Status Fears: Only 4 Miles Away…

Posted in Mileage Programs

I’ve got a problem. After two years of qualifying for Platinum status on American, I now find myself at 24,996 miles for the year — exactly four miles away from achieving Gold status for 2015. While I was able to arrange for most of my international flights in previous years to be American Airlines or its oneworld partners, this year proved to be much more difficult. Now I find myself on the precipice of Gold with a major choice to make. Do I book a flight to get those extra four miles or do I just let it drop? Is Gold status even worth it?

I’ve called American twice now to see if they’ll make like Spike Lee and Do The Right Thing by crediting me the four EQMs. They will not. In fact, twice I’ve been told that they’re happy to help me and then pointed me to American’s new option to secure status which involves me spending $399 for Gold or $1199 for Platinum. No thanks. I can just book a quick flight to get Gold for well under $399. In fact, a roundtrip to Vegas will set me back $139. I could also book a flight home to Chicago for $326 and I’m currently leaning towards that option. It’s still less than the $399 cost to just get Gold.

The question, though, becomes whether it’s even worth it. I’ve got the Citi Executive Platinum AAdvantage card that gets me a free checked bag, priority boarding, and lounge access. Gold comes with the bag and boarding amenities as well as free same day standby and a 25% mileage bonus. It also gives me access to Main Cabin Extra seats, but that’s only until March 1, 2015 and my Platinum status extends until then anyway. I use the same day standby option all the time, so it’s actually probably the feature most important to me in terms of status (as well as those Main Cabin Extra seats). So, the real question I need to ask is whether same day standby and the mileage bonus are worth the $326 it’ll cost me to fly to Chicago.

I just don’t know. I was home for a full week in June, which gave me plenty of family time, but this is the holidays and I just made it through a fairly depressing solo Thanksgiving here in Los Angeles. It would be nice to see my family, but it’s also -100,000 degrees in Chicago in December. I could have qualified for an extra 10,000 EQMs via my credit card, but you have to spend $40,000 for the year to get there and I’m not even close, so it’s highly unlikely that I’ll make it there by the end of the year.

Essentially my choice is to book a flight to get the status via earned miles, spend a ton of money to get it via my credit card bonus, or just let the status drop and start flying JetBlue more now that I’ve seen their magical ways up close.

I NEED YOUR HELP. What would you do in my situation?


  1. Aren’t there cheap Alaskan Fares out of LAX? Or take the short trip to San Diego and take the Surfliner train home. It could be a fun day trip.

  2. Doesn’t AA have a shopping portal like some of the other airlines aka SouthWest so you can make a small purchase and get the points?

  3. With Gold you can also upgrade occasionally, whereas with the Exec card you cannot. You can likely find a fare much cheaper than $399 to purchase Gold or $326 to Chicago. A short hop on US to Phoenix or even down to San Diego will set you back ~$200 and 5-6 hours of your life.

    I can’t believe AA wouldn’t just give you 4 EQM. Seems penny wise, but pound foolish to me.

  4. I think there are a couple of other options that have not yet ben mentioned. Firstly, if you plan on doing any other flying for the first quarter of next year, AA has publicly stated that they will combine your EQMs from both airlines (US and AA) and from activity in 2014 through the point of the integration in 2015 (Q2) for that year’s status. Assuming you take any flight on AA or US between Jan 1-Integration point you will have Gold at least next year. At most you would not have status for three months (March 1-June 30) which might be a tolerable amount of time. Another option, however, is to buy a status challenge from US Airways for $200. Of your options this one may be the best. If they are still available for sale at the end of February, you could essentially extend your AA status by purchasing a 90 trial os US Silver (the equivalent) and bridging the time you would be without status. However, if you are able to fly 12,500 miles during the period (maybe first 90 days of next year) you could actually still obtain AA Platinum at the price of US Airways $200 Silver trial. If you found a good enough deal you could actually hit Chairman’s for the same $200 silver trial, assuming you clock 30,000 miles in 90 days, and given what they will offer for the (Chariman get two one-way SWUs + companion SWUs for the same itinerary) and then a full 8 SWUs after the integration, that for me is worth the investment.

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