Last week I mentioned I was going for Gold status with American Airlines in their AAdvantage frequent flyer program. Having basically locked-in renewing my 1K status with United Airlines, my addictive behavior for flying even more is getting the better of me and I’m starting this week to fly American for the first time since 1988.
Gold status will be nice to have through February 2013 once I cross the 25,000 elite qualifying mile (EQM) threshold, but I got to thinking about doing a status challenge. I missed out on the Executive Platinum one from earlier this year, for which Ben over at One Mile at a Time is well on his way. So, I called American last night & decided to go for the Platinum challenge, which requires 10,000 elite qualifying points (EQPs) to be completed by August 15, 2011. Here’s part of the email I received summarizing what it takes to get there:
So, for $180 and a bit more flying than I already have booked, I have the opportunity to lock in Platinum on American through February 2012. At this stage in the game, I’m not sure I’ll keep flying American later in the year to hit Platinum outright, but if my experiences getting there are positive, I just might consider it.
The only downside to doing a challenge this time of year is that the fares during summer are typically higher than other times of year. Luckily, Virgin America’s entry into the Chicago and Dallas markets has prompted a bit of a fare war, so tickets can be had for around $225 to those cities. Granted, they only earn 0.5 points per mile on the deep discounted tickets, but I also have a work trip coming up to New York for which fares are a bit higher, and would get me 1.0 point per mile on that ticket.
As a data point, the Gold challenge is currently available for $100 with a 5,000 EQP requirement. The challenge fees historically change depending on the time of year, and a helpful wiki guide was created if you’d like to find out more.
I’m optimistic at this point about flying American, even though I’ll be chasing status the hard way by flying coach and not being able to book premium exit row seats due to my lack of status. Look for a post early next week detailing my first experience with American this coming weekend.