Most of the US based airlines are offering status match programs to woo business from competitors. I have written about United’s (read here), US Airways’ (read here), Delta’s (read here) and Alaska’s (read here) status match programs previously.
EDIT: This article has been corrected to include the correct number of EQP’s for the Platinum challenge that is 10,000.
American Airlines has offered several targeted offers throughout the year and one public one too that was shortly withdrawn. The airline, however, continues to offer AAdvantage Gold & Platinum elite status challenges for cash (no status with other airlines required) and Executive Platinum challenge without fee for Delta Diamond’s and United Premier 1K’s/GS’. The offer maybe available for US Airways Chairman’s members as well.
Elite Qualifying Points (EQP’s) versus Elite Qualifying Miles (EQM’s)
AA’s challenges are based on EQP’s and not on EQM’s. You can normally qualify for AAdvantage status based on either EQM’s or EQP’s.
The most discounted economy fares only earn half EQP’s per mile flown and full fare economy to first class earn 1.5 times the EQP’s per mile flown.
Above is an example from Frankfurt to Rio de Janeiro via Dallas.
The number of EQP’s that you would earn on Deep Discount Economy 0.5*(5143+5222+5222+5143) = 10,364
The number of EQP’s that you would earn on Discount Economy (5143+5222+5222+5143) = 20,728
The number of EQP’s that you would earn on Full Fare Economy, Business or First 1.5* (5143+5222+5222+5143) = 31,092
Here is another example from Los Angeles to London return.
The number of EQP’s that you would earn on Deep Discount Economy 0.5*(5456+5456) = 5456
The number of EQP’s that you would earn on Discount Economy (5456+5456) = 10911
The number of EQP’s that you would earn on Full Fare Economy, Business or First 1.5* (5456+5456) = 16368
The eligible airlines for completing the challenge are American Airlines, British Airways, Iberia, Japan Airlines (JAL), Qantas and Finnair, which was just added to the list of participating carriers.
Eligible codeshare flights are also valid for the challenge. American Airlines treats all AA marketed flights, regardless of the operating carrier, as their own for elite qualifying purposes. Flights on airlines such as Etihad or Qatar are also qualifying as long as you are ticketed on American Airlines flight number.
“Eligible codeshares” would also imply that British Airways, Iberia, JAL, Qantas and Finnair coded flights that are operated by other airlines would qualify for the challenge as long as they qualify for AA credit.
You have to check the eligible fare classes on partner airlines for EQP accrual. You can access the charts on AA’s website here.
Timing Of The challenge
You can usually request the challenge to start on the 1st or 16th of the month and it is valid for three month period. If you start the challenge after June 16 and successfully complete it, the status will be valid until the end of February + 2 years.
Requesting The Challenge
The fastest way is to call the AAdvantage customer service number (1 800-882-8880) in the States. If you are not located in the US, just use Skype.
Be very specific about the challenge that you would like to sign up for: Gold or Platinum. For Executive Platinum in, they require you to submit documents about the status with other airline.
If you sign up for the Platinum status, AA may grant you the Gold status immediately (remember to ask).
Make sure that you get the status dates that you prefer. The starting of the status can be backdated for up to two weeks.
Gold & Platinum Challenge
Gold challenge requires 5,000 EQP’s during the three month period and a fee of $100 to $120.
Platinum challenge requires
20,000 10,000 EQP’s during the three month period and a fee of $200 to $250. (Edit: I mistakenly had the number of miles that you need to fly on deeply discounted fares that is 20,000, which could be 10,000 EQP’s on lowest fares, to successfully complete the challenge first.)
Note that these are based on EQP’s and not on EQM’s.
You would not fulfill the Platinum challenge requirement by flying Los Angeles to London return in deep discount economy, although you fly more than 10,000 miles, due to 0.5 EQP multiplier (only 5456 EQP’s).
You would, however, fulfill the challenge requirement even on the lowest fares from Frankfurt to Rio de Janeiro if you route it via Dallas (10,364 EQP’s)
Executive Platinum (EXP) Challenge
American also offers instant Executive Platinum status for three month period and requires you to earn 25,000 EQP’s during that period for successfully complete it. This is only offered for top tier members of United and Delta, and requires documentation of current status with them. There is no fee for this.
Upon successfully completing the challenge, you will receive the 8 eVips that you can systemwide to upgrade flights (only long-haul makes sense).
Thank you for your interest in making American Airlines your first
choice for all your travel needs.
We are pleased to grant you a special AAdvantage Executive Platinum®**
(oneworld® Emerald) membership, valid from August 1, 2013 through
October 31, 2013. Your status will be updated within 3 to 5 business
days. Your membership card will be mailed within 3 to 5 weeks to the
address on your account, once your status has been updated. This
one-time trial offer will afford you all of the privileges and most of
the benefits of this level, including:
– Complimentary 500-Mile Upgrades (see www.aa.com/500mileupgrades)
– 100% mileage bonus on base miles for eligible flights
– Waived AA charges for two checked bags within current size and weight
– PriorityAAccessSM privileges at airport check-in, security and
In addition, if you earn 25,000 elite-qualifying points by flying on
select airlines* while enjoying this special AAdvantage Executive
Platinum status, we will extend your membership through February 28,
2015 and deposit eight (8) one-way Systemwide Upgrades** into your
account. For more information about earning elite-qualifying points,
visit aa.com/elitestatus at your convenience. We are pleased to update
your account with 2,643 elite qualifying points for your travel August
1, 2013 from DFW to Buenos Aires.
We’re here to help, should you have any questions related to this
limited offer. We value your business and look forward to welcoming you
AAdvantage Customer Service
* Travel on eligible airlines includes American Airlines, American
Eagle, the AmericanConnection® carrier, British Airways, Iberia, Japan
Airlines, Qantas, and effective July 15, 2013, Finnair, as well as
eligible codeshare flights. Bonus elite-qualifying points do not count
toward your qualification for this offer. You must re-qualify for
AAdvantage elite status membership annually.
**AAdvantage Executive Platinum® status received through this offer does
not automatically include the eight (8) one-way Systemwide Upgrades that
are granted upon meeting the standard qualification requirements for
this membership level. To receive this benefit, you must earn 25,000
points as noted above. Upon qualification, these upgrades will be
deposited into your account within two weeks following your qualifying
flight and will be valid for travel through February 28, 2015.
Above is the copy of the email received from American regarding EXP challenge.
American Airlines is quite generous at offering fast track offers for Gold and Platinum status for a fee without requiring you to have any status with other airlines.
The Executive Platinum challenge is a good and includes all the goodies (the eight eVips) for successfully completing it. You also receive the Executive Platinum status for the duration of the challenge.