Have a travel related question? Post it here, and I’ll do my best to answer it as quickly as possible.
While anyone can comment on regular blog post, registration is required in order to post a question in this space. Creating your account is free, and you'll be able to see when your question is answered, as well as like comments from other users. And of course, you'll earn status points for offering helpful answers!
This space is intended to be more of a community as well, so please jump in and share tips!
Rethinking AA loyalty & credit card plans
Hi All, I thought I could pick your brains about my 2018 loyalty plans while I still have time to change.
Having moved to CLT and with AS no longer accepting AA flights, I assumed I would need to switch my primary loyalty to AA in 2018. I typically fly non-premium transcons (CLT-SEA, CLT-PHX) in cheap Y tickets for work with the occasional Asia or Europe vacation. I did a Platinum challenge already this year earning $2100 EQD and 28K EQM to give you an idea of a “busy” quarter for me. I’m totally new to the AA program so bear with me.
Projecting out, I think EQD are going to make re-qualifying tough. Do the Pt status benefits warrant the AAdvantage Aviator Red Mastercard? I’m not particularly excited about the prospect of having to put $25K on a card with only 1x earning just to ensure status. Having been no higher than #7 on the upgrade list throughout my challenge (I paid to have Pt during) and not likely to have enough EQM this year for PtPro, is the AA status worth it? My other idea is to get the AAdvantage Executive Card just for the lounges (domestic & international) and maybe not bother with the $40K spend since I’m not worried about EQMs relative to EQD. I also don’t like the idea of a mileage run for EQD. (Is that what people are doing now because of the EQD requirement?)
Any advice or other ideas are greatly appreciated! Thanks! (I’m also United Gold but am basically letting that slip to consolidate my loyalty for status and mileage accrual in a single account. Still, I have enough to-be booked trips to reconsider my strategy!)
I’m not sure what your goals are for achieving status. The benefits of AA status have been greatly attenuated in the past few years and I don’t hear of many actually doing mileage runs these days unless it’s to top off for the highest status level, EXP. If you are stuck in the PLT/PLP arena, achieving top status is a heavy lift. Upgrades are difficult now, even for many EXPs. The cobranded AA credit cards do not “ensure” status, they can help by adding 5,000 EQM (up to 10,000 max) after the spend requirement is met. If your consolidated travel can push you into the EXP range, even with achieving it through minimum spend, the benefits would be worth it. If you would normally buy lounge access, I would apply for the AA Executive card. You didn’t mention RDM. I accumulate lots of RDM through flight purchases and actual travel but not so much with card spend these days, because I’m finding better earning rates on other cards. Most of us here, employ a highly tailored approach to status, be it with hotels or airlines, card utilization and redemptions.