Although I have just arrived in Namibia and Kendall in Amsterdam, we are going to hold off our trip reports for another week and will then likely dovetail them over the following 3 or 4 weeks.
It is so exciting to be out in the world in the last quarter of this year, but I am long overdue an awards/points blog, and news from American Airlines in the last week has forced my hand.
Long term readers know that I am a points nerd. I follow the right blogs, enjoy my research on the subject, and it's paid off for me over the years, despite that time I completed a 5,000 mile mileage run only to realize I didn't actually need it. Earning miles or points for flying has traditionally been the route to free award flights and status with your chosen airline. Well AA in the last week have changed all that. Although we had been heading in this direction over the last few years AA have now gone the whole hog. I'm going to focus purely on AA's move as they are the main operator out of my home hub, the airline I am pretty much tied to, and many of our clients are AAdvantage members.
Firstly, AA's current award chart will remain in place for at least another year. That's good news. But for earning your coveted Gold, Platinum, Platinum Plus, Executive Platinum (me), or the glorious invite for Concierge Key status, it will now all be tied to spending. EQD's, EQM's and EQS's are all going away to be replaced solely by Loyalty Points.
Here are the Loyalty Point targets taking effect in 2022:
- Gold 30,000
- Platinum 75,000
- Platinum Pro 125,000
- Executive Platinum 200,000
I like that this simplifies the targets, but there are definitely winners and losers. You are going to struggle to make any sort of status if you only earned the former credits needed by just flying, because qualifying activity for Loyalty Points will now also include spending on cobranded credit cards and other non-flying activities. If you have one or even 2 AA branded cards and spend regularly on them then you may actually be a winner out of this, though you will be in the minority. I could waffle on for a while here, but am happy for anyone to reach out if they have any questions.
Meanwhile, here is now the Top 5 ways to earn the AA status you deserve.
Top 5 - Earning AA Status
Well done American, you are allowing us to still earn a few Loyalty Points by actually getting on a plane. However the new system makes it difficult for anyone starting out at Gold status or below to pick up enough points to elevate that status. Now we're going to gain 1 Loyalty Point for every redeemable AAdvantage mile that we earn from flying on American. Depending on that status tier, these miles are awarded at a multiplier between 5x and 11x of your ticket price:
- General member 5
- Gold 7
- Platinum 8
- Platinum Pro 9
- Executive Platinum 11
One World airlines and other partners, such as JetBlue, will count. Miles flown is now irrelevant, it's about the spend.
2. Credit Card Spend
I am not going to get into the business of recommending certain credit cards, but to increase your chances of achieving a high status with AA now, you really are going to need at least one of their 5 options of a co-branded card, and you're going to need to use it for spend aside from booking flights. It's straightforward, as for every dollar we spend on a cobranded AA credit card, we'll earn one Loyalty Point. Heck, spend $200K in a year on a card and we'll have earned Exec Platinum status without even flying!
3. Eating (dining out or takeout)
I am not suggesting you eat enough to qualify for Exec Platinum status, as that would likely be unhealthy, but AA's dining rewards program is probably very under utilized and the earnings can add up quickly. It's a healthy 5 AAdvantage miles per dollar spent if you’re a VIP member, which takes 11 spends in a calendar year, or 3 AAdvantage miles per dollar spent as an online member.
Say you eat out and enjoy one takeout each month with an average spend of $70 - that's 8,400 Loyalty Points coming your way.
4. Hotel Stays
If you're not tied to a hotel brand and the similar struggle for status with them, then you can elect to earn AA points within your hotel loyalty accounts with Marriott, IHG and Wyndham, which will qualify for Loyalty Points. Best of all and lucky for me as a Hyatt Globalist member is that the special partnership that Hyatt and AA offer, enables us to double dip and earn points in both programs at the same time. AAdvantage members with elite status earn 1 AAdvantage mile per dollar spent on Hyatt stays and Hyatt elites also earn bonus points on American flights. This one bonus is probably the tipping point for me which may mean I am able to retain AA Exec Platinum status for next year and beyond.
Well everyone loves to shop, so if AA status means something to you, make doubly sure now you check their expansive portal before any online spending. Points can add up quickly as offers are usually a multiplier of every dollar spent and I have seen as high as 35 miles per dollar offered for some niche brands. AA even have a second shopping site SimplyMiles. You must enroll with a Mastercard for this one and the program allows us to add merchant-specific offers to a credit card and earn AAdvantage points when making an online OR in-store purchase with the merchant.
If you're ready to start planning for 2022 we're here to help you each step of the way. Click the button below to get started.
I love travel and I love travel planning just as much and I am proud to be building a team as passionate about exploring the world as myself. It took me a very long time to align my career with my undeniable passion for exploring, but now I and the team are here for you. Your personal travel tailors - award reservation and luxury custom itinerary experts. We provide a bespoke service, imagining and creating itineraries for independent minded families and groups.
Be social and follow us on our travel adventures.
Want our blog posts delivered straight to your inbox? Enter your email below to subscribe to our newsletter.