Buy Up to the Next American AAdvantage Elite Level for 2016

Nov 18, 2015

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With 2015 coming to a close, many flyers are willing to do what it takes – including mileage runs – to qualify or requalify for airline elite status. American Airlines loyalists are no exception to that and just last week, TPG contributor Eric Rosen told you how to earn elite status with American before time runs out. But also this week, many AA flyers were disappointed to hear about the airline’s significant AAdvantage program devaluation – although TPG was quick to point out that the changes wouldn’t be the end of the world for all flyers – especially elites – as it might have appeared to be.

American has also shared that, just like last year, it would allow members to purchase their elite-qualifying miles (EQMs), points or segments in order to achieve elite status. According to AA, prices for the upgrade are the same as last year.

Business-class cabin on American's Dreamliner.
Business-class cabin on American’s Dreamliner. Image courtesy of American Airlines.

If you have the following amount of points, miles or segments, you can boost to the next elite level for:

Buying toward Gold status (25,000 miles/points or 30 segments):

  • If you have 20,000-24,999 miles or points or 24-29 segments, boost for $399
  • If you have 15,000-19,999 miles or points or 18-23 segments, boost for $499
  • If you have 10,000-14,999 miles or points or 12-17 segments, boost for $649

Buying toward Platinum status (50,000 miles/points or 60 segments):

  • If you have 45,000-49,999 miles or points or 54-59 segments, boost for $699
  • If you have 40,000-44,999 miles or points or 48-53 segments, boost for $899
  • If you have 35,000-39,999 miles or points or 42-47 segments, boost for $1,199

Buying toward Executive Platinum status (100,000 miles/points or 120 segments):

  • If you have 95,000-99,999 miles or points or 114-119 segments, boost for $1,199
  • If you have 90,000-94,999 miles or points or 108-113 segments, boost for $1,799
  • If you have 85,000-89,999 miles or points or 100-107 segments, boost for $2,499
Buy up to AA elite status.
Buy up to AA elite status, or pay to maintain your current status (Platinum, in this case).

To buy status, log in to American’s buy back page and enter your information (AAdvantage#/Dividend Miles#/Username, last name and password). From there, you will be redirected to a page that is preloaded with your exact offer(s). If you’re not close enough to the next elite level, you’ll be given a renewal offer, but if you are close enough to the next level, you’ll be presented with a boost offer and a renewal offer – so you have the choice of advancing to the next elite level or maintaining your current status. This offer is good for members who have elite status through February 29, 2016 (not temporary status). Visit the carrier’s FAQ page for more specific deals on the offer.

The changes coming to AA in 2016 won’t affect the process of buying elite status through the deadline on July 31, 2016, and the status you renew or boost up to will be valid through February 28, 2017. However, it is worth noting that the process by which you earn status during 2016 will change how you qualify for status in 2017. There are few changes coming to the carrier’s elite program with its devaluation, including that all flights will earn at least 100% EQMs and certain premium fares will earn 300%. Whereas the program previously allowed you to qualify with points, miles or segments, it will now only include miles and segments, which is a bonus for you, as you’ll be rewarded on all flights, instead of just expensive fares. Check out our post, American Airlines Announces 2016 AAdvantage Program Changes, for complete details on the impending changes.

Is it worth paying almost $500 for AA Gold status? Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.
AA’s devaluation won’t affect elite members too much. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

If you don’t want to go on a mileage run to boost or renew your elite status with American before the end of the year, this might be a good option – but an expensive one. Because the deal is in 5,000-mile increments, the more points you need for each 5,000-mile chunk, the better deal you’ll get. For example, say you have 40,100 miles and need to hit the 50,000-mile mark for Platinum status. Each mile you buy with the $899 will be worth more than if you were on the higher end of that block (say you had 44,500 miles). If you are on the lower end of each block for the amount of miles needed, consider flying instead, as it’ll probably be cheaper than having to buy the full 5,000-mile package.

Keep in mind that you can earn bonus AAdvantage miles throughout the year with American-branded cards such as the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard. Also, consider using this offer to get you closer to the minimum spend requirement on the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, which is currently offering 50,000 points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months — as well as the regular 2x points on travel purchases.

H/T: View From The Wing

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