What Is the Value of American Airlines Executive Platinum Status? Ticketing, at the Airport, and Alliance Benefits

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The American Airlines frequent flyer program is called AAdvantage and has 4 tiers that you can earn — Gold, Platinum, Platinum Pro, and Executive Platinum levels — with each tier having more benefits than the preceding one. This post will discuss American’s highest public tier, Executive Platinum.

In this post, you’ll find information on the perks and benefits associated with ticketing, at the airport, and with the Oneworld alliance.

You’ll also learn their value, and how to decide if it is worth pursuing Executive Platinum status. If you’re interested in information about Executive Platinum upgrades and seating benefits, head over to our other post.

As a reminder, to earn Executive Platinum status, you must fly 100,000 miles in a calendar year, or fly 120 segments, and also spend $15,000, not including taxes and fees.

Executive Platinum Milestone Rewards (Value Varies)

New for 2019 and onward are Executive Platinum milestone rewards that encourage flying beyond the 100,000-mile threshold.

Reach 150,000 Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) and choose one of the following:

  • 2 systemwide upgrades
  • 40,000 bonus miles
  • Gift of AAdvantage Gold status*

Reach 200,000 EQMs and choose one of the following:

  • 2 systemwide upgrades
  • 40,000 bonus miles
  • Gift of AAdvantage Platinum status*

Fly an addition 50,000, totally 250,000 EQMs, and choose one of the following:

  • 2 systemwide upgrades
  • 40,000 bonus miles
  • Gift of AAdvantage Platinum status*

*This is a gift of status to someone else. For example, if you cross the threshold in October, the person that you give status to receives it for the remainder of that year AND the next year. The value is maximized the earlier in the year you can earn and gift it!

Since this requires overachieving for status (since you’re flying beyond the minimum requirements), it’s difficult to place a value on this since it would only apply to certain people, but it’s worth mentioning regardless so you can understand the complete valuation of status according to the benefits offered.

For those who may be flying enough to achieve one of these milestones, generally you’ll find the most value in taking the 40,000 bonus miles since these will be good so long as you have account activity every 18 months, and can help build up to a larger award balance to use towards a trip in a premium cabin.

If you choose to take the system-wide upgrades, these will expire the following membership year, so there is a hard expiration with little chance for extension beyond this date. In addition, many Executive Platinums report issues having these upgrades clear in advance, so if you have had problems in the past with this, you probably won’t want to continue to amass a bank of unusable upgrade certificates. For the status benefit, you really don’t want to select this option unless you find no value in both the upgrades and bonus miles.

Hot Tip: If you don’t know which benefit to choose, select the bonus miles since they have the most versatility. 

The value of this benefit can really only determined for those flyers that fly more than 150,000 miles. For this reason, and because this isn’t part of the minimum requirements for Executive Platinum, a separate valuation won’t be determined.

AA Business Class Cabin
When selecting a milestone reward, you will want to consider offering status to a friend, getting bonus miles, or getting more system-wide upgrades that can be used for any flight. Image Credit: American Airlines

Elite Mileage Bonus ($2,300)

Executive Platinums earn a 120% bonus on most paid American tickets, or 11 miles for every dollar spent on American.

The $15,000 minimum spend requirement for the status level would mean a minimum of 165,000 miles (15,000 x 11) earned before taxes and fees.

Roughly, 165,000 miles could be redeemed for one of these great trips:

  • 3 one-way trips to Europe in business class
  • 1 round-trip to the South Pacific (Australia or New Zealand) in business class
  • 14 one-way economy class flights within the U.S.
  • 7 one-way first class flights within the U.S.
  • 2 one-way first class flights to Japan

Is it worth $15,000 simply to earn 165,000 miles? Absolutely not. However, if you’re going to earn status anyways, it is certainly a nice benefit.

Hot Tip: When you use your miles, you’ll get the most value when you fly business class or a premium cabin

Using our September 2019 approximate valuation of 1.4 cents per mile, we multiplied 165,000 miles by 1.4 cents to come up with a valuation of approximately $2,300.

Minimum Elite Qualifying Mile Guarantee ($100)

Elites who fly on a flight of less than 500 miles, regardless of flight length, will continue to earn a minimum of 500 EQMs towards status. This benefit is primarily for those travelers that are located within markets where there is a lot of short-distance flying, such as cities like D.C., Philadelphia, New York, Los Angeles, or Chicago.

Priority Through the Airport at Check-In, Security, and Boarding ($200)

Executive Platinum members may check-in using any first class lanes, on any Oneworld carrier. 

Examples include:

  • On American, this may include Flagship First check-in.
  • On British Airways, this may be in the dedicated First Wing.
  • On Qantas, this may be in the dedicate first class seating area.
  • On Cathay Pacific, this may be in the exclusive first class marble enclosure.

Many Oneworld airlines have private first class check-in areas with no lines, comfortable seating, extra agents for expedited processing, and private entrances into security lanes, which are very helpful.

Hot Tip: Having access to first class check-in locations allow you to get your boarding pass and present your credentials and get through security much faster than waiting in the traditional lines.

Executive Platinums leaving on any international itinerary can use the dedicated Flagship check-in areas at:

  • Chicago (ORD) – Terminal 3 Checkpoint 8
  • London (LHR) – Terminal 3, Zone B
  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Terminal 4, Outside Entrance
  • Miami (MIA) – North Terminal, Concourse D
  • New York (JFK) – Departure Level, near the AirTrain access

This private wing allows you to speed right to security and bypass the sometimes long lines in the Priority and regular lanes outside.

At select airports, primarily hubs, and key airports, Executive Platinums can use priority security queues to get through security checkpoints faster. It’s worth noting that this is not an expected security processing, but rather a shorter line in most instances to actually reach the security checkpoint. 

AA Check-In
Executive Platinum elites receive priority check-in benefits worldwide. Image Credit: American Airlines

Executive Platinums Receive Priority Boarding

Boarding groups on American are as follows:

  • ConciergeKey is allowed to pre-board
  • Group 1: first class and U.S. military personnel 
  • Group 2: business class (on 3 class planes) and Executive Platinums
  • Group 3: Platinum Pros and Platinums
  • Group 4: Golds
  • Group 5-8: Main Cabin
  • Group 9: Basic Economy

Group 2 boarding generally isn’t crowded, outside of flights with a heavy concentration of elite passengers. On wide-body or transcontinental 3-class planes that are equipped with business class, these passengers also board along with Executive Platinums, but overall, the wait to board shouldn’t be extreme.

Note: Even if an Executive Platinum purchases a Basic Economy ticket, they’ll still be allowed to board with Group 2.

Checked Bag Fee Waived ($300)

Executive Platinum members are allowed to check 3 bags on any American or American Eagle operated route, for the member and up to 8 passengers traveling in the same itinerary — a huge savings depending on how many travelers are in the same record locator.

For the most part, first checked-bag fees are $30, second checked-bag fees are $40, and third checked-bag fees are $150. So, for a simple one-way domestic flight, that would be $220 in baggage fees right off the top in savings assuming an Executive Platinum checks 3 bags.

Of course, with more people in the same reservation, counting their free bags, the savings could be several hundreds of dollars for a simple domestic itinerary. 

For Executive Platinum members who haven’t cleared an upgrade into the premium cabin, or outright haven’t purchased business or first class, the weight of each checked bag would need to be under 50 pounds. For passengers who have cleared the upgrade or purchased first class, that baggage allowance increases to 70 pounds per bag.

Since the cost is $30 a bag, we assumed 10 checked bags a year for a value of $300 a year.

AA Priority Baggage
As an Executive Platinum member, you receive 3 complimentary checked bags on any American flight. Image Credit: American Airlines

Priority Bag Delivery ($50)

This Executive Platinum benefit may not be as valuable as you might think — to be honest, it’s very hit or miss.

When you check a bag, it should be tagged with an orange priority tag, indicating it should be among the first few bags to come out on the carousel when you land. This is not always the case and many times these bags end up in the last batch of bags to come out. Some airports are particularly good about ensuring priority tagged bags are among the first to come out, while others aren’t, so the benefit really varies depending on the airport you’re flying to.

Since this benefit is great on paper but doesn’t work in practice, we’ll placed only a value of $50 on it.

Bottom Line: Priority bag delivery is a very hit or miss benefit — sometimes the bags come out first, sometimes they come out last. This isn’t a benefit that you should place a lot of value in.

Complimentary Same-Day Standby ($150)

For Executive Platinums wishing to standby for an earlier or later flight the same day, there’s no charge.

Keep in mind:

  • The starting and ending city must be the same.
  • The routing must be the same.
  • You cannot change from a non-stop to a connection and vice versa.

If you’re standing by for a later flight after your original flight, you must call American so you aren’t marked as a no-show for your original flight. If you’re standing by for an earlier flight, you can request the same-day standby for no charge through the app or by calling the Executive Platinum desk.

On the standby list, here’s how you’ll be listed against all elites.

  • RV1 is a ConciergeKey standing by.
  • RV2 is an Executive Platinum standing by.
  • RV3 is a Platinum Pro standing by.
  • RV4 is a Platinum standing by.
  • RV5 is a Gold standing by.

In all of these cases, the RV stands for “revenue voluntary” — the fact that you’re a revenue (paying) passenger voluntarily standing by (at your own decision).

When you need to standby for a flight not at your own discretion (for example, weather disrupted an earlier flight, or your flight canceled due to a mechanical reason), you’re placed on the list as a Revenue Involuntary (RI).

  • RI1 is a ConciergeKey standing by.
  • RI2 is an Executive Platinum standing by.
  • RI3 is a Platinum Pro standing by.
  • RI4 is a Platinum standing by.
  • RI5 is a Gold standing by.

Depending on weather delays or other cancellations, the amount of ConciergeKey members standing by for other flights may be high. This said, you’re still towards the top of the list, and because there are only a couple thousand ConciergeKey members, you have a high chance of being the among the first to standby.

When you are booked in first class (paid), but confirmed in the Main Cabin (because, let’s say, that’s the only seat available, especially in a case where you attempt to get on another flight and only economy class has open seats), you are shown on the airport list as a DSR — literally meaning “desiring.”

The DSR designator is for a passenger confirmed in coach, but desiring first class due to a first class ticket

  • DSR1: ConciergeKey
  • DSR2: Executive Platinum
  • DSR3: Platinum Pro
  • DSR4: Platinum
  • DSR5: Gold

This is valued at $175, since we’ll assume you standby and successfully clear on 3 flights per year with an ordinary standby fee of $225.

AA Gate Agent Counter
See any gate agent to standby for another flight. Image Credit: American Airlines

Complimentary Same-Day Flight Change ($225)

This is one of the biggest perks of being an Executive Platinum member and is only shared with the Platinum Pro tier (and invitation-only ConciergeKey level). Normally, same-day changes cost $75, but this is waived for Executive Platinums.

The basic premise of the same-day change is that you can confirm a change to a different flight on the same day as your original flight, either putting you in earlier or later to your final destination. For example, if you’re flying from Boston to Washington, D.C.-Reagan at 5 p.m., but your meeting gets out earlier than anticipated and you want to confirm onto the 3 p.m. flight, you can confirm on that flight using the same-day change system (rather than risk standby where you may not get on).

To same-day change, to another flight, you must look for “E” inventory. This is available using software such as ExpertFlyer, or by calling the Executive Platinum desk to see what same-day change options are available.

Same-day changes are available on all flights in the domestic U.S., to Canada, Mexico, and select Caribbean destinations, as well as flights between New York-JFK and London, and vice versa.

To same-day change a flight, you can either do so online, in the app, or over the phone. There’s a huge caveat to this: if your complimentary upgrade has already cleared, you must call in to do a same-day change (you cannot use the app). The agent will have to manually downgrade your ticket to economy class, make the change, and then put you back on the upgrade list for the new flight. If your upgrade has not yet cleared, or you are on a 1-class plane (with no first class), then you should be able to change flights within the app without any problem.

To do a same-day change you need to choose flights:

  • That have the same day of departure leave on the same day as your original flight.
  • That have the same routing. If you are flying LAX-ORD-DCA, then you can only change to a flight that is LAX-ORD-DCA.
  • That have the same amount of connecting points. You cannot change from a 1-stop flight to a non-stop flight.
  • That have the same airports. You cannot change a LGA-DCA flight to departs from JFK, even though JFK is a co-terminal.

Same-day changing is very hit or miss, but also can be a huge money saver. In theory, you could book the cheapest flight of the day, and then move to what would have been a more expensive flight using the same-day change system, however, this doesn’t always work.

AA Gate Agent at MIA
Speak with a gate agent to be placed on the standby list or change your flight. Image Credit: American Airlines

First, you can’t always guarantee that the flight you want to move to has same-day change space available. There could be storms or other factors causing irregular operations that would impact the loads on other flights and restrict the number of people conducting such a change.

Second, you may not get upgraded on the new flight you move to — granted most people would be willing to give up such an upgrade in favor of getting home earlier or later, but it’s certainly something to consider, especially on a longer set of flights. 

We’ll assumed you make 3 same-day changes a year, valued at $75 per change.

Hot Tip: Same-day change options on American are some of the most restrictive of legacy carriers in the U.S., so if you place a lot of value in same-day change possibilities, you may want to consider another carrier to get more value from.

Admirals Club Membership Discount ($100)

Having access to the Admirals Club is essential for any frequent flyer, especially someone that flies north of 100,000 miles a year. Unlike Delta that provides free access to Diamond Medallions, American simply provides a discount to Executive Platinums to enroll. It’s worth noting that ConciergeKey members do get free access, but since the requirements for attaining ConciergeKey are not published it is very hard to try and strive for this fairly ambiguous level.

For an Executive Platinum member purchasing an individual membership, costs are:

  • $550 to enroll as a new member, a savings of $100 from the base level.
  • $500 to renew membership, a savings of $100 from the base level.
  • 55,000 AAdvantage miles to enroll as a new member, a savings of 10,000 miles from the base membership.
  • 50,000 AAdvantage miles to renew as a member, a savings of 10,000 miles from the base membership.

For an Executive Platinum member purchasing a household membership, costs are:

  • $1,150 to enroll as a new member, a savings of $100 from the base level.
  • $1,100 to renew membership, a savings of $100 from the base level.
  • 85,000 AAdvantage miles to enroll as a new member, a savings of 10,000 miles from the base membership.
  • 75,000 AAdvantage miles to renew as a member, a savings of 10,000 miles from the base membership.

The biggest benefit of an Admiral’s Club membership is the access to knowledgable agents who can help in the case of delays or cancellations. Should there be weather or a mechanical issue, they can quickly rebook you onto other flights without you having to stand in a very long customer service line.

It’s so worth it to be a club member as an Executive Platinum — there’s no doubt about it. You can also obtain your membership through a Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® that comes with a $450 annual fee and complimentary access for all authorized users.

AA Admirals Club
Having an Admiral’s Club membership is great for relaxing prior to your flight or seeking assistance during delays. Image Credit: American Airlines

Exclusive Service Desk ($200)

Executive Platinum members have access to an exclusive call handling center that handles calls just for top-tier customers. These call centers are located in Winston-Salem, NC, Raleigh, NC, or Dallas, TX, and are staffed by agents specially equipped to handle Executive Platinums. Sometimes, these agents also service ConciergeKey customers and then handle overflow Executive Platinum calls, so you can tell you’re getting some of the most senior or knowledgable agents in the airline.

They won’t be able to pull too many favors for you, however, so if you’re calling to ask for a fee waiver, chances are it will get denied. As time has gone on, these agents have become more and more restrictive as to what they can successfully do.

This said, there are things agents are empowered to do, such as protect customers on alternate flights. If, for example, you’re at risk of misconnecting on a flight, but it isn’t fully confirmed yet, you can have the Executive Platinum desk back you up on another set of flights. This mean you’ll still have a confirmed seat to your final destination before other people swoop in and grab those seats.

When it comes to bad weather delays, for example, there’s a lot that can go wrong — and many people will be vying for the same seats you are, but you are able to have some of those seats held specifically for you, which is a nice touch.

Hot Tip: Phone times are usually much shorter at the Executive Platinum desk than other elite desks — so if you call and you receive an automated warning of a wait, chances are it won’t be too long and you can remain on hold to have an agent answer within just a few moments. Don’t believe the system if it says there is a long wait.

This is valued at $200 since the Executive Platinum desk generally has a shorter wait time than the regular 1-800 phone number, and we’ll placed a $25 value on each call for a total of 8 uses per year, which is on the lower end.

Waived Ticketing Service Charge ($150)

When you try and ticket any ticket over the phone — whether it be a cash ticket or an award, you will never have to pay any sort of service charge.

Normally, Platinum Pro elites and lower need to pay a $25 service charge for anything done on the phone that can also be done online, but Executive Platinum members get this fee waived, which is nice, but not a huge deal-breaker, since a majority of transactions can be done online.

This is valued at $150 since the charge is $25 per reservation, and we assumed as an Executive Platinum that you make 6 calls a year that would ordinarily necessitate a reservation fee.

AA Reservations Agent on Call
Agents are trained to provide fee waivers to Executive Platinum members according to their benefits. Image Credit: American Airlines

Expanded Award Seat Inventory on American Airlines ($50)

This benefit is very hit or miss, but in some cases, it does provide some extra value. 

Award inventory on American is processed in several separate buckets:

  • T is MileSAAver Main Cabin.
  • U is MileSAAver first class domestic or international business.
  • Z is MileSAAver first class international or transcontinental. 
  • J is AAnytime first class domestic or international business.
  • F is AAnytime first class international or transcontinental.
  • Y is AAnytime Main Cabin. 

In most cases, you’d want to search for MileSAAver awards, since these save you the most amount of miles and are the cheapest to obtain.

Normally, you could go to AA.com and search your awards, or use a third party service such as ExpertFlyer, but with American’s expanded award availability just for Executive Platinums, these additional awards will not be visible there. To see these extra seats at the MileSAAver level, you must call into the reservations desk and they will inform you of what is available — you cannot see it online or through any other public channel.

The expanded availability is always at the MileSAAver level, and most of the time involves extra Main Cabin awards, though you may see a sprinkle of premium cabin awards thrown in.

Most of all, this expanded availability helps to complete larger awards. Let’s say you’re flying from Los Angeles to Sydney, but live in Washington, D.C. and need an award from Washington, D.C. to Los Angeles. There may not be anything available on AA.com, but over the phone, agents may be able to see additional space reserved for Executive Platinum members.

AA Economy Class
Traditionally, mostly economy class seats are available as part of the expanded award availability for Executive Platinum members. Image Credit: American Airlines

AAdvantage Award Change and Reinstatement Charge Waived ($300)

There is no charge if an Executive Platinum member has to make any changes to an award itinerary where the miles were pulled from their account.

Interestingly, for the general public, so long as the origin and destination stay the same, there are no change fees, although to fully redeposit the miles would normally incur a penalty.

In all cases, Executive Platinums are not responsible for these fees, which could result in hundreds of dollars saved of free redeposits over the course of a year.

This is valued at $300 since each redeposit normally costs $150 and we assumed an Executive Platinum does 2 redeposits a year to come up with this valuation.

Oneworld Benefits ($1,000)

As part of the Oneworld alliance benefits, Executive Platinum members receive Oneworld Emerald status, the highest tier in the Oneworld elite system.

Oneworld priority check-in and standby — as part of these benefits, Executive Platinum members can always use the priority check-in lanes with any Oneworld member airline, up to and including the First Class lanes.

For example, even if you’re flying in economy class from Sydney to Los Angeles, you can still use the dedicated Qantas First check-in area available. If you need to standby for an earlier or later flight, ticket rules permitting, you will receive priority standby benefits, ahead of non-Oneworld elites.

Oneworld priority boarding — as a Oneworld Emerald, you’ll be among the first to board, traditionally with either first class or business class passengers.

Oneworld priority security — in select airports, you’ll receive a shorter security queue. 

Oneworld partner lounge access — as a Oneworld Emerald, you’ll receive both first class and business class lounge access. The differentiating factor here is that Oneworld Emerald’s receive first class lounge access, where other tiers don’t. These lounges are incredible and represent some of the finest in the world.

For example, the Qantas First lounge in Los Angeles is considered one of the best domestic lounges in the United States, and the Qantas First Lounge in Sydney is considered one of the best worldwide lounges. Keep in mind, you can use these lounges even on the lowest of economy class fares.

Hot Tip: If there’s 1 Oneworld lounge you should visit as an Emerald, it’s definitely the Qantas First lounge in either Sydney or Melbourne, Australia. Both lounges offer showers, spa facilities, and great food.

Oneworld extra bag allowance — as a Oneworld Emerald, you’ll receive a total of 3 bags checked on American, and select Oneworld partner airlines

Qantas International First Lounge Sydney
Check out one of the best first class lounges in the world when in Sydney. Image Credit: Qantas Airways Limited

Final Thoughts

American’s Executive Platinum status is considered one of the most valuable top tier, public elite statuses of a domestic U.S. airline program. With its very valuable benefits, including unlimited complimentary upgrades and systemwide upgrades, the total value can amount to several thousands of dollars and is a status to certainly seek out if you travel enough.

If you add up all of the benefit valuations, Executive Platinum status is roughly worth around $12,325, if you use the benefits on a normal basis. If you don’t use the perks as much as most people, you may receive a valuation closer to $10,000, and for those passengers that receive outsize value, with nearly every upgrade clearing, many same-day changes in a year, etc., the value could be upwards of $15,000.

It’s clear that if you fly enough on American, it is very possible to get as much value as you spend towards the airline, for a potential break-even scenario. American’s status levels can be very lucrative, and Executive Platinum is no exception, and should definitely be a status tier to pursue for those who enjoy upgrades, and great Oneworld partners.


FAQ

How do you get Executive Platinum on American Airlines?

To earn American Airlines Executive Platinum status you need to fly 100,000 miles in a calendar year OR fly 120 segments, as well as spend $15,000 in “Elite Qualifying Dollars.” These Elite Qualifying Dollars do not include taxes and fees —only base fares. There is no credit card waiver for earning the required amount of Elite Qualifying Dollars per year and your status will be valid until January 31 of the following year.

What is the American Airlines Executive Platinum phone number?

To reach a representative from the American Airlines Executive Platinum team, dial 800-843-6200. These agents are traditionally some of the most experienced at American, and are quicker to answer the phones than other elite lines or the general number.

Can you buy Executive Platinum status on American Airlines?

While you cannot outright buy status upfront, generally, if you were previously an Executive Platinum and haven’t yet fulfilled the requirements for the following year, you may be offered a buy-up offered where you pay a fixed amount to not have to fly the remaining miles or spend the remaining dollars. Usually, this comes at a very high cost, but also comes with the benefit of not having to fly anything additional for the remainder of the calendar year.

James Larounis

About James Larounis

Jamie first got his hook on miles and points during a high school choir trip to Europe, where he flew in Lufthansa First Class (thanks to his dad’s then US Airways miles) because economy was sold out.

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