American Airlines American Airlines AAdvantage Copenhagen CPH

AAdvantage Executive Platinum 30K Challenge – Day 1 California to Dusseldorf 5,956 EQM

After one day of American Airlines flights, I am 20% of the way through my American Airlines AAdvantage Executive Platinum 30,000 EQM Fast-Track Challenge. My two qualifying American Airlines flight segments were Orange County SNA to Chicago ORD and Chicago to Dusseldorf DUS. My third flight segment on Air Berlin from Dusseldorf to Copenhagen is not eligible for the fast-track challenge, even though it is a Oneworld Alliance member airline and earns EQM and redeemable miles in Advantage.

My AAdvantage fast-track challenge only allows specific Oneworld Alliance airline members as qualifying EQM, including American, US Airways, British Airways, Iberia, Finnair, Japan Airlines and Qantas for flights flown from June 15 to October 9, 2015.

  • Earn 6,000 EQM for AAdvantage Gold.
  • 12,000 EQM for AAdvantage Platinum.
  • 30,000 EQM for AAdvantage Executive Platinum.

AAdvantage elite fast-track 2015 offer

This is a targeted offer for my account I received by email in June (and again in August) and I do not have a link to share with readers.

Three American Airlines tickets will earn more than 30,000 EQM in AAdvantage over the next month and qualify me for Executive Platinum status through February 2017. This elite level normally requires 100,000 EQM in a calendar year. One of the most valued benefits is eight system-wide upgrades, which can be used to upgrade an American Airlines operated flight from economy to Business Class.

Ticket 1: 12,022 EQM; Orange County SNA – Chicago ORD – Dusseldorf DUS – Copenhagen CPH – London LHR – Los Angeles LAX $672.70

Ticket 2: 12,878 EQM; Bergen, Norway BGO – London LHR – Dallas DFW – San Francisco SFO – London LHR – Bergen $376.00

Ticket 3: 12,894 EQM; Bergen, Norway BGO – London LHR – Chicago ORD – San Francisco SFO – Chicago – London – Bergen  $397.50

These three tickets will earn 37,794 EQM and I should be AAdvantage Executive Platinum for my final flight home from Copenhagen to Los Angeles one month from now.

Four of the six transatlantic flights are on British Airways. My first two transatlantic flights are on American Airlines.

AAdvantage Executive Platinum 30,000 EQM Challenge

Flight Segment 1: Orange County SNA – Chicago ORD

Aircraft: American 737

Flight Segment: 1,726 EQM

The plane left the gate at 7:00am yesterday. Ten minutes after leaving the gate, while sitting on the runway, the pilot says we have to return to the gate for a minor maintenance issue. He said it was a deferrable maintenance issue, but paperwork had to be filed and it should be a quick fix and then we would be on our way. The flight departed 90 minutes late.

I had a 2 hours 15 minutes layover in ORD scheduled. Basically, I walked off the plane in Chicago and ten minutes later boarded the plane to Dusseldorf. While I was happy to make the flight, I gave my checked bag a 50/50 chance of being in Copenhagen when I arrived.

Flight Segment 2: Chicago ORD – Dusseldorf DUS

Aircraft: American 767-300

Flight Segment EQM: 4,230 EQM

Cumulative EQM: 5,956 EQM

I was off the Orange County flight at 2:47pm and the Dusseldorf flight departure was 3:25pm. The aircraft was an old 767-300 that looked fairly beat up. I read in the inflight magazine that American Airlines is adding two new jets per week to their fleet.

This plane only had power outlets in premium economy seats. I was near the back of the plane in row 41G, the center section aisle seat in a 2-3-2 configuration.

There was no air flow control button and worst of all was the inflight entertainment system with fixed overhead monitors. My seat was in a good location for viewing the monitor. The primary problem was the light from the monitors through the flight as four movies played during the eight hours. I searched my carry-on bag and probably for the first time in more than a decade I had no eyeshade in my bag. Generally I have at least two eyeshades with me all the time in my backpack or smaller murses I take on trips. Somehow the eyeshades were separated from my bags after July’s trip to Copenhagen and London. Eventually I put on a baseball cap, dark sunglasses and a blanket over my head to block out the light and slept an hour or two.

Save the Earth

The main movie on the flight was Disney’s Tomorrowland with George Clooney. I enjoyed that movie and found its message uplifting and hopefully inspirational to a younger audience for tackling environmental and social issues of our times.

Off-topic to the subject of travel, but ten years ago I spent a summer scoring New York State Regents Exams, high school essays on the topic of writing about a NGO, nongovernmental organization. I read and scored over one thousand New York high school essays, and to my great disappointment, there was not a single essay on Greenpeace, World Wildlife Fund, Nature Conservancy or any environmental conservation organization.

Welcome to Germany

There were several gasps from passengers as we touched down in Dusseldorf. The fog was so thick that people staring out the window did not see the ground until we hit it and it startled many passengers.

Most exciting thing about Dusseldorf was getting a passport stamp. I spent one week in Berlin in 2013, but this is the first time in ten years I arrived in Germany as my first stop in the EU to get a Germany passport stamp.

DUS airport

Dusseldorf Airport is filled with retail shops and stairs.

DUS Duty-Free

You need to be able to carry your luggage up and down stairs or else wait for a lot of elevators.

Flight Segment 3: Air Berlin Dusseldorf – Copenhagen, Denmark

A 75 minute flight and only about 35% of seats occupied. I was the only person seated in my row and that made me wonder why I was assigned a middle seat? I moved to the window seat for the view.

Enjoyed seeing the Rhine River once we flew out of the fog layer surrounding Dusseldorf. Fog and the river took me back to memories of two years living near Mainz, Germany. I went to Wiesbaden High School in 1974-75.

The 25th anniversary of Germany reunification will be marked on October 3, 2015.

AirBerlin magazine

Seemed odd flying back into Copenhagen Airport CPH seven weeks after my summer trip. There have been terrific sales with American Airlines to many airports in Europe over the past couple weeks. At the time I planned these 30,000 EQM trips the first week of August, my $672 ticket to Copenhagen from Orange County was the best deal around.

Air Berlin Denmark

I never thought of Denmark as an island nation before this summer. Hundreds of islands comprise the nation of Denmark. Flying into Copenhagen reveals how much water shapes the country as you gaze down at the engineering feats of bridges connecting many of the land masses.

Familiarity with an airport makes international travel so much easier. I had my train ticket to Malmo, Sweden in hand before my luggage arrived. My checked bag made it to Copenhagen on the flight with me.

Copenhagen is an easy airport to navigate and train access is only 100 meters past the airport arrivals exit doors.


Air Berlin Economy O Class and AAdvantage Miles 

My American Airlines ticket is in economy O class. Air Berlin operated flights in O class earn 25% flight miles with AAdvantage. I should get 96 redeemable AAdvantage miles and EQM for the flight, however the 96 EQM do not qualify for the 30,000 EQM fast-track offer for AAdvantage Executive Platinum status.

I am 20% of the way to 30,000 AAdvantage EQM. My next qualifying flight is next week. In the meantime, I am spending two days in Malmo, Sweden and then flying Norwegian Air to Prague, Czech Republic.


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