How to Status Challenge With American Airlines [In-Depth Guide]

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Ah, the joys of airline elite status. Who doesn’t enjoy the benefits of complimentary upgrades, free checked bags, early boarding, fee waivers, and priority assistance when things go wrong?

But what if you need or want to change airlines? No one looks forward to giving up that VIP treatment and starting over again from scratch with a new airline.

Fortunately, it may not be necessary to start from scratch — another airline just might want your business and be willing to match your existing elite status, or offer you an opportunity for a “shortcut” to elite status.

Several airlines such as AlaskaDelta, United, and others, have programs where they match your current elite status for a short period of time and offer you an opportunity to extend that temporary status. You just have to complete a “challenge,” in which you need to fly a specific number of miles/segments.

There may also be a requirement to generate a specific level of revenue for the airline during the status challenge.

But American Airlines handles their fast path to elite status quite differently. In fact, you don’t even need elite status with another airline to participate in their status challenge — it’s a “pay to play” shortcut offered to meet qualifications for their AAdvantage Gold or Platinum status levels.

Unlike other airlines who offer status matches, American does not publish the specific requirements for these challenges. In fact, different flyers may even receive different offers.

To help you sift through the maze of the American AAdvantage status challenge, in this article we’ll provide you with:

  • An overview of American’s AAdvantage status challenge
  • How much you should be paying for your status challenge
  • Tips on how to complete the challenge
  • Everything else you need to know

Let’s get started and see if an American Airlines status challenge is right for you.

What Is a Status Match/Challenge and How Does It Work?

If you have elite status with an airline, you can request that another airline you don’t have status with match your current status for a limited period of time.

Most airlines will match your current status and then require you to complete a “challenge.” This challenge consists of flying a specific number of miles or flight segments in order to extend your granted status beyond the length of the challenge, which usually lasts 90 days.

American Airlines does not status match at all — it offers only a status challenge. And it requires you to pay a fee up front for participating in that status challenge.

You might wonder who would pay for such an opportunity. But because the challenge offers immediate status (for a price), anyone who has American Airlines flights coming up might want to make their travels a bit more comfortable and ante up.

Think about it this way: for the cost of 1 trip, a traveler may be able to parlay the challenge into a year or more of elite status while they work on qualifying for future status.

Let’s learn more about how the AAdvantage status challenge program works.

American Airlines seats legroom
Having airline status can result in a seat with a little more legroom. Image courtesy of news.aa.com.

Hot Tip: For more clarification on this topic, you can check out our piece — The Ultimate Guide to Airline Status Matches/Challenges.

American Airlines AAdvantage Status Challenge Program

Who Is Eligible for an American Airlines AAdvantage Status Challenge?

Anyone who wants to obtain status with American Airlines can request to participate in a status challenge. Having status with another airline’s frequent flyer program or having upcoming flights booked with American is not required.

In order to participate in a status challenge with American, you cannot currently hold status you’ve earned from a previous AAdvantage challenge.

For example, if you completed a Gold status challenge last year and are still holding Gold status as a result of completing that challenge, you cannot participate in another challenge. The status must be expired.

What Are the Advantages of Gold or Platinum Status?

If you have upcoming trips planned on American, signing up for a status challenge can make sense, since you’ll receive plenty of benefits:

AAdvantage Platinum

  • OneWorld business class lounge access internationally
  • Award processing charge waived
  • Complimentary same-day standby
  • Complimentary upgrades on flights 500 miles or less
  • 48-hour upgrade window
  • 60% elite mileage bonus
  • Complimentary Main Cabin Extra and Preferred seats
  • 2 free checked bags

Hot Tip: Curious about how much AA elite status is worth? Check out our post about what American Airlines Platinum status is really worth.

AAdvantage Gold

  • Award processing charge waived
  • Complimentary same-day standby
  • Complimentary upgrades on flights 500 miles or less
  • 24-hour upgrade window
  • 40% elite mileage bonus
  • 50% off Main Cabin Extra seats, complimentary at check-in
  • Complimentary Preferred seats
  • 1 free checked bag

Additional benefits include priority airport check-in and security, priority boarding, and discounted Admirals Club membership. You can view all the benefits of AAdvantage elite status in this program summary.

How the American Airlines Advantage Status Challenge Works

American Airlines does not publish a formal status challenge program. With that said, we know a lot about the program from data points of flyers who have requested and/or completed a status challenge.

You will have to pay a fee to participate in the status challenge, and then incur an additional cost if you want to enjoy status during the challenge.

Subsequently, you’ll need to fly the required number of Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) or Elite Qualifying Segments (EQSs) and generate Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQDs) within a 90-day period.

We’ll dive further into how to generate these EQMs, EQSs, and EQDs shortly, but here’s an overview of the program:

Elite Status Challenge LevelCost to ParticipateCost With Gold StatusCost With Platinum StatusEQM or EQS RequirementEQD Requirement
Gold$100-$180$280-$340————7,000 EQMs or 8 EQSs$1,000 EQD
Platinum$180-$240$380-$440$480-$54012,500 EQMs or 16 EQSs$2,000 EQD

The price you pay for the challenge will depend on when you request the challenge and whether you want to have elite status while you are completing it.

This information was gathered by searching through hundreds of posts on FlyerTalk (kudos to JDiver), reviewing posts on the Australian Frequent Flyer, calling American Airlines AAdvantage customer service, and gathering information from those I know who have completed American status challenges.

Bottom Line: While we know the general parameters of the status challenge with American Airlines, you’ll need to contact AAdvantage customer service to confirm your personal offer.

How and When to Submit a Status Challenge Request

How to Complete a Status Challenge Request

You can send an email to request a status challenge with American Airlines, but we recommend calling AAdvantage customer service at 888-697-5636.

Have your AAdvantage frequent flyer number and any record locators for upcoming trips with American on hand, as you will be asked for this information.

The representative will answer your questions, let you know which challenge you’re eligible for, inform you of the cost, and then sign you up for the appropriate status challenge.

You will have 90 days to complete the requirements of the challenge for which you have registered.

The customer service representative will also send you a confirmation email reiterating all of the terms/conditions of the status challenge.

The Importance of Timing

If you have upcoming American or American partner airline flights booked, you will of course want to sign up for the status challenge before you fly.

However, the timing of your status challenge will determine the length of your granted status — so choosing to complete your challenge at certain times of the year can maximize this period.

Here’s how it has been known to work:

  • Challenges that begin prior to June 15 normally earn status through the end of the current status year, which is January 31 of the following year.
    • For example, if you complete a challenge in May 2019, your status will continue through January 31, 2020.
  • If you complete a status challenge after June 15, your status could be valid for the remainder of the year and throughout the next year.
    • For example, if you sign up and complete a challenge in July 2019, your status would normally continue through January 31, 2021.

Keep in mind that there are no publicly published status challenge guidelines. As a result, this information has been derived from actual travelers who have been offered and have completed American Airlines AAdvantage status challenges.

Although these status periods are in alignment with other airline’s status matches/challenges, your actual status challenge offer could vary.

Bottom Line: Completing your challenge as soon as possible after June 15 should result in having granted status for the longest period of time. 

Completing the Flying and Revenue Requirements

So you’ve signed up for a status challenge, and now you’re ready to complete the flying and revenue requirements.

Let’s take a look at those flying and revenue levels you’ll need to meet, the parameters you’ll need to work within, and how to accomplish the task effectively.

Status ChallengeFlying RequirementsEQD Revenue Requirements
AAdvantage Gold7,000 EQMs or 8 EQSs$1,000
AAdvantage Platinum12,500 EQMs or 16 EQSs$2,000

Here are some of the guidelines you’ll need to work with.

First, flights must be marketed by American or partner airlines including: American Airlines, British Airways, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, and Qantas Airways.

EQMs are calculated based on a combination of miles flown and the fare class you purchase. On American-marketed flights, they’re calculated like this:

  • Full first and business class tickets earn 3 EQMs per mile flown
  • Discounted first/business fare tickets earn 2 EQMs per mile flown
  • Full fare economy earns 1.5 EQMs per mile flown
  • Discounted economy earns 1 EQM per mile flown

On flights marketed by the American-eligible partner airlines listed above, EQMs may earn more or less depending on the fare class.

Flights marketed on American Airlines, British Airways, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, Qantas Airways count towards the challenge.

You can determine how many EQMs you’ll receive by referencing the applicable partner airline charts on AA.com.

EQDs you earn are calculated differently on AA-marketed flights than on partner airline flights.

  • On American-marketed flights, the EQDs are calculated on the base fare plus the carrier-imposed fees. Government imposed taxes/fees are not included.
  • On other eligible airline flights, the EQDs are calculated on a percentage of miles flown and fare class purchased.

When you book a flight on aa.com, you’ll be able to see the amount of EQMs, EQSs, and EQDs you’ll earn displayed on the review and pay page. You’ll need to be signed into your account to view these stats.

For all other eligible airlines, you can determine the amount of EQMs, EQSs, and EQDs you’ll earn by referencing the corresponding charts.

The calculations may seem confusing, but we’ll share some examples below in an attempt to clarify the process.

Hot Tip: Premium fare flights on partner airlines can generate more EQMs and EQDs than American Airlines-marketed flights due to the difference in calculation methods. Discounted economy fares on partner airlines can yield fewer EQMs and EQDs than American Airlines-marketed flights. 

Creating an AAdvantage Status Challenge Itinerary

Since premium fares on partner airlines can yield more EQMs and EQDs, let’s take a look at 2 possible challenge itineraries that will fulfill the requirements of the status challenges in just 1 flight.

AAdvantage Gold Challenge Example: 7,000 EQMs and $1,000 EQDs Needed

British Airways Chicago O’Hare to London Gatwick round-trip in Premium Economy results in 7,948 miles flown.

At a factor of 1.50, this results in 11,922 EQMs and $1,590 EQDs (20% of flown miles). This is more than enough to accomplish the Gold Challenge.

British Airways fare class chart
The British Airways partner flight chart on aa.com indicates that my premium economy flight will earn 1.50 EQMs per mile flown and 20% EQDs. Image courtesy of aa.com.

AAdvantage Platinum Status Challenge Example: 12,500 EQMs and $2,000 EQDs Needed

Let’s take a look at an example of a flight booked to complete the Platinum challenge.

We’ll look at how many EQMs/EQDs you’ll earn, and how to calculate whether the itinerary would exceed the Platinum challenge requirements.

The flight is booked on Japan Airlines in Premium Economy fare class E flying round trip from Chicago to Toyko.

The Japan Airlines chart found on aa.com, states that I will earn 1.50  EQMs per mile flown, and the EQDs will be calculated at 20% of the miles flown.

The flight miles flown will be 12,540 miles round-trip. According to the chart, I will receive 1.50 EQMs for a total of 18,810 EQMs towards the challenge.

The EQDs are calculated at 20% of miles flown for this partner airline. At 12,540 miles flown, this works out to a total of $2508 EQDs.

This flight would be more than enough to complete the Platinum status challenge!

Hot Tip: To calculate the amount of flown miles for any flight itinerary, you can use a tool such as Milecalc.com. For partner flights, you can then calculate the EQMs and EQDs you’ll earn by referring to the partner charts on aa.com and using the corresponding factors/percentages. 

Admirals Club food and beverage
Complimentary Admiral’s Club lounge access can be a lifesaver during a hectic trip. Image courtesy of news.aa.com.

Enhancing Your New Elite Status

Once you’ve completed your status challenge and continue to fly on American Airlines, you may want to elevate your elite status to an even higher level with an American Airlines AAdvantage-branded credit card.

With the Citi® / AAvanatage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®, you’ll enjoy VIP treatment including:

  • A free checked bag for you and up to 8 travel companions on domestic itineraries
  • Priority check-in, boarding, and security screening for the primary cardholder
  • Complimentary membership for up to 10 authorized users in the American Airlines Admiral’s Club
  • $100 Global Entry application fee credit every 5 years
  • 10,000 EQMs after spending $40,000 on the card
  • 25% off inflight food/beverage purchases

Hot Tip: You can see 25+ benefits of this card in our Citi/AAdvantage Executive World Elite benefits deep dive here

AAdvantage frequent flyer miles add up quickly because of the generous sign-up bonus and the fact you’ll be earning double miles on American Airlines purchases.

The Citi® / AAvanatage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® serves as a perfect compliment to having elite status, but you’ll want to review all the best American Airlines AAdvantage branded credit cards to see which is a fit for you.

Bottom Line: If you travel frequently on American Airlines and want valuable perks and lounge access, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® is an obvious choice for benefits far beyond elite status. 

Everything Else You Need to Know

Here are a few more details to be aware of before you get started on your status challenge:

  • There are no refunds once you’ve paid for an AAdvantage status challenge.
  • If you sign up for a Gold status challenge and complete Platinum level requirements, you can pay an extra $125 to convert your Gold challenge to a Platinum challenge.
  • It is possible to back-date the start of the challenge up to 5 days.
  • AAdvantage customer service is open from 8 AM to 7 PM central time Monday through Friday, and can be reached at 888-697-5636.
  • The American Airlines AAdvantage status challenge in this article is different from other challenge offers elite frequent flyers may receive at year end — and it’s also different from challenge offers received by those holding certain credit cards.
  • American Airline AAdvantage partners with the World of Hyatt hotel loyalty program offering targeted AAdvantage elite status challenges to Hyatt elite members. Check your email or call AAdvantage/World of Hyatt to find out if you have been targeted. This temporary promo is set to end September, 2019.

Final Thoughts

Before you jump into a status challenge, you’ll want to make sure the cost is worth it. There are some cases where it may make sense, including if:

  • You have upcoming flights with American Airlines and would like to enjoy better seating, priority boarding, free checked bags, etc.
  • You are switching airlines and plan to continue earning status in subsequent years.

If you do plan to continue flying with American Airlines and go on to qualify for elite status, you’ll want to review the annual requirements.

Interested in a status match challenge with either Delta Air Lines or United Airlines? Check out our in-depth guides on how to status match with the Delta Medallion Elite program and the United MileagePlus program.


*Featured image credit: news.aa.com

FAQ

What is a status challenge?

A status challenge, or status match, is an airline program whereby you can request a shortcut to qualifying for an airline’s elite status.

The American Airline’s AAdvantage program status challenge is set for a 90-day period, and you must achieve flying and revenue requirements during that time.

Once the requirements are met, your status is granted and usually valid until the end of the status year. American also requires you to pay a fee to participate in a status challenge.

Do I have to have elite status now to be approved for a status challenge?

American Airlines will consider you for a status challenge even if you do not have current elite status with another airline.

It does help to have an upcoming American Airlines itinerary booked, but flyers have been known to be approved without status or an itinerary booked.

How much does a status challenge with American cost?

How much you pay for a status challenge with American depends on when you apply and whether you want to purchase temporary status that will be valid during the challenge.

Status challenges start at $100 for a Gold status challenge with no status granted during the challenge.

Does American Airlines have a free status challenge?

American Airlines does not normally offer a free elite status challenge.

However, they have been known to send out offers to AAdvantage elite members for free status challenges, mostly for year-end qualification purposes to boost the member to the next elite level.

They have also offered free challenges for some credit card holders.

Christine Krzyszton

About Christine Krzyszton

Christine, who lives in Northern Michigan, travels about 300,000 miles a year despite her remote location. Her expertise is traveling the world on a weekend with no pre-determined destination in mind, letting the cost of the airfare determine where she will go. She has over four million flown miles and elite status on all three major domestic carriers.

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56 comments

  1. It’s very really great information for becoming a better Blog.You become a idol for me.You always change my the Way of thinking.Your way thinking is Really amazing.Thanks

  2. A question: If I sign up for a Platinum challenge that ends on June 16th, but actually complete the travel necessary to complete it before June 15th, will I get status for the actual date I complete (and an end to Plat status at end of Jan the next year), or at the end of the 90 day period (June 16th, and get status through Jan 31st two years from then)?

    • Christine Krzyszton · November 5, 2018 · Reply

      Hi Bob. If the status challenge you’re proposing ends on June 16th, you would have needed to sign up for the challenge 90 days before that, say in March. The email confirmation you would have received in March would dictate the terms of the challenge. For example, if you purchased status to be effective during the challenge, and you completed the requirements early, the status will of course continue for the term specified in the email confirmation. If you did not purchase status to be effective during the challenge, which it sounds like you’re asking about, the email will specify when status will kick in and how long it will be valid. Based on what you’re suggesting, status would generally be good through the remainder of the qualification year and not the following year.

  3. Great post! I just received an email from AA offering gold status for $395 cash for the rest of 2018 and all of 2019. I am 3,374 EQM miles away from 25k and have all my EQD dollars. I am not planning on traveling until March and then more in the summer. I feel like this may be a decent offer. Also, I have the platinum select CC so I get preferred boarding and bags checked for free. Do you think this a decent offer or should I just find a cheap multi-city flight? Thanks.

    • Christine Krzyszton · November 6, 2018 · Reply

      Hi Jesse and thanks for reading! Personally, I would not pay the $395 for Gold status. Depending on where you live, you could probably secure the miles needed for less than $200 and be earning redeemable miles in the process. With that said, if you do not have the time or desire to do this, that is another matter. For example, I am short of Platinum with AA and my offer was $895 to secure the status through next year. I was able to find a flight that earned the miles for a fraction of that. The trip can be completed in one day and I’ll have some fun doing it. So, that is the route I chose to take. In the end, it is a personal decision based on your situation.

  4. Chris Tran · November 6, 2018 · Reply

    Hi there,

    You have written an amazing article! Very clearly stated all the ins and outs of getting elite status. I am currently gold with American Airline and I am only 180 EQD and 18000 EQM away from Platinum. I felt like this could be achievable to Platinum status by flying from Phoenix to let’s say Singapore (I used the air mile calculator app). In your professional opinion, do you think this is a good idea? Or are there better ways to get from my current gold to platinum?

    Kind regards

    • Christine Krzyszton · November 7, 2018 · Reply

      Hi Chris! Thank you for your comment and question. First I would check your emails and see if you have an offer from AA for elevating status to Platinum. If you do not find one, you can write to American Airlines AAdvantage Program at loyalty@loyalty.ms.aa.com and ask if you have an offer to pay up to Platinum. If the offer is not appealing, the Singapore flight is definitely an option and should secure Platinum for you. We completed such a trip in September on partner airline Cathay Pacific in premium economy to get closer to Platinum as well. Partner airlines in premium classes work well for gaining EQMs and EQDs. Good luck with your quest!

  5. Hey there, just FYI – I recently did the status challenge and would’ve made the cut for Platinum – however… they took Qantas off the list of eligible carriers to status challenge. This was as of the beginning of September 2018. I went ahead and paid for the status since I’m based out of MEL at the moment and within 3 months went to the US, China, NZ, Cambodia, and Thailand so the priority baggage handling and lounge access was well worth its weight in gold. I am crossing my fingers they’ll approve the platinum status anyway (doubtful) as it’s almost impossible to book flights originating from Australia with an AA number without jumping through hoops with a travel agent. I’ll likely receive confirmation that I didn’t meet the challenge when it ends on Nov 24.

    • Christine Krzyszton · November 19, 2018 · Reply

      Hi Amber. Since your status challenge ends in November, you must have applied in August. The email you received confirming your status challenge at that time would state the terms of the agreement and specify which flights are eligible. Since there is no publicly published status challenge list, I’m not sure which list you would be referring to other than the list of airlines included in your challenge confirmation. If Qantas was included in your confirmation email, you may have a positive outcome.

  6. Nicholas J York · November 20, 2018 · Reply

    Thanks for the great article Christine!
    I am a Delta Diamond Medallion but with their recent changes, I won’t even come close to that status for next year. I do have Delta Platinum already secured throughout 2019 though. I asked AA if they would consider a status match and they agreed to offer it to me for free! So I have until February 18th, 2019 to fly 35000 EQM’s or obtain 40 EQS’s AND to spend $4000 EQD’s. Any tips to help me get there? Something like a long flight that won’t cost me an arm and a leg but will get me the miles I need to obtain? Thanks again for the great article!

    • Christine Krzyszton · November 20, 2018 · Reply

      Hi Nicholas and thank you for reading! Good for you for securing the AA status challenge. Flying partner airlines in premium fare classes will get you the most return for your time and for dollars spent towards the challenge. Even a premium economy fare can deliver 20% of miles flown in elite qualifying dollars and as much as 40% in business class. I would look at Google flights, narrow your search to One World and premium economy class (or business). Look at the “Explore” maps to see where some sweet spots might be. British Airways premium economy to Europe can be a good choice but you would need more than one trip. Good luck with your challenge.

  7. Derrick Scott · December 27, 2018 · Reply

    I have an offer to get Gold for $235, I’m currently $181 EQD short. Is it worth it? Further more; if I do upgrade I plan on doing a status match with United because I have a flight to Japan with United in February and that trip will meet the requirements (from their website and research of previous status match posts). So it’s kind of like paying $235 for status on two airlines. Also the flight to Japan will be paid for by my organization, so no additional funds out of my pocket.

    • Christine Krzyszton · December 28, 2018 · Reply

      Hi Derrick and thanks for your question. If you are going to fly United more in 2019 and also use the upgraded Gold status with American Airlines, I think it makes sense to pay for the upgrade.

  8. Peter Frank · January 10, 2019 · Reply

    Hi! Thanks for this very clear article. I was hoping to complete the Platinum Challenge for an upcoming flight JFK-HKG-EWR booked in Premium Economy (E). As in the example above, I’d earn more than enough EQMs and EQDs to hit the 12,000 EQM/2,000 EQD threshold.

    BUT the AAdvantage rep I just spoke to said that because I booked directly with Cathay, and not as an AA code-share, the miles wouldn’t qualify. Anyone else had that experience? I’m thinking of calling back to see if another rep gives me a different answer…but wary of spending the $200 fee (I’m upgrading from Gold) if there’s a chance it won’t work.

    If anyone has thoughts, please share!

    • Stephen Au · January 10, 2019 · Reply

      Hey Peter,

      Unfortunately, you will be able to earn only AA miles, and nothing for EQM/EQDs on your itinerary.

    • Christine Krzyszton · January 11, 2019 · Reply

      Hello Peter and thanks for your comment. Cathay Pacific is a qualifying partner in regards to earning AA EQDs and EQMs towards AAdvantage Elite status but Cathay has been excluded from status challenges. I have updated the article accordingly, adding the eligible airlines, to avoid any confusion.

      • Peter J. Frank · January 12, 2019 · Reply

        thanks, both, for your comments. Too bad! On the bright side it will give me something to ponder on the 16-hour flight!

  9. Hi – I just called the AA Advantage number to ask about the status challenge. I’ve been an AA (lowly) Gold member for about 7 years running. 2018 I did not fly enough and they offered me $799 to buy my gold status for 2019. However, I knew I was flying a round trip from Istanbul to Phoenix going through London in January and returning in Feb. So I thought, cool – I meet the mileage and the dollar amount to earn gold on this challenge. BUT, when I called, they told me since I’m still a Gold member through 31 January, the January leg of my flight will not count. I know I won’t be flying again during the 90 day period so while I earn enough miles on the leg back, they are splitting the cost of the ticket on the two legs and I won’t earn the qualifying dollars. I thought you could do the status challenge for the next year even while you’re on the tail end of your status for the previous year. Is there any way around this?

    • Christine Krzyszton · January 11, 2019 · Reply

      Hi and thanks for your question. Unfortunately, AA does not publish guidelines for their status challenges so we have to go by what has been offered to each individual. Normally a Gold challenge would not be granted to someone who has current Gold status. With that said, you can try calling back and speaking with a different representative. You may also want to consider requesting a Platinum challenge.

  10. Hi
    I have to book travel through our company travel agency but
    I usually include my AA member number to get the miles. Will I also get the dollars needed for the status challenge?

    • Christine Krzyszton · January 21, 2019 · Reply

      Hello Tkim. Yes, the person who is flying will receive credit for the miles and qualifying dollars.

  11. Hi! Thank you so much for your helpful blog!
    I have a question.
    I am considering doing a platinum challenge however, I would much rather have the status through 2021 (Who wouldn’t)
    I have 4 trips from Feb-May. They equal about 18000 EQM and easily 4000 EQD. I know that If I start it in Feb I will definitely complete it by April. My biggest flight will be from ORD to AMS on AA/BA, and then BCN to ORD on AA non stop. This trip is in May. I am curious about the timing. If I went ahead and started the challenge in April to include the above flight and also a Round trip flight ORD-MIA-GCM on AA it winds up being about 13000EQM. However would AA say that the challenge is completed once I hit the 12,500 EQM requirement (May11), or would it be “completed” in July so that I can have the status through 2021? Any idea? Hopefully this makes sense. I don’t need the status for my other planned trips in Feb and March, and would rather delay starting if it will guarantee the longer status, however if not then I may as well call them now for my domestic trip next week.
    Thank you for your help

    • Christine Krzyszton · January 31, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Sonia! So glad you enjoy the blog. Regarding your question: I think I’m following your challenge strategy, however, here is what I think would happen. The dates for completing a status challenge are fixed so if you submit a request and are approved, you will receive a confirmation with the dates of the challenge. Let’s say April 15 to July 15. It does not matter when you hit the requirements as long as it is within the challenge period. My take on it would be that you would be granted status through the end of the elite status year, January 2020 in that scenario. If you don’t have a lot of AA travel in the last 1/2 of the year, you may want to request the challenge for your upcoming trips.

  12. George G · February 6, 2019 · Reply

    I can also confirm Qantas is no longer eligible, and I mistakenly signed up in a futile attempt. 🙁

  13. Great article. Called on the AA challenge today since I had a flight to South America in the works. Challenge offer for gold was 7000 qualifying miles and 1000 qualifying dollars in 90 days. Fee to play was $120. If you wanted to do the challenge with gold benefits, the fee was 300. Thanks again for the info!

    • Christine Krzyszton · February 11, 2019 · Reply

      Hi CJ! Thank you so much for reading, for your comment and for taking the time to tell us about your offer.

  14. Martha H · February 18, 2019 · Reply

    I was about 109 dollars shy of the gold status, I called and the costumer service representative wasn’t that helpful. I explained that I had a few flights coming up LAX->SAT(Early-March), LAX->RDU(Mid April), LAX->MIA(Mid-May) and that I was willing to pay for first class, I have 29 500-mile upgrades that I cannot even use because I am not even gold status. She said I can pay $235 for gold or 23.5K miles (not bad) or $1299 for 130K miles for platinum. I don’t know if I should pay to get gold and then challenge for platinum? Is that even possible, or should I call again and challenge for platinum. I haven’t planned my second half of the year but a LAX-Hawaii trip and a trip to South America will happen.
    Thank You for all of the info 🙂

    • Christine Krzyszton · February 18, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Martha, thanks for your question. Since you have a lot of AA travel coming up, I would pay for the Gold status challenge. It sounds like it is important to you to have status while you are flying. If you do reach the Platinum status challenge level during your travels, you can pay the additional $125 fee (or whatever amount they confirm) to receive Platinum status. I think you’re on the right track. Good luck and safe travels.

  15. As a million miler with lifetime (platinum equivalent) on another airline its hard to “step backwards” and fly another airline. Thanks to your efforts and this great article that isn’t an issue anymore with American. I called today and they offered Platinum for $200, $400 or $500 for the 3 different levels, respectively. After purchasing platinum status I was able to upgrade seats on some upcoming flights for myself and my companion on the same itinerary. It will be a whole lot easier flying American from here on out!

    • Christine Krzyszton · February 18, 2019 · Reply

      Wow Dale, that is great news. Congrats on being a million miler and for securing the Platinum challenge/match with American. Thanks for reading and for the kind words.

  16. Christine,

    Great article – thanks! Two quick questions; I was offered the Gold challenge when my status expired on 1/31/19. I have two flights coming up (haven’t booked yet) that I think will satisfy the requirements. My questions are – (1) do you need to start the challenge before you book your flights? (2) If you do need to start the challenge before you book, can you define the 90 day timeframe? I’m afraid if I book now, the 90 day window will run out, assuming it starts when you declare and not the date of the next flight. Thanks!

    • Christine Krzyszton · March 20, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Barry and congrats on being offered the Gold challenge. Normally flights previously booked but flown during the challenge dates count. With that said, the terms of the challenge are stated in the confirmation email from AA. Terms will also include the dates of the 90 day timeframe to complete the challenge. When you were offered the challenge, the dates should have been included but if they are not, you should call and ask for dates (and terms) to be confirmed in writing. Good luck!

  17. Hello,

    I see that the partner airlines does not include Qatar airways. Can you fly Qatar Airways and be credited with qualifying miles towards the status challenge?

    Thanks,

    Steve

    • Christine Krzyszton · April 19, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Steve. Qatar Airways is a One World Alliance partner with American Airlines. When you fly this airline, you can earn AA EQDs and EQMs. However, they have not been included for earning towards a status challenge. When you receive a confirmation email from American Airlines with your status challenge approval, the qualifying airlines, as well as the other terms of the challenge, will be spelled out. Thanks for your question.

  18. Lynne · May 4, 2019 · Reply

    Hi!

    Great article! Thank you so much for all this information!

    I have a question… I am offered the gold challenge. I was a gold member years ago, and have not traveled really at all since it’s expiration. I was told I would have to pay $100 and complete 7,000 Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) + $1,000 Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQDs) OR 8 Elite Qualifying Segments (EQSs) + $1,000 EQDs.

    I have a flight from SFO to Belize May 18th.

    Now, the question is; If I book the (refundable) qualifying flight, pay for the fee to have active gold status, fly on my Belize flight using that status, then cancel the flight when I get back, will something happen besides me just not getting gold status after that?

    • Christine Krzyszton · May 4, 2019 · Reply

      Hello Lynne. If I understand your question, you are talking about two different flights, one you currently have booked to Belize and one you plan to book (refundable) in addition to the Belize flight to qualify for the challenge. You do not normally need to have all of the flights booked to qualify for the challenge so you do not need to book an additional flight. So yes, you can pay the fee and then fly your Belize flight. However, be sure to verify that the $100 fee includes Gold status up front as it usually costs more than that to have status included while you are participating in the challenge. While the Belize flight won’t be enough to qualify, you may decide to take another flight later that will get you there. Also, if you do not meet the requirements of the challenge, your status expires after the 90 day period. Thank you so much for reading and I’m glad you found the information useful.

      • lynn · May 9, 2019 · Reply

        Yes, the flight to Belize was booked using miles, so it unfortunately does not count.

  19. Peter · May 16, 2019 · Reply

    Hi, love the blog!! I have been offered a status challenge (as part of the World of Hyatt partnership), and the T&C state: “Eligible tickets include purchased, published fares flown between the date you register and the date 3 months after you register.” My question is – do you think that means the flights have to be PURCHASED within the 3 months, or just FLOWN. i.e. will flights I previously booked still count. Thanks for any thoughts!

    • Christine Krzyszton · May 17, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Peter. I can understand your confusion as that statement could be clearer. I take it to read that the tickets must be purchased (not award tickets), and that the fare must be a published fare. Then flown miles between the register date and 3 months later will count toward the challenge. I have seen this offer as well: “Elevate your AAdvantage® status through January 31, 2021, by earning the required Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQDs) and either the required Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) or Elite Qualifying Segments (EQSs) between the date you register and the date 3 months after you register.” So, with that additional information, I take it to be flights that are FLOWN during that period. To be sure you can call and document the answer you receive.

  20. Jesse · May 21, 2019 · Reply

    Hi, I have travel starting at the end of May through August and my question is, if I complete the gold challenge will it be good through 2020 or 2021? I planned on requesting the challenge this week.

    Thanks

    • Christine Krzyszton · May 21, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Jesse. Chances are the extended status, once you complete the challenge, would be good through the end of this status year, January 2020. You can always call American Airlines AAdvantage and ask them what the terms of a challenge for your situation would be. It might be worth postponing the start date a few weeks if necessary to get extended status through all of next year.

  21. Sorry to add 1 more scenario to the timing of the challenge. If I sign up today for the platinum challenge today (5/22/19) and my window is 3 months from now (8/22/19)…
    Trip 1 is completed on 6/6/19 for 10k EQM miles.
    Trip 2 is completed on June 25th.
    Am I awarded the plat status until 2020 or 2021.
    I called AA and they told me that the challenge is effective the start date of the challenge.

    thanks in advance

    • Stephen Au · May 22, 2019 · Reply

      Your status is only valid after meeting the requirements until the next year. Unless otherwise stated, your status is valid only until 2020. Thanks for reading.

  22. The cutoff date is June 15th. So even if i start the challenge before June 15 and end the challenge after June 15th, its still only valid until 2020? They tell me if i started the challenge after June 15th then it would be valid until 2021.

    thanks again

    • Stephen Au · May 24, 2019 · Reply

      Hey John,

      Keep in mind we are not American Airlines. If you personally contacted and spoke with American Airlines, then your challenge is valid until 2021. Thanks for reading.

  23. Mukesh · May 27, 2019 · Reply

    Hi, I have travel starting at the end of May through August and my question is, if I complete the gold challenge will it be good through 2020 or 2021? I planned on requesting the challenge this week.

    • Stephen Au · May 27, 2019 · Reply

      Hey Mukesh,

      We are not American Airlines, and our advice should not be treated as such. You’ll want to reference the terms of your status challenge because the terms and conditions can change at any time for different people. At the moment, it seems like your challenge will be good until Jan 1, 2021, but double check with AA. Thanks for reading.

      • Zac Smith · June 6, 2019 · Reply

        I flew SJC-LAX-PEK back in late March and I am scheduled to be flying to Boston in June. If I sign up for the challenge will AA include my flight to PEK if it is still in the 3 month window? Because I forgot to sign up for the challenge before I went to Beijing.

        • Christine Krzyszton · June 6, 2019 · Reply

          Hi Zac. Unfortunately, you must be approved for the challenge prior to flying.

    • Christine Krzyszton · May 28, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Mukesh. One factor determining how long your status will be granted, once you complete the challenge, is “when” your challenge request is approved. If the challenge was submitted and approved in May, chances are you would only earn status through this status year, January 2020. Approved in July, you could receive status through January, 2021. Since there is no published challenge for AA, it’s up to their discretion.

  24. George · June 12, 2019 · Reply

    Hello,

    Thanks as always for the great article. I’m trying to determine my best course of action to get either Gold or Platinum.

    Firstly, do current miles count towards a challenge? I currently have AA:
    2726 EQD, 8477 EQM, 10 EQS

    But I have been flying frequently from GSO to DFW every few weeks. This typically earns me about 2000 EQM and 600 EQD.

    I should be able to earn 3000 EQD and 10000 EQM within a 90 day period starting in July, which I think would cover me for a gold challenge. If current miles count, I’d then have 5000 EQD and 16000 EQM.

    Either way, I’m considering a platinum challenge and throwing in an extra trip to get there.

    Any advice? Thanks!

    • Christine Krzyszton · June 12, 2019 · Reply

      Hello George. Thanks for reading and for your question. I updated your current stats with the information you sent in your second comment. First, as you are aware, you would need to submit a request (or call AA) for the challenge. It sounds like you have decided on Platinum. Once you have been approved for the challenge, you will receive a confirmation email with the exact terms and dates spelled out. You will have 90 days from the start date of the challenge to earn the required EQD/EQM or EQS. Current EQD/EQM/EQS do not count, only what you earn during the challenge period. Good luck with completing it but it sounds like you’re very determined so I am sure you’ll be successful.

      • George Peterson · June 12, 2019 · Reply

        Thanks! Do you know if current miles count towards a challenge?

        • Christine Krzyszton · June 12, 2019 · Reply

          No George, I’m afraid current miles do not count towards a challenge. Only the EQD, EQM/EQS you earn during the challenge period count.

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