What Is an AA Elite Qualifying Dollar EQD?

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An Elite Qualifying Dollar is a dollar amount spent with American Airlines or one of its partners, that is a component to obtaining elite status with American Airlines. EQD's are awarded as such:

EQDs are awarded based on ticket price (includes base fare plus carrier-imposed fees, but excludes government-imposed taxes and fees) on American Airlines-marketed flights.

Flights marketed by Oneworld carriers and Alaska Airlines will earn EQDs based on a percentage of the flight distance and the fare class purchased.

So, on flights with AA the EQDs you earn will be based on the price of your ticket excluding taxes and fees. When traveling with partners, you will earn EQD’s as a percentage of the distance flown and the fare class of your ticket.

Why Do I Need AA EQDs?

EQDs were brought in by AA to ensure that their elite passengers have spent a reasonable amount of money with them and partner airlines. You need to meet a minimum EQD threshold for elite status as well as fly a specific number of miles or complete a number of segments.

The following thresholds are needed for status with AA:

  • AA Gold: $3,000 EQDs
  • AA Platinum: $6,000 EQDs
  • AA Platinum Pro: $9,000 EQDs
  • AA Executive Platinum: $12,000 EQDs

Other Ways To Meet Your EQD Requirement

Fortunately, you can earn more EQDs by meeting qualifying spending requirement on your co-branded AA credit cards. The following cards will earn you $3,000 EQD for spending $25,000 on qualifying purchases during a calendar year:

If you hold the AAdvantage® Aviator® Silver World Elite Mastercard® you can earn up to $6,000 EQDs per year for spending $50,000 on the card. You will earn $3,000 EQDs after the first $25,000 of qualifying purchases, and a further $3,000 EQDs after hitting $50,000 in qualifying spend.

Regardless of how many credit cards you have, the maximum number of EQDs you can earn in a year is 6,000. Exact language from AA is:

Regardless of how many AAdvantage® Aviator® MasterCard® accounts you have, you can earn a maximum of $3,000 EQDs each calendar year (unless you have the AAdvantage® Aviator® Silver MasterCard®). If you have the AAdvantage® Aviator® Silver MasterCard® (regardless of whether you have multiple AAdvantage® Aviator® Silver or other Aviator® MasterCard® accounts), you can earn a maximum of 6,000 EQDs each calendar year.

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  • Anthony Bebko says:

    The RED Aviator Card no longer has the EQD earning benefit. I filled out the application only to find out it was discontinued : (

  • Evelio Astray-Caneda III says:

    If I book using my Citi Thank You points to pay for the flight, do I earn EQDs? I think the answer is yes, but double checking as I am “thisclose” to Plat Pro and trying to make sure I spend enough.

    • Hey Evelio, yes, you should earn EQDs, but you should be aware that some bookings through bank travel portals post as AA “Special Fares”

      I really don’t know for sure, but reports on FlyerTalk say Citi ThankYou bookings do post as special fares, so you want to make sure your ticket will get you to platinum pro under the Special fares earning linked above.

      Here’s the FT thread.

  • Very good simple clear explanation of what this all is about (EQDs? etc) and why I should care or should not care.
    The AA website is so confusing with no basic explanation. Now I get it.
    Thank you.

  • arran wallace says:

    this is a good summary..
    for me as an elite status chaser-what it means in effect is that getting the eqd on aa/reqd spend on other airlines
    is becoming more important as compared to getting miles which have now been completely devalued in the amount you
    can earn on each ticket..
    interesting times!

  • This is a good explanation of how their miles work. I just don’t like the idea that you now have to spend a minimum amount now that it’s gone revenue based. A sign of the times I guess.

  • Nice summary. Reward Program keeps become more difficult to redemption. Def not spending that much time on AA when there are so many better options.

  • Yea AA should really offer a EQD waiver.

  • Howie,
    As you say, that huge loophole was closed. Fortunately, you are helping us find other sweet spots that do exist regarding accrual and redemption of miles. Without this site, who of us would have the time to look for them all? Thanks for your hard work.

  • If they brought back the ability to earn miles towards lifetime status through credit card spend that would be very interesting. Unfortunately though those days are long gone and it will never happen.

  • This EQD for credit card spend is out of reach for pretty much everyone except huge business spenders, and at that point it’d probably be better to use a a different card for category bonuses.

  • I agree that status is addictive and I did find myself only wanting to fly on American so I could achieve the status. And it has been helpful during irregular operations etc. I’d rather put my spend on a flexible points card rather than one of my AA cards so I guess I’m going to have to earn my EQD by actually spending on tickets.

  • thanks for the info

  • I don’t understand why Citi’s AA cards don’t offer EQDs when Barclay’s AA cards do.

  • Thanks, helpful

  • All this for the elite is SO confusing! Thank you for trying to explain it all.
    do they have something online that can display the dollars while you’re booking something? Or a calculator?

  • Great FAQ!

  • I might be mistaken on this but was there a Citi card that offered EQDs?

  • Sometimes other Oneworld frequent flyer program will have more sense for people leaving in the US because the don’t need Elite Qualifying Dollar for the same perks.

  • Your language above “EQDs were brought in by AA to ensure that their elite passengers have spent a reasonable amount of money with them and partner airlines.” clarifies this quite a bit. Thank you.

  • Thanks. I never really thought about getting ‘status’ on any one airline, as I switch to whoever is giving me the best deal or offer at the time, but it’s worth looking into.

    • The trouble is once you have got status with one airline it becomes addictive. You will find yourself only considering flights with that airline or its alliance partners. You will start justifying to yourself that it is worth the extra for the status miles. You will then start to find yourself flying round about routings just for the extra status miles. It is a slippery and expensive slope, but it is fun as well!

  • As someone with no real brand loyalty to airlines, just whomever offers the best bonus and flights I want to take, I never see myself being able to take advantage of hitting these tiers. Still, good to know.

  • It is really good that there is a way to get EQDs through credit card spend. Unfortunately though I don’t think there are any cards outside the US that give EQDs.

  • Thank you for clarifying these definitions.