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Getting American Airlines Elite Status: Is It Worth it?

The American Airlines elite status program has four levels: AAdvantage gold, platinum, platinum pro, and executive. Here's how it works
Author: Baruch Mann (Silvermann)
Baruch Mann (Silvermann)

Writer, Contributor

Experience

Baruch Silvermann is a financial expert, experienced analyst, and founder of The Smart Investor.  Silvermann has contributed to Yahoo Finance and cited as an authoritative source in financial outlets like Forbes, Business Insider, CNBC Select, CNET, Bankrate, Fox Business, The Street, and more.
Interest Rates Last Update: April 15, 2024
The banking product interest rates, including savings, CDs, and money market, are accurate as of this date.
Author: Baruch Mann (Silvermann)
Baruch Mann (Silvermann)

Writer, Contributor

Experience

Baruch Silvermann is a financial expert, experienced analyst, and founder of The Smart Investor.  Silvermann has contributed to Yahoo Finance and cited as an authoritative source in financial outlets like Forbes, Business Insider, CNBC Select, CNET, Bankrate, Fox Business, The Street, and more.
Interest Rates Last Update: April 15, 2024

The banking product interest rates, including savings, CDs, and money market, are accurate as of this date.

We earn a commission from our partner links on this page. It doesn't affect the integrity of our unbiased, independent editorial staff. Transparency is a core value for us, read our advertiser disclosure and how we make money.

Table Of Content

What Is American Airlines Elite Status?

American Airlines has one of the most popular loyalty programs and its elite status program is also held in high regard. If you’re a frequent flyer with American Airlines, you may have considered AA elite status, but is it worth it?

The AA elite status program has four status levels and as of December 2022, American Airlines has updated the program to make it even easier to understand and qualify. Many airline elite status programs have a very complicated system for qualification including the number of flights, miles flown and spending. This can mean that you can quickly become overwhelmed by EQS, EQD and EQMs.

However, since American made the changes, the AA elite status program is far less confusing. Now you only need to earn Loyalty points and you can achieve the appropriate status level. It gets even easier since one eligible American Airlines AAdvantage Mile is equal to one loyalty point.

The program operates on a 12 month timeframe, which starts on March 1 each year. Once you qualify, you’ll have your elite status until March 31 of the following year.

How to Earn AAdvantage Elite Status?

Earning elite status with the AAdvantage program has never been easier. You don’t need to worry about flight segments, miles flown and other criteria, as American Airlines has simplified the program. Now all you need to do is accumulate Loyalty Points.

The requirements for the elite status tiers are as follows:

American Airlines AAdvantage Status 2024
Loyalty Points For Eligibility
Gold
40,000
Platinum
75,000
Platinum Pro
125,000
Executive Platinum
200,000

Unlike United and Delta where the eligibility depends on more parameters, the AA  elite status eligibility structure is clear and simple. It's quite similar to other companies such as Southwest and JetBlue's elite status eligibility structure. 

What is AAdvantage Gold Status?

AAdvantage Gold Status is the lowest elite status level within this program. You can qualify for this with 40,000 loyalty points in 2024.

Some of the highlights of this tier include automatic upgrades, elite mileage bonus, one free checked bag, complimentary preferred seating and Oneworld Ruby status.

What is AAdvantage Platinum Status?

You can qualify for AAdvantage Platinum Status with 75,000 loyalty points.

The benefits include automatic upgrades, a higher elite mileage bonus, two free checked bags, complimentary main cabin extra and preferred seating when you book and Oneworld Sapphire status.

What is AAdvantage Executive Platinum Status?

If you accumulate 125,000 loyalty points, you’ll qualify for Platinum Pro status.

This tier offers eligibility for seating and upgrade benefits and other perks including Loyalty Choice Rewards, complimentary upgrades when you travel on Alaska Airlines, 80% elite mileage bonus, three free checked bags, Oneworld Emerald status.

What is AAdvantage Executive Platinum Status?

This is the top tier of the program and you can qualify with 200,000 loyalty points.

Since this is the highest status level, you can get some really nice perks including: 120% elite mileage bonus, complimentary preferred and main cabin extra seats, three checked bags, one free food and one free drink item in main cabin seating, Loyalty Choice rewards, upgrades on Alaska Airlines and Oneworld Emerald status.

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What Are Loyalty Point Rewards?

You need a minimum of 15,000 Loyalty Points to unlock your first reward, so you can access rewards even before you reach Gold Status. The list of Loyalty Point Rewards at this level include:

  • Five preferred seat coupons
  • Priority check in, security and Group 4 boarding on one trip.

There are also new Loyalty Point Reward levels between elite status tiers. The options for your rewards increase with the number of Loyalty Points.

If you exceed 200,000 Loyalty Points, you can choice benefits such as:

  • 25,000 bonus miles
  • Ability to gift Platinum status to another person
  • A systemwide upgrade
  • Flagship First Dining visitors pass

This reward applies to every 200,000 Loyalty Points. So, if you’re a very frequent flyer, you can choose another reward up to a cap of five million Loyalty Points.

Fly American Airlines
(Photo by Markus Mainka/Shutterstock)

How to Earn AAdvantage Loyalty Points?

You can earn Loyalty points in a number of ways. These include:

1. Fly American Airlines

You’ll earn one loyalty point for every mile you earn on American Airlines flights.

So, you can earn 5 loyalty points for every dollar you spend on your flights, but this excludes taxes, surcharges and fees. However, your elite status will also influence how many loyalty points you’ll earn. The earning rates are as follows:

  • General members earn the base rate of 5 per dollar
  • Gold members earn 7 points per dollar
  • Platinum members earn 8 points per dollar
  • Platinum Pro members will receive 9 points per dollar
  • Executive Platinum members can earn 11 points per dollar

You can also earn and redeem loyalty points if you fly with American Airlines partners, including GOL and JetBlue airlines. You’ll receive the same rate of points as you would with American Airlines.

AAdvantage Status
Loyalty Points Per $1
General Members
5
Gold
7
Platinum
8
Platinum Pro
9
Executive Platinum
11

2. Shop Through American Airlines eShopping Portal

The program also has its own eShopping portal, which allows you to earn loyalty points and base miles when you shop online. You’ll need to create an account, but you can then use the portal to click through to popular retailers. You can then shop and make purchases as normal.

You’ll earn both loyalty points and miles, but the rates can vary. For example, if a store offers three miles per dollar, you’ll also receive three loyalty points. However, if the store is offering a promotional shopping bonus, these are typically restricted to base miles only.

You can also earn Loyalty Points when you use the Simply Miles shopping platform. You will need to register a credit card and you can then browse offers and make purchases to earn base miles and Loyalty Points.

American Airlines eShopping: Home Depot
(Screenshot taken by our team from AA eShopping)

3. Book Hotel Stays With The American Airlines Partners

You can also earn Loyalty Points when you book hotel stays with the American Airlines partners. If you book through American Airlines Hotels or use the Rocketmiles platform, you can earn up to 10,000 base miles and 10,000 Loyalty points per night.

  • Hyatt Hotels: You can earn 500 miles and Loyalty points per stay
  • Marriott Hotels: You’ll earn miles and points on your stays if you choose miles as an earning preference, with American Airlines as your preferred airline. You can earn up to two miles and two Loyalty points for every dollar you spend at a number of Marriott brands.
  • IHG Hotels: If you choose American Airlines as an earning preference, you can earn up to two miles and two Loyalty points for every dollar you spend.
redeem American Airlines miles for hotel nights
redeem American Airlines miles for hotel nights (screenshot from American Airlines app)

4. Book Rental Cars With The American Airlines Partners

You can earn base miles and points when you book rental cars via the American Airlines partnerships if you provide your AAdvantage number when you book.

  • Dollar, National, Thrifty and Alamo: You’ll earn 50 base miles and points per rental day at participating locations on qualifying paid rentals.
  • Budget and Avis: You can earn up to five base miles and points for every dollar you spend. The reward rate is calculated according to your elite status with the base rate of two miles per dollar and five miles per dollar is available for Platinum Pro and Executive Platinum elite members.
  • Hertz: You’ll earn one mile and one point or every dollar you spend.
Redeem AA Miles for Cars
Redeem AA Miles for Cars (screenshot from American Airlines app)

5. Book Vacations, Dining And Cruises With AA

Additional bookings such as dining, vacations, and cruises are also eligible for AA loyalty points:

  • Vacations: If you book a vacation package via the American Airlines Vacations platform, you’ll earn 1,000 base miles and Loyalty points for each booking. Select details also offer up to 30,000 bonus miles, but you’ll not get Loyalty Points.
  • Dining: The AAdvantage Dining platform allows you to register any credit card, and when you dine at participating restaurants, you’ll earn loyalty points and AAdvantage miles.

This program also has regular promotional bonuses, including a new member bonus, but this only provides base miles, not loyalty points.

  • Cruises: If you book a cruise via the American Airlines platform, you’ll receive one base mile and one Loyalty point for every dollar. However, if you have an AAdvantage co-branded credit card, this increases to two base miles and two Loyalty Points for every dollar.
Redeem American Airlines miles for a vacation
Redeem American Airlines miles for a vacation (screenshot from American Airlines app)

6. Use American Airlines Co-Branded Credit Cards

You can also earn base miles and Loyalty Points with various AA co-branded credit cards. These include:

Card
Rewards
Bonus
Annual Fee

American Airlines AAdvantage® Mile Up® Card
1X – 2X 2 AAdvantage miles per dollar on grocery stores and eligible American Airlines purchases, and 1 mile per dollar on other purchases
10,000 miles 10,000 miles and $50 statement credit if you spend $500 in first 3 months
$0

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®
1X – 2X Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent at gas stations and restaurants, 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases and 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases. Earn 1 Loyalty Point for every 1 eligible AAdvantage® mile earned from purchases.
50,000 Miles 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
$99 (waived for the first 12 months)

Citi AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®

AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®
1X – 10X 10X AAdvantage® miles on eligible rental cars/hotels through aa.com, 4X miles on eligible American Airlines purchases and 1X on all other purchases
70,000 miles 70,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $7,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
$525

The American Airlines AAdvantage® Mile Up® Card has no annual fee. You can earn two Loyalty Points for every dollar you spend at grocery stores and American Airlines, with a base rate of one point for all other purchases.

The card has a generous welcome bonus and you can also receive a discount on in-flight food and beverage purchases onboard American Airlines flights.

Earn miles with American Airlines credit cards
Earn miles with American Airlines credit cards (Photo by Artem Oleshko/Shutterstock)

The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® has its annual fee waived for the first year and it offers a generous welcome bonus with Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent at gas stations and restaurants, 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases and 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases. Earn 1 Loyalty Point for every 1 eligible AAdvantage® mile earned from purchases..

There are also some nice travel perks including free first checked bags on domestic AA itineraries for you and up to four travel companions, preferred boarding, and savings on inflight food and beverage purchases when you use your card on American Airlines flights.

This is the AA premium card with a fairly substantial annual fee, but it also offers a comprehensive benefits package.

In addition to a generous welcome bonus and a Loyalty Point bonus if you meet the minimum spend, you’ll receive complimentary Admirals Club membership, reimbursement for your TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fees, and free first checked bags for you and up to eight travel companions.

There are also enhanced airport experience features including priority check in, airport screening and boarding.

Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard Credit Card overview
(Photo by photobyphotoboy/Shutterstock)

This card has a modest annual fee, which is waived for the first year and a generous welcome bonus. The reward structure is weighted towards telecommunications, gas stations and car rentals.

You’ll also get free first checked bags for you and up to four travel companions, in flight savings for WiFi when you use your card, and an American Airlines domestic travel Companion Certificate if you meet the spend requirement each year.

How to Check Your Progress Towards AA Elite Status

Fortunately, you don’t need to keep track of your Loyalty Points, as you can log into your account and check your balance at any time.

 

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Qualification Period vs Membership Period

When you’re working towards AAdvantage elite status, you will need to appreciate the difference between qualification periods and membership periods.

Period
Timeframe
Qualification Period
March 1 to February 28/29 of the following year
Membership Year
April 1 or the day you qualify until the following March 31

 

  • Qualification Period: This runs from March 1 to February 28/29 of the following year. This is the timeframe that you’ll have to earn Loyalty Points and accumulate a sufficient number for your desired elite status level. However, as soon as you qualify for the elite status level, the benefits will be activated and you will also have them for the following membership year.
  • Membership Year: This starts on April 1 or the day you qualify and will run until the following March 31. For example, if you qualify on November 29, you’ll have your Elite status for the remainder of that year and one full membership year until March 31. This means that you’ll actually enjoy the benefits for 16 months.

What Do You Get With AAdvantage Gold?

As the lowest elite status, you may expect to get minimal perks, but AAdvantage Gold does offer some nice benefits. These include:

  • Unlimited complimentary upgrades on domestic American Airlines flights
  • Complimentary Main Cabin Extra when you check in
  • Complimentary Preferred seats
  • One free checked bag
  • Same day standby priority
  • Priority check in, security and boarding
  • Access to the AAdvantage Gold service desk
  • Oneworld Ruby status and benefits
  • A 40% bonus on miles per dollar (7 rather than the standard 5)

However, compared to the basic level of United Elite status, it lacks some cool features, such as a $100 fee for canceling an award ticket or discounted annual membership fee of $109 for CLEAR, both are available with United.

AAdvantage Gold

What Do You Get With AAdvantage Platinum?

The next tier of the elite status levels is AAdvantage Platinum and it adds some significant perks compared to the lower level. These include:

  • Complimentary Preferred seats
  • Complimentary Main Cabin Extra
  • Two free checked bags, including priority handling
  • Unlimited complimentary upgrades to premium cabins
  • Same day standby priority
  • Priority check in, security and boarding
  • Access to the AAdvantage Platinum service desk
  • Oneworld Sapphire membership and benefits
  • 60% bonus on miles, so you’ll earn eight miles per dollar rather than the base five.
AAdvantage Platinum

What Do You Get with AAdvantage Platinum Pro

This is one of the highest tiers, which can be beneficial if there are multiple elite status travelers on a flight. In this scenario, American Airlines will allocate the upgrade to the person with the most Loyalty Points.

So, unless there is an Executive Platinum traveler on your flight, you’re likely to get the upgrade.

The benefits at this level include:

  • Unlimited complimentary upgrades on domestic American Airlines flights
  • Complimentary Preferred seats
  • Complimentary Main Cabin Extra
  • Three checked bags for free with priority handling
  • Free same day standby priority and flight change
  • Priority check in, security and boarding
  • Access to AAdvantage Platinum Pro service desk
  • Oneworld Emerald membership and benefits
  • 80% bonus on miles, so you’ll earn nine miles per dollar rather than five.
AAdvantage Platinum Pro

What Do You Get With AAdvantage Executive Platinum?

As the top tier, AAdvantage Executive Platinum offers the best benefits package. This includes:

  • Unlimited complimentary North America upgrades including with award tickets
  • Complimentary Preferred seats
  • Complimentary Main Cabin Extra
  • Three checked bags for free with priority handling
  • Same day standby priority and flight change for free
  • Complimentary food and beverages in the main cabin
  • Priority check in, security and boarding
  • Access to AAdvantage Executive Platinum service desk
  • Oneworld Emerald membership and benefits
  • 120% bonus on miles (you’ll earn 11 miles per dollar not five)

How Does American Airlines ConciergeKey Work?

ConciergeKey is the top tier of the elite status program, but many people have not heard of it, because it is an almost secret tier that is only available to high spenders. There are no clear requirements to qualify, as American Airlines does not publish a requirements list. In fact, there is a great deal of speculation that the requirement amounts change year on year!

However, if you are awarded ConciergeKey status, you can access a variety of benefits including:

  • Admirals Club Membership: ConciergeKey members get a complimentary membership for domestic or international flights.
  • Executive Platinum Status: You’ll receive all the benefits of Executive Platinum elite status.
  • World of Hyatt Globalist Status: This provides a whole host of benefits such as free breakfast during your stay at many Hyatt brands and suite upgrades.
  • Premium Airport Support: You’ll have access to assistance when you’re at hub airports connecting between flights. This includes services such as being met at the door of the plaine, electric cart escort to your next gate or even having a team member escorting you to the front of the line at the gate. You can also use the private check in area and have direct access to security lines to avoid waiting.
  • Waived Copay Fees: If you’re upgrading a flight with miles, the copay fee is waived.
  • Early Boarding: You’ll be one of the first groups to board your flight.
  • Highest Priority for Upgrades: You’ll have the highest priority for standby, waitlists and upgrades. So, if there are other elite status members on your flight, you’ll have the top priority.
  • Guaranteed Seat Availability: Even if the flight is sold out, you’ll be able to purchase a seat up to 72 hours before departure.
  • Dedicated Assistance Phone Line: You’ll have access to a dedicated helpline if you need day of travel assistance.
  • Additional Benefits: This varies, but it could be something as receiving an appreciation gift, such as chocolate or limited edition metal luggage tags.
Admirals Club Benefits
Comfortable Seating, Access to Business Centers and premium food are just part of the Admirals Club Benefits (Photo by M101Studio/Shutterstock)

Is AA Elite Status Worth It?

If you are brand loyal to American Airlines, the new program updates mean that there really is no reason not to try for elite status. Since you no longer need to worry about segments, miles flown or other parameters, it is really easy to follow a qualification path.

With the introduction of Loyalty Points, you can easily track how many points you can earn and work towards elite status. Since one base mile also provides one Loyalty Point, you don’t need to track multiple parameters to qualify.

Additionally, with the new Loyalty Point rewards, providing benefits even before you qualify for elite status, there are some great incentives to join the plan.

Generally, with the current economic climate, airline loyalty programs are becoming more challenging for those looking to achieve elite status. While the Gold elite status level is due to become more difficult to achieve, American Airlines has recognized this and introduced the 15,000 Loyalty Point Reward level.

So, although it may take you a little longer to get to Gold status, you can enjoy a nice perk on your way.

How Does the AAdvantage Million Miler Program Work?

The Million Miler program is the American Airlines AAdvantage lifetime scheme. Essentially, when you log into your account, you’ll see your current Loyalty Points total, as you work towards elite status levels, but there is also a Million Miler total. Once you reach one million miles, you can enjoy elite status for life.

There are actually several tiers to this program:

  • One Million Miles: This provides Gold status for the life of the AAdvantage program and a 35,000 mile bonus.
  • Two Million Miles: You’ll enjoy Platinum status for life and four one way system upgrades.
  • Subsequent Million Miles: For each further million miles that you accumulate, you’ll receive four one way system upgrades.

You don’t need to do any additional tracking for the Million Miler program, as you can see your progress each time you log into your account. There are no deadlines for this program, every mile/Loyalty Point you accumulate will be logged and you can check your progress at any time.

FAQs

There are several AA co-branded credit cards, and you’ll need a score of fair to excellent to qualify.

What is the highest AA Status?

Yes, your AA status will expire on March 31 unless you requalify during that year.

Yes, AA credit cards often provide bonuses and rewards that will help you to work towards your elite status. Some cards automatically give you certain levels of elite status.

Yes, you can still earn Loyalty Points with AA partner flights. In many cases, you’ll earn points at the same rate as you would get with American Airlines flights.

Yes, you should see your elite status printed on your boarding pass.

You can use co-branded credit cards to make it easier to qualify, but you cannot simply purchase Loyalty Points.

You can simply join the program on the American Airlines website.

It is possible if you fly very frequently.

You can use a co-branded credit card, but if you get status automatically, you will need to fly a specific number of segments to requalify the following year.

A status challenge allows you to request a shortcut for elite status qualification. American Airlines typically has a four month challenge with Loyalty Points requirements.

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Baruch Mann (Silvermann)

Baruch Silvermann is a financial expert, experienced analyst, and founder of The Smart Investor.  Silvermann has contributed to Yahoo Finance and cited as an authoritative source in financial outlets like Forbes, Business Insider, CNBC Select, CNET, Bankrate, Fox Business, The Street, and more.
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Welcome Bonus:
80,000 points 80,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $8,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership

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Rewards Plan:
2X – 6X 6 Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program, 3 points at Worldwide restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines and 2 points on all other eligible purchases
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Rewards Plan:
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50,000 miles 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in your first six months
Advertiser Disclosure
The product offers that appear on this site are from companies from which this website receives compensation.
Top Offers From Our Partners

amex platinum

Rewards Plan:
1X – 5X 5X points on up to $500,000 spent on directly-booked airfare and flights and prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel (per calendar year), 2X points on prepaid car rentals through American Express Travel and 1X points on all other purchases
Welcome Bonus:
80,000 points 80,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $8,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership

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Rewards Plan:
2X – 6X 6 Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program, 3 points at Worldwide restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines and 2 points on all other eligible purchases
Welcome Bonus:
95,000 points 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new Card to make $6,000 in purchases within the first 6 months of Card Membership

Amex Delta SkyMiles Platinum card

Rewards Plan:
Up to 3x miles 3 miles per $1 spent on United purchases immediately after earning your $125 annual United purchase credit, 2 miles on all other travel and select streaming services, 1 mile on all other purchases
Welcome Bonus:
60,000 miles 60,000 bonus miles + 500 Premier qualifying points (PQP) after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
Advertiser Disclosure
The product offers that appear on this site are from companies from which this website receives compensation.

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