How to Earn AAdvantage Gold Status Through Hotel Stays

Jun 26, 2017

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Airline elite status can be very desirable, leading many flyers to go great lengths to ensure they requalify for the following membership year. However, with recent devaluations and the implementation of elite spend tiers, earning status has become much more difficult — and expensive. In fact, TPG himself said that he’ll no longer have it as a goal.

That being said, there is an unconventional way of earning AAdvantage Gold status that doesn’t even require you to take a flight.

With American Airlines’ Business Extra program, companies can redeem 3,200 points to gift Gold status. Companies earn 1 point per $5 spent on eligible American Airlines and partner flights. However, your company does not actually have to spend $16,000 on airfare to earn 3,200 points!

The easiest and quickest way to accumulate a lot of Business Extra points is through Rocketmiles hotel bookings. By booking through the Rocketmiles site, your company can earn between 25 and 500 points per night.

There’s no set rate of how many points you’ll earn per dollar spent on hotels. For the sake of this article, I looked at a one-night stay in Palm Springs on a Thursday in mid-August. The first result was for a room at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club for about $150 (before taxes) earning 200 Business Extra points.

So, if you stayed at $150-per-night hotels for 16 nights over the course of two years (since Business Extra points expire two years after earned) you could accumulate enough points for AAdvantage Gold.

However, as previously stated, the amount of points you earn at a hotel varies, so it is possible that your $150 booking earns more or less than the 200 points I was offered. For example, the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort and Spa only offered 130 points for a room with the same rate.

There are a couple things to consider before booking your next hotel stay with Rocketmiles. The biggest tradeoff is that by not booking directly with the hotel, you typically won’t earn points with the chain’s loyalty program. The Ace Hotel doesn’t have a loyalty program, so I wouldn’t have missed out on any points, but that would have been a whole other story had I stayed at the Hyatt. That being said, if you have elite status with a hotel’s program, you may still get your member benefits.

Even if you don’t earn hotel points for your stay booked through Rocketmiles, you could still enjoy perks if you have status with the chain.

Another thing to consider is price. In this example, Rocketmiles offered the same rates as the hotels did directly, but sometimes properties are more expensive when booking using Rocketmiles, so you need to determine if and how much of a premium your company is willing to pay for the points.

Bottom Line

Although it’s not worth going on a mattress run and spending over $2,000 in hotel stays just for AAdvantage Gold, if your company would be booking 16 nights at a hotel anyway, this is something worth considering. However, since you’ll probably be missing out on hotel rewards points, you need to decide whether you value hotel perks and status or airline elite status more.

As the lowest elite tier in American’s program, Gold status is often underestimated — many people believe they can get the same perks from American’s co-branded credit cards. Although it’s quite rare (not impossible!) to get upgrades, I’m able to get a ton of value from my Gold status. I save hundreds of dollars each year from free same-day standby, the checked bag fee waiver and always scoring free Main Cabin Extra seats at check-in. I also save tons of time by having priority access to phone agents, check-in, security and boarding.

In case you didn’t know, the Business Extra program is open to all companies with two or more employee travelers and does not require a tax ID (EIN) to register. Other carriers such as Delta, JetBlue and United also have business rewards programs. With no cost and minimal requirements to join, there’s no reason why business owners shouldn’t at least sign up for these programs. And yes, you can redeem rewards earned in these programs for free flights, not just for elite status.

Featured image courtesy of John Gress via Getty Images.

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