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Why I’m Switching to American Airlines Elite Status This Year

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Carissa Rawson
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Carissa Rawson

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Carissa served in the U.S. Air Force where she developed her love for travel and new cultures. She started her own blog and eventually joined The Points Guy. Since then, she’s contributed to Business ...
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I’ve been a devoted United loyalist for a very long time (ever since Delta started gutting its loyalty program), but this year is the first year in a long time that I’ve exhausted my United MileagePlus Premier Gold elite status.

Although I had hoped for different outcomes with those programs, my transition to American AAdvantage elite status has helped me come to terms with the situation.

Here’s why I’m going all-in on retaining American Airlines elite status in 2024.

United Elite Status Is Too Expensive

United did a lot for its elite members when travel halted in 2020. Along with extending elite status, it spent the following years boosting members at the beginning of each year with a deposit of Premier Qualifying Points (PQPs) to help them with their elite status-earning efforts.

However, while there are still PQP bonuses, United has raised the cost of elite status so that it’s nearly impossible for me to achieve.

To earn Premier 1K status this year, I would have needed to earn either 24,000 PQPs (which essentially equates to $24,000 worth of spending) or have flown 54 segments and earned 18,000 PQPs.

United’s system rewards big spenders who book flights on United’s platform. Because I am not one of those high-spending customers and prefer to fly long-haul discounted flights with partners, the PQPs I earn are limited by United’s system.

Put simply, I don’t have $24,000 to shell out on United flights, so this year I had to find a different solution.

American’s Instant Status Pass

Over the last year, American has offered an interesting way for customers to potentially earn elite status with the airline. Unlike a traditional status match, which requires you to travel a certain number of miles or spend a certain amount on flights in a limited period of time, American’s Instant Status Pass offers a shortcut way to earn status in 4-month increments.

AA instant status pass
Image Credit: American Airlines

The way AAdvantage’s Instant Pass works is that every 4 months, members need to earn a certain amount of Loyalty Points to maintain elite status. Since I previously matched from United’s Premier 1K status, that meant I was funneled straight into American’s Executive Platinum elite status, the airline’s highest publicly available tier of elite status.

I’ve since fallen to Platinum Pro with American, which is 1 level down from Executive Platinum status, but it suits me just fine.

Thanks to the way AAdvantage operates, I can easily accrue enough Loyalty Points to keep my status by, for example, spending on an American Airlines co-branded credit card.

In contrast to United, shopping with AAdvantage eShopping Mall counts towards elite status, as do hotel stays through AAdvantage Hotels. I also have an American Airlines credit card, which means every purchase I make earns me Loyalty Points toward status.

Overall, I find the process of achieving elite status with American much simpler than with United.

Hot Tip:

Want to earn more Loyalty Points towards status? Check out our guide to the best ways to earn AAdvantage Loyalty Points!

The American and Hyatt Partnership

I’ve held World of Hyatt Globalist elite status with Hyatt since 2020, and I have plans to maintain this top-tier status for years to come. Although I’m a cardholder of the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card*, which gives me top-tier Diamond elite status with Hilton Honors, I prefer the consistency of elite benefits Hyatt provides.

*All information about this card has been collected independently by Upgraded Points.

What’s more, Hyatt and American have a partnership that grants those who maintain elite status within both programs special perks.

More specifically, as an elite member with both Hyatt and American, I’m able to earn more reward miles and points:

  • Earn 1 AAdvantage mile per $1 spent on Hyatt stays
  • Earn 1 Hyatt point per $1 spent on American Airlines flights
AA Hyatt dual accrual
Image Credit: American Airlines

I love Hyatt, and the ability to earn extra Hyatt points is a big deal for me. At the same time, using my Hyatt stays to earn AAdvantage elite status certainly helps me get the job done more quickly.

Status Matching in 2025

I first acquired United elite status in 2019, when I completed a status match challenge from when I held Platinum Medallion status in the Delta SkyMiles program. Although United regularly publishes status matches, members can only match once every 5 years.

I’m now well beyond my 5-year window, which means I’m eligible to complete another United status match. My AAdvantage Platinum Pro elite status won’t get me to Premier 1K (United doesn’t offer Premier 1K to anyone as a status match), but it will land me United Premier Platinum status.

SCROLL FOR MORE
Frequent Flyer ProgramLevel
Delta Air Lines SkyMilesSilverGoldPlatinum
American Airlines AAdvantageGoldPlatinumPlatinum Pro
Southwest Airlines Rapid RewardsA-ListA-List PreferredN/A
JetBlue TrueBlueMosaicN/AN/A
Alaska Airlines Mileage PlanMVPMVP GoldMVP Gold 75K
British Airways Executive ClubBronzeSilverGold
Qantas Frequent FlyerSilverGoldPlatinum, Platinum One
Level Matched to in MileagePlusPremier SilverPremier GoldPremier Platinum

To keep Premier Platinum status, I’ll need to meet the challenge’s requirements. That means I’ll need to fly 12 segments and earn 4,000 PQPs within 120 days.

That’s a manageable goal, even without the ability to earn miles from MileagePlus Shopping or credit card spending (I don’t have a United credit card), but I’m not sure it’s worth it for me.

Why United Premier Platinum Status?

But why even bother with United elite status if I can’t get to Premier 1K? Because I really value United PlusPoints, which is the currency used for confirmed upgrades on flights. In the past, I’ve successfully used them on flights longer than 14 hours while still paying for economy class tickets. To me, they represent a huge value.

Those with Premier Platinum status usually get 40 PlusPoints per year. However, those who’ve matched over and met the requirements for the challenge will get just 20 PlusPoints.

While that may not seem like a ton of PlusPoints, it is enough to upgrade from economy class to Premium Plus on a flight, which can still represent significant value.

United Premium Plus seat 767
Premium Plus is a significant improvement over economy class. Image Credit: Chris Hassan

Premier Platinum also gives me free Economy Plus seating for up to 8 people at booking and an extra allowance for luggage, both of which I consider valuable.

Ultimately, leveraging my American Pro Platinum elite status to status match with United and attain Premier Platinum status again in the future is certainly appealing.

Final Thoughts

I switched to American Airlines this year for my airline elite status, and while it’s not my favorite program in the world, it makes sense for me given the factors I’ve mentioned. With the option to effortlessly earn Loyalty Points and the collaborative partnership between Hyatt and American, I intend to continue enjoying my Oneworld status (at least this year).

The information regarding the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.

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About Carissa Rawson

Carissa served in the U.S. Air Force where she developed her love for travel and new cultures. She started her own blog and eventually joined The Points Guy. Since then, she’s contributed to Business Insider, Forbes, and more.

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