How Much Is American Charging You to Secure Elite Status for 2018?

Nov 2, 2017

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With the end of the year upon us, that also means elite status qualification requirements must be met in order to lock in your status. Now, American Airlines is offering select AAdvantage elite members the opportunity to secure elite status through the 2018 membership year by paying cash.

If you’re a select AAdvantage member who currently has status, you can head to the Elite Renewal page on American’s site and enter your AAdvantage account information. Then, based on your elite-qualifying requirements made so far in 2017, AA will let you know how much you’ll have to pay in order to lock in status through the 2018 membership year until January 31, 2019.

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For example, I currently have Gold status with AA, with no plans to requalify. I’ve earned 1,028 EQDs (3,000 are needed to requalify for Gold), 9,093 EQMs (25,000 are needed for Gold) and 7 segments (30 are needed for Gold). AA gave me the option to purchase my Gold status for $699. If I had plans to continue flying with AA much through next year, I wouldn’t consider this a terrible offer. However, I’m not going to opt to purchase it.

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Other TPG staffers with elite status received offers from AA — some of which were pretty outrageous. For example, TPG’s JT Genter was offered to secure his Executive Platinum status for $2,645. While the amount may seem alarmingly high on its own, know that JT already has enough EQDs to requalify for status. And, although he is 12,000 EQMs short, he has enough travel booked with AA through the rest of the year to earn Executive Platinum status without having to spend another dime. Needless to say, he doesn’t plan on purchasing this offer.

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TPG staffer Julian Mark Kheel, who currently has Executive Platinum status and is still debating whether or not to qualify outright for mid-tier Platinum in 2018, received an offer from AA to secure Platinum status through 2018 for $1,299. Currently, he’s about $1,400 EQDs and 3,000 EQMs short of Platinum qualification. While he’s not sure if he’s going to requalify at this time, he is sure that he won’t be purchasing this Platinum offer.

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Unlike in years past, AA is sweetening this deal a bit. For the first time, if you choose to secure your elite status, the base purchase price will count toward your rolling Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQD) requirement.

There’s no way to tell for certain whether this is a good offer that you should take advantage of. With a multitude of factors, it’s impossible to tell whether the individual offer you’re getting is worth it. If you’re considering the offer, it’ll be important to consider how much you plan on flying with American within the next year. If you only plan on traveling a few times with the carrier, buying status might not be worth it. In many cases, if you can qualify the traditional way — by actually flying — you’ll likely be getting better value and spending less cash out of pocket.

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