American Airlines Elite Status Guide - Hexbag

American Airlines Elite Status Guide


I earned my first elite airline level, American Airlines Platinum. I did it how? Worth the effort? Explore it in this post.

American Airlines Status

Four American Airlines status categories are Gold (40,000 loyalty points), Platinum (75,000), Platinum Pro (125,000), and Executive Platinum (200,000). From March 1 to February 28, status levels are computed yearly. (I became Platinum in January 2024 and am valid until March 31, 2025.)


American Airlines Loyalty Point Calculation
I’ve always supported American Airlines since I live near a hub. The airline switched to a loyalty point system for elite membership in 2022. From American, oneworld airline partners, and Jet Blue, you get one loyalty point every qualifying mile. You may also earn reward miles by using their credit cards, purchasing on their portal sites (SimplyMiles, AAdvantage eShopping, AAdvantage Dining, American Airlines Vacations), or via partners. Spending more makes elite status easy. Money now matters more than distance or cost.

Flight loyalty points are based on base fare before taxes. You get loyalty points for every dollar spent. Your status gives you a big mileage benefit for every dollar spent:


-Five miles per $1 for AAdvantage members

-AAdvantage Gold: 7 miles/$

-AAdvantage Platinum: 8 miles/$

-9 miles/dollar AAdvantage Platinum Pro

-AAdvantage Executive Platinum: 11 miles/$

In April, I’ll go to Spain for employment. This flight earns 4,288 loyalty points with the 8-mile multiplier for platinum level as the base cost is $536.

How I Got American Airlines Platinum

This pie chart shows how I got American Airlines AAdvantage Platinum status. Flights (44%; 34,357 reward points), credit card spending (24%; 18,687), American Airlines hotels (26%; 20,520), and eShopping (5%; 4,096 loyalty points) got me 79,369 loyalty points.

I save half my salary and don’t spend much, so earning platinum level requires a planned mix of efforts. Since premium airline status depends on spending, it’s hard to get.

Full Disclosure: I teach photography for a luxury travel firm as a freelancer, therefore most of my flights are covered. This work is the only way I can achieve status since I wouldn’t fly as much without it. I plan to keep loyal to American or oneworld airlines wherever possible. Traveling is tiring, thus I’ll always fly a non-oneworld airline if they offer a direct route instead of connecting or overnighting to remain faithful. In Asia, the oneworld alliance stinks. Star Alliance with Singapore Airlines and others is excellent here. I’m contemplating transferring to Star Alliance and United due to these and forthcoming American Airlines changes. Details later in the text.)

A few remarks for clarity:

I earned 34,357 reward points on 13 American Airlines and oneworld partner trips.
American Airlines offers loyalty point benefits for hotel bookings. One three-night Dubai hotel stay earned me 10,000 reward points. After 60,000 loyalty points, I received a 20% bonus on hotel and retail points. I needed these hotel reservations for status. American Airlines seems to charge 10% extra for rooms than booking directly with the hotel. These circumstances always cost extra, much as award travel with points. Airlines are businesses and seek to generate money.

American Airlines hotel loyalty points change regularly, so check back after booking to see if there is a better value. When I checked a few weeks later, this Dubai hotel had 10,000 loyalty points and $200 less. I canceled and rebooked since it was free!

About 39% of my credit card expenditure was for job costs I was reimbursed for. I never carry a credit card debt and use it for everything.

I only purchased items I planned to buy on eShoppping. I returned several goods I didn’t like and haven’t lost any loyalty points. I purchased cat food for my folks and had them pay me back for points. I usually purchase online with Rakuten, the cash back program, so going via American Airlines cost me some money. Exchanged cash back for reward points.
American Airlines “bonus miles” are not loyalty points. Only frequent flier points are meant.
American Airlines Platinum Benefits

After flying Royal Jordanian, a oneworld carrier, to Jordan for business, I earned status on American Airlines and gained admission to their Priority Pass lounge at Amman Airport. The Petra monastery is best photographed in the afternoon, so I climbed there in Jordan.

Premium Cabin Upgrades: I like the possibility to upgrade to Business Class (25,000 miles + $350 charge) for long-haul trips. (I upgraded on a 15-hour journey to Sydney in October with gold status but not on my last Tokyo-LAX travel with platinum a few weeks ago.) Gold and platinum status seldom gets me a free first-class upgrade on domestic flights.

Extra-leg room seats (up to $100) are available after reserving in the Main Cabin. I would never pay for them, but they’re great on long-haul flights without upgrades.

60% Status Mileage Bonus: Every dollar spent on flights earns a 60% bonus, helping you gain status quicker.

Two free bags + priority handling: Nice, but I never check two bags. When I have Global Entry and don’t want to wait for my luggage, priority handling is fantastic.

Security and Boarding Priority Lanes: My greatest flying annoyance is fighting to carry my photographic gear, which I don’t want to check for theft or damage. Priority boarding fixes this easy. Platinum, gold, and American Airlines credit cards provide you group 3, 4, and 5. Group 5 works for me with my baggage, so this isn’t a major changer. Priority boarding on oneworld airlines has saved me. British Airways tried to have me check my carry-on luggage containing my photographic gear. Last summer, priority boarding rescued me. Gold priority boarding made a difference.

Oneworld Sapphire Status: Lounge access is one of my top three privileges since I loathe airports and prefer anything that makes them more bearable. You only receive lounge access on oneworld airlines. International travelers may use business class lounges. I receive Admirals Club access on American Airlines, which is a game-changer—free champagne, great cuisine, and showers. Nice place to work too.

Same-day priority standby and a trip planning desk are further bonuses.

Alfred the Gnome at Egypt’s Sphnix. Private tours of the Sphnix let us go closer than normal admission tickets.

How does American Airlines Gold differ from Platinum?

Gold rating grants priority upgrades but just one free checked bag and no main cabin extra. The mileage incentive is lower, and you only receive Oneworld Sapphire status with priority boarding but no lounge access.

Worth it to get American Airlines Platinum?

If flying American Airlines or another oneworld alliance airline often is handy, it may be worth it.

Last year, priority boarding on other oneworld flights saved me from checking my photographic gear, making gold membership worthwhile. I was upgraded to business class on a 15-hour journey, which was enormous. (This was my second business flight.) Platinum status is still unclear as I’ve just had it for two months. I got joined the Admiral’s Club at LAX a few weeks ago and got complimentary main class additional seats with more legroom on American Airlines and British Airways flights. British Airways doesn’t allow mileage upgrades, which is disappointing.

Along with my American Airlines credit card ($95 annual cost), I have the Chase Sapphire Reserve card ($550 annual fee). The $300/year travel credit reduces the charge to $250 and covers Global Entry every five years. I used Chase to gain points for flights and hotels. I used it most until last year, when I switched to my American Airlines card. After reaching platinum, I used the Chase card until March 1, when the loyalty points year began. American Airlines status practically negates the need for additional credit cards. It’s either downgrade the Chase card or change my airline association next year.

I’ve booked most of my trips on oneworld flights this year to earn points and get lounge access and premium seats. It will be clearer by September whether it was worthwhile. I’ll update then!

New American AAdvantage changes

Starting May 1, 2024, American Airlines will only award loyalty points via its chosen third-party merchants. The identities will be revealed in April. The goal is to compel everyone to book on their website. Egencia is essential for one of my professions, thus I’ll likely move to United Airlines shortly if this list doesn’t contain it. The list is expected in April.

Even if you prefer another airline, they provide identical incentives and mile/status earning. Please find this useful.

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