Any tips for getting status back with American?

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Topic Author
Retiredron
Posts: 35
Joined: Mon Mar 27, 2017 9:43 pm

Any tips for getting status back with American?

Post by Retiredron » Sat Apr 06, 2019 9:02 am

Hi all,

I retired a few years back and, at the time, was Executive Platinum with American due to my many business trips overseas. Since I'm no longer flying in business class at a high frequency I have lost status with American but I still have about 50 "500 mile upgrades" in my account. American won't let me use these upgrades until I regain status. We are doing some traveling for pleasure but I really don't think I will ever travel enough on American to gain even the lowest status level back.

Any tips for regaining status with American without meeting their minimum mileage requirements? Any tips for how I can use my "500 mileage upgrades" without status? I researched applying for their credit card but the bonus mileage you get with it does not count toward gaining status. I've searched various travel sites and it seems like I really have no options other than to start flying a lot again on American!

Thanks in advance for any input you have on this question.

anil686
Posts: 877
Joined: Thu May 08, 2014 12:33 pm

Re: Any tips for getting status back with American?

Post by anil686 » Sat Apr 06, 2019 9:20 am

Not really - achieving gold status is not super hard. If you fly first class (can find cheaper fares sometimes on relatively uncommon routes) of if you fly premium economy to Europe (different than premium economy domestic) - with a few other trips sprinkled in the year you should be able to do it. Unfortunately American has been ranked to have one of the worst FF programs and it became even worse two years ago when they re-did it to include dollars spent as a metric in status in addition to miles.

One comment (full disclosure I am a gold member), the 500 mile upgrades are pretty much worthless to use unless you are Platinum level or higher status. As a gold member, you cannot be upgraded prior to 24 hours prior to the flight and by that time, the first class cabin is typically filled. After that, there are typically between 15-20 Gold status members who have requested upgrades and they have a formula to determine spots on the upgrade list. I have been a gold member for five consecutive years now and I have only been upgraded on relatively uncommon routes or from small airports which happen to have a larger plane going to an American hub (upper midwest to Chicago). It happens I would estimate less than 10% of the time as a gold member - JMO though and never on common routes going from a hub to NYC, LA, SFO, or PHL...

rocdoc1
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Mar 08, 2018 9:12 am

Re: Any tips for getting status back with American?

Post by rocdoc1 » Sat Apr 06, 2019 9:27 am

I have status from the Advantage credit card.

bob60014
Posts: 920
Joined: Mon Jul 31, 2017 8:59 pm
Location: The Land Beyond ORD

Re: Any tips for getting status back with American?

Post by bob60014 » Sat Apr 06, 2019 10:44 am

Unlikely, but check with the Flyer Talk group. A lot of road warriors there with great info.

https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/america ... ntage-733/

DatWayMon
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Jul 09, 2018 12:21 pm

Re: Any tips for getting status back with American?

Post by DatWayMon » Sat Apr 06, 2019 10:48 am

I'm Lifetime Gold which is pretty much worthless when it comes to using 500 mile upgrades. I've had more than two dozen languishing in my account for over a decade. So I would write off those 500 mile upgrades and move on, and I certainly wouldn't start going on mileage runs to achieve status with AA.

lazydavid
Posts: 2176
Joined: Wed Apr 06, 2016 1:37 pm

Re: Any tips for getting status back with American?

Post by lazydavid » Sat Apr 06, 2019 4:07 pm

rocdoc1 wrote:
Sat Apr 06, 2019 9:27 am
I have status from the Advantage credit card.
No you don't. You have priority boarding and free luggage. That is not the same as being a Gold, Platinum, etc Aadvantage member. Holding one of these cards does not make you eligible to either purchase or redeem the 500-mile upgrades that the OP is asking about.

If you have the $450/year version of the card, you also have lounge access, and earn 10,000 EQMs after spending $40k on the card in a calendar year. So that gets you to 40% of the 25k EQMs and 0% of the $3k EQDs you need to get to Gold, the lowest status tier.

dbr
Posts: 28547
Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2007 9:50 am

Re: Any tips for getting status back with American?

Post by dbr » Sat Apr 06, 2019 5:13 pm

bob60014 wrote:
Sat Apr 06, 2019 10:44 am
Unlikely, but check with the Flyer Talk group. A lot of road warriors there with great info.

https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/america ... ntage-733/
This is definitely your best bet.

jminv
Posts: 782
Joined: Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:58 pm

Re: Any tips for getting status back with American?

Post by jminv » Sat Apr 06, 2019 5:29 pm

You can pay American to do a status challenge and pay to have the status you are challenging for with immediate effect (two different costs). Gold 400 total platinum 500 although I think each challenge cost is actually individual so results can vary. It would be better to challenge for the level you can actually keep through meeting the challenge requirements (gold). You will then have status for a 90 day period to try to use the certificates, enjoy the perks of elite status, and to try to hit the threshold to maintain status for the year (which isn’t very high).

You can do this by calling or sending an email.

American is interesting because they don’t require elite status at a competitor airline to do the status challenge. Others generally do.

I’m not familiar with American, but upgrade certificates on other airlines are very difficult to use. So I would probably go into it with the upgrades as a nice plus if it happens and the other perks as the reason for doing it.

Airlines want you to fly (and buy expensive fares, see mqd) so unless you reach a million miler level, that’s what you’ll need to do long term to keep status. Some credit cards can help you part way. The million miler level for gold is less on American than for other airlines (only 1 mil miles, delta is 2 mil), so that’s good if you’re somewhere near that level already.

Topic Author
Retiredron
Posts: 35
Joined: Mon Mar 27, 2017 9:43 pm

Re: Any tips for getting status back with American?

Post by Retiredron » Sat Apr 06, 2019 7:40 pm

I never heard of a "status challenge" so I just looked it up on Google and it appears to be a very viable option! Thanks so much for pointing me in this direction. I'm flying to Europe in July so I will wait until June and give American a call then to find out more and get the full costs for immediate Gold status (it appears that will cost around $400). Maybe with some luck I will be able to then use my 500 mile upgrades to go business class both ways!

stan1
Posts: 6691
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 4:35 pm

Re: Any tips for getting status back with American?

Post by stan1 » Sat Apr 06, 2019 7:49 pm

Retiredron wrote:
Sat Apr 06, 2019 7:40 pm
I never heard of a "status challenge" so I just looked it up on Google and it appears to be a very viable option! Thanks so much for pointing me in this direction. I'm flying to Europe in July so I will wait until June and give American a call then to find out more and get the full costs for immediate Gold status (it appears that will cost around $400). Maybe with some luck I will be able to then use my 500 mile upgrades to go business class both ways!
Oh goodness, you thought it would be that easy? 500 mile upgrades aren't usable on international flights to Europe (yes to Caribbean, Mexico, and Central America).

Topic Author
Retiredron
Posts: 35
Joined: Mon Mar 27, 2017 9:43 pm

Re: Any tips for getting status back with American?

Post by Retiredron » Sat Apr 06, 2019 7:56 pm

Oh boy! Thanks for that clarification. Economy here I come.

increment
Posts: 97
Joined: Tue May 15, 2018 2:20 pm

Re: Any tips for getting status back with American?

Post by increment » Sat Apr 06, 2019 9:17 pm

Retiredron wrote:
Sat Apr 06, 2019 7:40 pm
the full costs for immediate Gold status (it appears that will cost around $400). Maybe with some luck I will be able to then use my 500 mile upgrades to go business class both ways!
In addition to the impediments mentioned by others, American prioritizes the upgrade list by (1) status and (2) "elite-qualifying dollars" over the past year. So your place in line might be behind every other status passenger.

jcar
Posts: 181
Joined: Fri Jul 03, 2015 9:41 pm
Location: NC

Re: Any tips for getting status back with American?

Post by jcar » Sat Apr 06, 2019 10:10 pm

I retired almost two years ago. Until then I had the top tier with AA due to flying quite often. Since then they made me a lifetime gold member I believe it's called. I get priority boarding and an extra bag check. I've been using frequent flyer miles since retirement. I noticed in FLL last week the upgrade standby list displayed had 26 names for a cabin of 12 first class seats. I paid attention and none cleared the list for upgrade. I'm very happy sitting in coach and not having to fly constantly anymore. I did fly first constantly in my job but it's no big deal unless you really hit the booze which has never been my thing.

ciscovp
Posts: 97
Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2008 10:02 pm

Re: Any tips for getting status back with American?

Post by ciscovp » Sat Apr 06, 2019 11:13 pm

I got Lifetime Gold status when I achieve Executive Platinum in 2002. So you still have status however not sure if you will be able to use your 500 mile upgrades.

lazydavid
Posts: 2176
Joined: Wed Apr 06, 2016 1:37 pm

Re: Any tips for getting status back with American?

Post by lazydavid » Sun Apr 07, 2019 6:48 am

ciscovp wrote:
Sat Apr 06, 2019 11:13 pm
I got Lifetime Gold status when I achieve Executive Platinum in 2002. So you still have status however not sure if you will be able to use your 500 mile upgrades.
This was probably just coincidental timing. You get Lifetime Gold at 1M miles, Lifetime Platinum at 2M. Earning Executive Platinum in any given year doesn't grant you this status, though obviously both require flying quite a bit. All miles (including credit card rewards) used to count towards this total until about 10 years ago, now only BIS miles do. My wife has never had status ever in her life, but is 3/4 of the way to Lifetime Gold.

Trism
Posts: 562
Joined: Mon Jul 18, 2016 6:34 pm

Re: Any tips for getting status back with American?

Post by Trism » Sun Apr 14, 2019 4:36 pm

jcar wrote:
Sat Apr 06, 2019 10:10 pm
I retired almost two years ago. Until then I had the top tier with AA due to flying quite often. Since then they made me a lifetime gold member I believe it's called. I get priority boarding and an extra bag check. I've been using frequent flyer miles since retirement. I noticed in FLL last week the upgrade standby list displayed had 26 names for a cabin of 12 first class seats. I paid attention and none cleared the list for upgrade. I'm very happy sitting in coach and not having to fly constantly anymore. I did fly first constantly in my job but it's no big deal unless you really hit the booze which has never been my thing.
The 26 names on the airport upgrade list were most likely vying for just one open seat.

AA starts processing upgrades for Executive Platinums > 100 hours before the flight... and lower statuses begin after that.

https://www.aa.com/i18n/aadvantage-prog ... nefits.jsp

They tend to hold one seat in First open until just prior to boarding.

Trader Joe
Posts: 596
Joined: Fri Apr 25, 2014 6:38 pm

Re: Any tips for getting status back with American?

Post by Trader Joe » Sun Apr 14, 2019 4:42 pm

Retiredron wrote:
Sat Apr 06, 2019 9:02 am
Hi all,

I retired a few years back and, at the time, was Executive Platinum with American due to my many business trips overseas. Since I'm no longer flying in business class at a high frequency I have lost status with American but I still have about 50 "500 mile upgrades" in my account. American won't let me use these upgrades until I regain status. We are doing some traveling for pleasure but I really don't think I will ever travel enough on American to gain even the lowest status level back.

Any tips for regaining status with American without meeting their minimum mileage requirements? Any tips for how I can use my "500 mileage upgrades" without status? I researched applying for their credit card but the bonus mileage you get with it does not count toward gaining status. I've searched various travel sites and it seems like I really have no options other than to start flying a lot again on American!

Thanks in advance for any input you have on this question.
Yes, starting booking flights.

BusterMcTaco
Posts: 271
Joined: Tue Jul 11, 2017 6:36 pm

Re: Any tips for getting status back with American?

Post by BusterMcTaco » Sun Apr 14, 2019 7:06 pm

For what it's worth I think chasing status is a losing proposition. If you don't fly enough to get it, you won't fly enough to benefit. Consider just buying the best flight in the cabin you can afford each time.

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