breakdown of how many bonus EQDs you can receive:
- AAdvantage Gold members receive 500 bonus EQDs
- AAdvantage Platinum members receive 1,000 bonus EQDs
- AAdvantage Platinum Pro members receive 1,500 bonus EQDs
- AAdvantage Executive Platinum members receive 3,000 bonus EQDs
Earn up to 10,000 bonus EQMs for flying
American AAdvantage elite members can earn bonus Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) for registering by August 17, 2021, and flying by August 31, 2021. Members can earn bonuses on up to 10 flown segments during the promotion period, as follows:
- AAdvantage Gold members earn 250 bonus EQMs per segment, up to 2,500 EQMs
- AAdvantage Platinum members earn 500 bonus EQMs per segment, up to 5,000 EQMs
- AAdvantage Platinum Pro members earn 750 bonus EQMs per segment, up to 7,500 bonus EQMs
- AAdvantage Executive Platinum members earn 1,000 bonus EQMs per segment, up to 10,00 bonus EQMs
Purchase up to 10,000 bonus EQMs
American AAdvantage will sell elite members bonus elite qualifying miles. To take advantage of this, registration is required by August 31, 2021. You’ll have to make a $495 payment, and then you’ll receive a certain number of EQMs and EQDs within 24 hours.
All elite members will earn 495 EQDs for the purchase, while the number of EQMs earned depends on status, as follows:
- AAdvantage Gold members earn 2,500 bonus EQMs
- AAdvantage Platinum members earn 5,000 bonus EQMs
- AAdvantage Platinum Pro members earn 7,500 bonus EQMs
- AAdvantage Executive Platinum members earn 10,000 bonus EQMs
My take on these American AAdvantage promotions
Okay, American AAdvantage, now we’re finally talking. Between elite requirements having been lowered by roughly 20% already, and these three promotions, status should be much more attainable for many people. As an Executive Platinum member:
- I’m being “gifted” 3,000 bonus EQDs
- I can earn 10,000 bonus EQMs by flying 10 segments by August 31, which is probably pretty manageable
- I can purchase an extra 10,000 EQMs and 495 EQDs by spending $495; while this promotion kind of leaves a bad taste in my mouth (American AAdvantage is basically asking for a donation here), I suspect this is something that many people will take advantage of
If I do fulfill all these requirements and spend $495, then I’d basically still need to earn 60,000 EQMs and ~8,500 EQDs. For what it’s worth, I’m currently at ~4,000 EQDs and ~32,000 EQMs for the year, so I’d still need to earn ~4,500 EQDs and ~28,000 EQMs. I would probably do that naturally.
Are these the most generous promotions ever? Nope. Are they enough to probably keep me on the American AAdvantage hamster wheel? Yes, probably, especially since I live in Miami, where having status with American is valuable. Furthermore, with American’s new Elite Choice Rewards, there are more tangible rewards to requalifying for Executive Platinum status.
American AAdvantage has launched three separate promotions to make it easier to qualify for status this year, in addition to elite requirements already having been lowered by ~20%. Elite members will receive some “free” EQDs, can earn bonus EQMs for upcoming flights, and can also outright purchase EQMs, and earn EQDs for that purchase.
While this isn’t my dream promotion, it does the trick. It’s also a good mix between giving members something for “free,” incentivizing them to travel, and even outright generating revenue (which I’m not a fan of, in light of circumstances, but…).
What do you make of these American AAdvantage status promotions?