American Airlines Simplifies Elite Status Requirements and Makes Changes to AAdvantage Program American Airlines Simplifies Elite Status Requirements and Makes Changes to AAdvantage Program

American Airlines Simplifies Elite Status Requirements and Makes Changes to AAdvantage Program

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Today, American Airlines announced that it's revamping its loyalty program and ultimately simplify earning AAdvantage elite status.

For one, beginning in 2022, AA will replace the current requirements of EQMs, EQDs, and EQSs and instead use the all-new AAdvantage Loyalty Points system. This will be the only metric needed for elite status qualification!

There are a few other changes, as well, with the majority being positive. Let's take a look at what American Airlines has done.

Key Terms

  • AAdvantage Loyalty Points will replace all other elite status earning requirements.
  • Loyalty Points are earned every time you earn a qualifying Base Mile.
  • Qualifying Base Miles (aka Loyalty Points) will come from flying, credit card spending, eShopping portal, dining rewards, and SimplyMiles.
  • Changes will go into effect on January 1, 2022
  • Loyalty Choice Rewards (rebranded from Elite Choice Rewards) requirements are also changing and will now require 30 flight segments in addition to a set number of Loyalty Points.
  • Million Miler status will continue to be earned the same way as today: via miles earned from flying with AA and its partners.

The elite status calendar will also be undergoing some changes:

  • The status qualification year will no longer be based on a calendar year. Instead, it will begin on March 1 and run through the last day of February of the next year.
  • Elite status will be valid through March 31 the following year.

New Requirements

As mentioned above, AAdvantage loyalty members will no longer have to navigate the confusing world of Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQDs), Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs), and Elite Qualifying Segments (EQSs).

Instead, members will need to earn Loyalty Points in order to qualify for elite status. Here are the following new requirements:

how many points you'll need to earn aadvantage elite status

  • AAdvantage Gold – 30,000 Loyalty Points
  • AAdvantage Platinum – 75,000 Loyalty Points
  • AAdvantage Platinum Pro  – 125,000 Loyalty Points
  • AAdvantage Executive platinum – 200,000 Loyalty points

What Earns Loyalty Points… and What Doesn't

Generally speaking, 1 Base Mile counts as 1 Loyalty Point. And there are several ways to earn these. In fact, American Airlines is actually being quite accommodating when it comes to what counts as Loyalty Points vs what does not count.

By Flying

Flying is the first thing that comes to mind when earning elite status. All members currently earn 5 Base Miles per dollar spent on qualifying tickets. That means you'll earn 5 Loyalty Points per dollar spent.

Those who are already elite status holders earn more miles per dollar spent. Therefore, they will earn more Loyalty Points, as well. The following chart shows the elite mileage bonus that each tier of elite status earns:

earn bonuses toward earning AAdvantage elite status

And for those of us who are bad at math, this equates to:

  • General Member: 5 base points per eligible dollar spent
  • Gold: 7 base points per eligible dollar spent
  • Platinum: 8 base points per eligible dollar spent
  • Platinum Pro: 9 base points per eligible dollar spent
  • Executive Platinum: 11 base points per eligible dollar spent

Dining Rewards, Shopping Portals, and SimplyMiles

The ability to earn Loyalty Points towards elite status through SimplyMiles, shopping portals, and dining rewards is a great feature of AA's newly revamped program.

However, AA hasn't clarified whether miles earned through all of its non-flying partners (e.g. Bask Bank, AA Vacations) will count as Loyalty Points. So, TBD (to be determined) on this part. We will make sure to update as we learn more.

Credit Cards

As for credit cards, there is good news, bad news… and then more good news and then slightly more bad news.

You can easily load up on AAdvantage miles through partnerships with Citi and with Barclays. But, the miles earned from welcome offers do not count towards elite status.

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®
Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®
Annual Fee$99, waived for first 12 months
Welcome Offer Earn 60,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
The AA Platinum Select card is a great choice for anyone who travels at least a few times per year with American Airlines. Cardholders get a free checked bag on domestic itineraries, priority boarding and a 25% discount on in-flight purchases.

With these perks, it's easy to justify the annual fee of $99, waived for first 12 months.
  • Free checked bags for you and up to 4 companions on domestic itineraries
  • Priority boarding to help you win the race for overhead bin space
  • A 25% discount on inflight food, beverage, and Wi-Fi purchases
  • Earn 2X miles for every $1 spent at restaurants
  • Earn 2X miles for every $1 spent at gas stations
  • Earn 2X miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • Earn 1X mile for every $1 spent on all other purchases

The AA miles you earn from regular spending DO count towards elite status. But, any bonus miles earned from category spending — like 2x AA miles at grocery stores using the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp Card — will not count towards Loyalty Points. You'll earn just one Loyalty Point per dollar spent.

Remember that for a limited time, Citi ThankYou points can be transferred to American Airlines miles. However, transferring Citi points to AAdvantage miles will NOT yield Loyalty Points. So, although you can effectively earn 80,000 AAdvantage miles through the sign-up bonus on the Citi Premier® Card, none of this bonus will count toward Loyalty Points.

Other AAdvantage mileage earning methods that don't count towards elite status include:

  • Miles from buying, gifting, transferring.
  • Converting another program's currency to AAdvantage miles.

Boost Your Loyalty Points in January and February of 2022

double dip on earning AAdvantage elite status

Lastly but not least, AA is also giving members a boost towards achieving status in 2022. Eligible qualifying activity in January and February 2022 will count toward your 2021 elite status earnings and your 2022 elite status earnings. That gives you an extra 2 months to earn status for both years. Eligible Loyalty Point activity during January and February 2022 will appear in your account in early March 2022.

Loyalty Choice Rewards

Another new aspect of AA's revamped elite status is the requirements for earning Loyalty Choice Rewards. These milestone benefits offer certain perks for Platinum Pro and higher status holders each time you reach a new level. Some of the benefits for reaching these milestones include:

  • Admirals Club membership
  • AAdvantage bonus miles
  • Systemwide upgrades

The following chart shows how many Loyalty Points are required for each level. Just note that you will also need 30 flight segments to unlock these.

Copy-of-Feature-Toni-3-1-e1635267004221-300x147

Final Thoughts

As with any time a program makes changes, not everyone wins. But, for many — especially AAdvantage cardholders — this seems like a net positive overall and makes earning elite status more achievable than before.

What do you think about these changes?

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Comments

  • Earning points for status through the dining program and shopping portal has just put actually earning status within reach for people like me who don’t/can’t fly but once or twice per year. This may be the motivation I needed to pull the trigger and get the co-branded credit card to seal the deal for achieving status.

  • There are many limitations, it should be more benefits for the passengers.

  • Thanks for such a detailed explanation.
    It is by far, better than the description you can find in AA Website, which is definitely confusing

  • Joan Rodden says:

    I have tried to comment several times, but I keep being told I entered an incorrect re-captcha value. I don’t see any captcha box on the page! Is there a problem with the site?

  • MorfeoMatrixx says:

    This is a much needed revamp of the currently very confusing AA Elite Program; it could make it much more straight forward for qualifying/requalifying for status. Also a smart and very useful move making credit card spending, eshopping/dining, etc earning toward elite status.

    As COVID restrictions are still in place regarding vaccination requirements that are different for each Country, affiliated credit card spending instead of flying could be an option for many of us.

  • Jorge Daniel Orellano says:

    Es una verdadera pena que el banco Citi se haya ido de la Argentina. Antes, al ser cliente del banco Citi en Argentina yo acumulaba millas de American Airlines por mis consumos con Tarjetas de Crédito emitidas por el Banco, pero ahora al retirar sus operaciones de Argentina nos ha dejado sin millas.

  • Tiene muchas limitaciones.

  • ROBERTO MAURO says:

    It looks interesting, hopefully it will be an improvement for us travelers

  • If you’re already buying F J tix is status really worth that much to you

  • Thanks for making this information available. I haven’t been flying enough lately to get elite status, but I have been thinking of getting an AAdvantage credit card to help boost my mileage earnings for future travel. The credit card info is helpful.

  • Jorge Villafañe says:

    Like many people arround the world I haven’t been flying enough to qualify for elite status, but I can see that I could benefit from getting an Aadvantage credit card to earn more miles. Anyway, Thanks, once again, for another informative update on American’s Aadvantage program.

  • With people flying less due to the pandemic, this is a smart move to keep people interested in gaining status and getting those coveted System Wide Upgrades (SWUs)….the real prize of status on AA…by doing more than flying. 200K points does seem a tad steep though for EP….really curious of Delta & United do anything similar to match AA’s changes…AA is usually following the pack here….they’ve taken the lead for a change for better or worse.

  • If I understand correctly the changes refer only to the status and no changes for the award redemptions.
    This doesn’t impact me at all.

  • As a customer that prefers to fly with American Airlines, I am pleased to hear about these changes to their program!

  • Overall, this sounds interesting. I hope that Delta would adopt something similar. As indicated it is much more straight forward than some of the other programs for qualifying and requalifying for status. That said, I will probably drop my status with American as it seems everytime I book with them, they either change the schedule and/or cancel flights making them, in my opinion the most unpredictable of airlines!

  • I like the simplified system and easier paths to earning status.

  • I see that almost all players are changing loyalty programs

  • It will be interesting to see how the revamped system will work out in practice.

  • linda teresa laura says:

    Hacen todo muy complicado.

  • carlos illya levin says:

    Son muchas condiciones y limitaciones.

  • Juan Manuel Villa says:

    Great news, maybe this changes could help me to maintain the elite status the next year!

  • This is a net positive for those who dont fly a lot but hold the co branded credit cards. This makes the credit card spend more valuable.

  • Well, they are smart making credit card spend, eshopping and dining, etc earning toward elite status now. I think this will motivate people to get a card with them and focus spend on their eshopping portal, etc. I know now I am looking closely at this. On the other hand, I am thinking that this can increase the amount of AA elites too and that could be a problem.

  • This “enhancement” isn’t as bad as I feared.

  • Julieta caraballo says:

    I Believe that airlines are always trying to improve their rewards programs, but they not always benefit their customers. I hope this helps us to get better advantage of their frequent flyer program.

  • Wow…everyone and their dog will have AA EXP from next year then. Genuinely not sure how I feel about this.

  • If only they would recognise OneWorld for upgrades. It makes me avoid American metal

  • Dr Anil Singhvi says:

    The problem is with the flight segment requirement. I was a long time elite member, and I used to fly international long distance. Now each of that flight will count as one segment only??

    • Yeah, I’m in the same situation. I usually fly long-haul flights booked with cash and short-haul flights booked with miles. So, I typically only qualify with 15-20 segments. Looks like we are going to have to segment-run to get our perks 🙁

  • Timothy Sales says:

    Thanks, once again, for another informative update on American’s Aadvantage program. I haven’t been flying enough to qualify for elite status, but I can see that I could benefit from getting an Aadvantage credit card to earn more miles.

  • I didn’t find the old system confusing but I think the new system is also fairly simple. This certainly transforms my AAdvantage Executive card from primarily an Admirals Club Membership for myself and my family to a card that I will use for significant spend.

  • I got gifted AA Platinum status for 3 months back in July, which expired early this month, and got downgraded to Gold. Found out today that that “temporary” promo elite status got further extended all the way until January 2023. Free 18 months of elite status when three were advertised is a WIN. As far as I’m concerned, there’s all upside to these changes, and although I don’t generate enough revenue for elite status to be relevant, it’s nice that they’ve leveraged card spending and shopping portals, something which I hope that the other U.S. airlines follow suit.

  • I see that American has delayed point expiration, but is the expiration still 18 months in general?

  • Not bad at all. I am thrilled by the one metric system instead of the absurd complexity of EQM, EQD, and EQS. Also, while I won’t be spending my way to status, it is nice that card spending contributes to the Loyalty Points.

  • Seems like a little too many ifs, ands or buts to me…