2016 AAdvantage program changes American Airlines American Airlines AAdvantage

Wife’s AAdvantage Elite Fast Track summer 2016 EQM email offer

My wife received a targeted email offer today for an elite fast track EQM challenge from American Airlines for flights by September 9, 2016. She has flown one round trip ticket Amsterdam to Las Vegas this year for 11,396 EQM. She has one flight ticketed this summer, one way San Francisco to Stockholm. That ticket earns 6,278 EQM as British Airways operated flights on American Airlines codeshare tickets.

AAdvantage Elite Status Fast Track Offer

AAdvantage EQM Needed May 18 to September 9 

  • 7,000 EQM Gold
  • 12,500 EQM Platinum
  • 35,000 EQM Executive Platinum

AAdvantage 35EQM Elite Challenge-K

Kelley needs

  • 722 EQM Gold Elite
  • 6,222 EQM Platinum
  • 28,722 EQM Executive Platinum

Being Kelley’s husband for 27 years, here is my ‘Goldilocks Advice’ on what level of elite status to go for

Should she fly for Gold elite?

Since I am Executive Platinum, Kelley only needs to be covered when traveling solo. That does not frequently happen and mostly it is a result of my travel itinerary and connecting her to some place I already planned to be from an earlier ticket purchase. The main benefit of Gold elite is free checked bag in USA and same day standby. A free checked bag could be a $50 savings on a round trip ticket, however, in our travels, she is the better traveler with managing only a carry-on bag. Gold elite has minimal foreseeable value for the expense of basically a mileage run ticket.

If it were me needing only 722 EQM for Gold elite, well, hasta la vista, baby. Monterey to San Diego on Alaska Airlines for a weekend is like a free adventure, where I know I will recoup the expense in saved bag fees. I only became AAdvantage Executive Platinum after taking my email offer challenge and flying 30,000 EQM in September 2015. I paid $150 in award ticket fees using AAdvantage miles for last minute award ticket flights I urgently needed over the previous year. I had no elite status with any airline before flying to get my current Executive Platinum elite status. I was United 1K for years, but gave up flying when international ticket prices got too expensive in 2008.

Should she fly for Executive Platinum Elite?

Fly 28,722 EQM by September 9? Executive Platinum is out of the question for Kelley. Even on $225 fares to New Zealand, a ticket purchase I made last month for myself, Kelley will pass on flying economy class for 15 straight hours. Even though she has a better ability to sleep on a plane than I do. My experience is I’d rather stay awake and be entertained by movies and arrive tired than fall asleep in a cramped position and have muscle pains when I arrive at my destination. Been there and done that too many long haul flights. I have always said that Kelley has flown in the front of the plane as much as I have in the past 20 years, while flying less than half the miles.

Our marriage bargain is I can take solo trips as long as the miles and upgrades I earn fly her in Business Class and First Class. Our relationship works in large part due to the fact that I love to travel and long haul economy class is fine with me, if it takes me some place I want to be. Kelley is almost fine with me being gone for my solo trips. Her less frequent travel is rather luxurious through Business Class and First Class frequent flyer award tickets. Those award tickets come with airport lounge benefits. When she is flying economy to an international destination with me, then my Executive Platinum elite status perks like airport first class lounge access and priority check-in desks at the airport improve her flight experience. When I book both our tickets in the same reservation, she gets priority lanes for airport security most of the time.

Only one of us needs to be Executive Platinum in our lives. Kelley is not a global traveler. I doubt she would travel much at all, if not for me. She is happy staying at home in Monterey. I am the one who is compelled to move around. I am the global rambler.

American Airlines AAdvantage Elite Benefits Chart.

AAdvantage Platinum for Kelley seems like the right fit

The benefits of Platinum elite are Economy Main Cabin Extra, MCE seats with more leg room. Kelley has long legs and appreciates all the leg room she can get in an airplane seat.

The most useful benefits for her style of travel are priority boarding on Oneworld partner flights and airport lounge access. Getting on the plane earlier usually means you do not have to struggle to find bag space in the overhead bins. More importantly is the benefit of airport lounge access when flying internationally outside of North America. AAdvantage Platinum members get complimentary access to Oneworld Alliance member airport lounges at USA gateways and international airports. This is a place to relax, eat, drink and take a shower after 12 hours on a plane.

The benefits of AAdvantage Platinum are most beneficial to Kelley without a lot of strain to fly a great deal more this summer. Executive Platinum and other top elite status levels with airlines are great for truly frequent flyers. Kelley has had a few 50,000 mile years in the past 20 years, but she has never flown 100,000 miles in a year. She does not want to travel that much and she has no need to with her work.

I look at her American Airlines opportunity as one to fly one long distance flight and earn AAdvantage Platinum for the year. I will likely drop down to AAdvantage Platinum for 2017, unless I receive an elite fast-track offer. I think I will end up with around 70,000 EQM for 2016 in AAdvantage. My next $570 round trip ticket from Stavanger, Norway to San Francisco is United Airlines. I’ll have to decide later in the year if I see value in going for AAdvantage Executive Platinum again with 100,000 EQM.

The uncertainty of when AAdvantage goes revenue-based for earning redeemable miles kept me from pulling out the credit card during last week’s spectacular Europe fare war sale to book up all of November 2016 to March 2017 with trips to Europe.

Why did Kelley get an AAdvantage Elite Fast Track Offer?

Kelley and I flew home to the USA on American Airlines in February 2016 from Amsterdam. Our $422 round trip tickets started in Amsterdam and took us to Las Vegas, then back to Amsterdam in April 2016. I had already flown one Amsterdam to Las Vegas round trip the month before on my first $422 American Airlines ticket. Hanging out in Amsterdam in January for a week allowed me to take a solo walkabout and museum trip in Amsterdam and Leiden, Netherlands. I seem to have a lot more patience to hang out in and enjoy museums than my wife. She wants to live the café life where people are conversing. I really enjoy the absence of voices and machinery sounds.

Kelley flew to Amsterdam in February with my AAdvantage miles. Then we flew back to Las Vegas together. In April we made the return flights from Las Vegas to Amsterdam. Last November we flew Stockholm to San Francisco on American Airlines $500 round trip tickets. We fly back to Stockholm in July 2016.

Kelley will have flown 23,952 EQM from November 2015 through July 2016 based on tickets already purchased. To give her Gold Elite for another 722 EQM by September 9 is not really a big leap. She would only be 1,148 EQM short of 25,000 EQM flown in 9 months of flights. Her fast track challenge for Gold is more like what would have happened if AAdvantage used a 12 month rolling calendar from November 2016 to October 2017 for elite member qualification.

The true value of AAdvantage Platinum elite status for Kelley comes in making that extra push to earn an additional 6,222 EQM by September 9, 2016. Those EQM can be earned flying one way to Europe before September 9.

I’ll be posting more AAdvantage EQM deals on Loyalty Traveler as I tackle this offer.


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