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If you fly on American Airlines frequently, you may be able to achieve Elite status in the American Airlines AAdvantage program. With such status comes upgrades and other travel rewards. How can you get Elite status with American Airlines AAdvantage? Let’s explore this and good ways to earn miles in the process.
To achieve elite status, you’ll have to earn at least 25,000 miles or fly on 30 flight segments. Miles can be earned by purchasing tickets on American Airlines, American Eagle, American Connection, Alaska Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Dragonair, Finnair, Horizon Air, Iberia, Japan Airlines (including J-Air, JAL Express, JALways, Japan Asia Airways and Japan Transocean Air), LAN Airlines (including LAN Argentina, LAN Ecuador, LAN Express and LAN Peru), Malev Hungarian Airlines, Mexicana, Quantas, Royal Jordanian, S7 and American Airlines marketed codeshare flights (if the ticket reflects an American Airlines coded flight number).
Once you’re hit 25,000 miles or 30 flight segments, you’ll achieve AAdvantage Gold Status. At 50,000 miles or 60 segments, you’ll achieve AAdvantage Platinum status. At 100,000 miles or 100 segments, you’ll achieve AAdvantage Executive Platinum status.
At AAdvantage Gold status, you will have access to complimentary upgrades on full-fare tickets within 24 hours of your flight. You’ll also have access to other upgrades such as companion upgrades. Additionally, you’ll receive the following benefits and more:
- 25 percent Elite mileage bonus
- Minimum mileage guarantee
- Special service desk
- Preferred seating
- Priority check-in, security screening and boarding
- Same-day standby
- Waived checked baggage charge
- Discounted Admirals Club membership
- Waived award processing charge
At AAdvantage Platinum status, you’ll receive the same benefits as with AAdvantage Gold and the following:
- Upgrades on full-fare tickets within 72 hours of your flight
- 100 percent Elite mileage bonus
- Oneworld Partner Lounge access
Once you hit AAdvantage Executive Platinum status, there is a big jump in rewards. In addition to all of the aforementioned awards, you’ll get the following:
- Unlimited complimentary upgrades
- Up to 8 systemwide upgrades per year (confirmed upgrades at the time of booking as opposed to hoping you’ll get an upgrade a few days before your flight)
- Guaranteed economy class availability
- Waitlist priority for purchased first or business-class tickets
- Waived ticketing service charge
- Flagship Check-in at London Heathrow Airport (an easier, less hectic way of checking in than the standard procedure)
- Waived award charge
- Expanded availability for reward seats
As you can see, the benefits rise with each status level and you are more likely to get upgrades with each rise in status, as well.
How to Get Upgrades
If you qualify for upgrades, you may wonder how to go about getting them. In order to get a systemwide upgrade (available for Executive Platinum status members), contact the Elite Service Desk and notify them that you’d like such an upgrade. This can be done at the time of booking or later.
For standard upgrades, call AAdvantage Reservations at 1-800-882-8880. These can also be requested at the time of booking. However, they will not be confirmed until the period in which they are eligible, such as within 72 hours of your flight for AAdvantage Platinum members.
Earning Points with American Airlines
There are 2 credit cards that are specifically tailored toward American Airlines rewards. They are as follows:
Citi Gold Select/AAdvantage World MasterCard
This card has a $50 annual fee. However, it has limitations such as a maximum of 6,000 miles that can be earned per year. So, for big spenders who are looking to gain Elite status and have less restrictions, the Citi Executive/AAdvantage card which I detail below offers more rewards, albeit at a higher price.
Citi Executive/AAdvantage Card
The Citi Executive/AAdvantage card comes with a $450 annual fee. It has no foreign transaction fee, which will be useful if you travel abroad frequently. It’s other fees are similar to those you’d find on most other credit cards.
Each year, after $40,000 is spent, you’ll receive 10,000 elite qualifying miles. Two miles per dollar spent are offered for American Airlines purchases and 1 mile per dollar spent is offered on other purchases.
Additionally, your first bag will be checked without charge when using this card and you’ll have access to the Admirals Club, which is basically an airport lounge. If you travel a lot, then the $450 annual fee may be worth it when considering all the miles that you can accumulate with this card.
- Credit RequiredGood Credit
- Rewards ProgramEarn 2 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on American Airlines purchases, 1 AAdvantage® mile everywhere else. $85 annual fee waived for the first 12 months*.
- Signup Bonus30,000 Bonus Milesafter $1000 in purchases within the first 3 months of cardmembership.