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What Is American Airlines AAdvantage Gold Status Worth in 2023?

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James Larounis

James Larounis

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James (Jamie) started The Forward Cabin blog to educate readers about points, miles, and loyalty programs. He’s spoken at Princeton University and The New York Times Travel Show and has been quoted in...
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American has 4 tiers to its AAdvantage frequent flyer program: Gold, Platinum, Platinum Pro, and Executive Platinum. The Gold tier is its entry-level tier and the easiest to attain.

In this piece, we take a look at how to earn AAdvantage Gold status and what benefits you’ll receive. We also evaluate the cost and worth of each of those benefits and see how you may be able to attain similar benefits elsewhere. We want you to maximize every penny, and looking at all the different ways to squeeze value out of your perks will make you an informed frequent flyer.

How To Earn AAdvantage Gold Status

To earn Gold status, you must earn 40,000 Loyalty Points. Major perks include complimentary upgrades, free checked baggage, and complimentary standby.

You don’t need to fly to earn Gold status — simply spending on a co-branded credit card or making purchases at qualifying restaurants or shops can make you eligible.

Hot Tip: The right airline credit card can fast-track you to elite status. Read more about it in our guide to the best credit cards for airline elite status.

The Benefits of AAdvantage Gold Status

1. Complimentary Upgrades on All Flights ($500 Value)

As an AAdvantage Gold frequent flyer, you’ll receive upgrades on all flights within the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean.

The difference in price between first class and main cabin seats is often several hundreds of dollars, but these complimentary upgrades will be at the last minute. Our estimated benefit value is conservative due to the possibility of poor seat selection or not having your upgrade clear at all. This estimate assumes you’re able to use half of your potential upgrades over the course of a year.

Because Gold members are prioritized below all other elites, you’ll be the last to receive these upgrades, if available. But, there’s an important caveat to this which we think can provide you a lot more value than you may already be receiving: the schedule and routing of your flight are absolutely essential.

If you’re always flying on Monday mornings or Friday afternoons, your upgrade percentage will be next to nothing. However, if you choose to fly on Wednesdays or Saturdays, your upgrade percentage will be much higher.

As a savvy frequent flyer, you should select your flights based on:

  • Time of Day: The middle of the day is much easier for upgrades
  • Day of Week: Avoid Mondays and Fridays, when most business travelers fly
  • Aircraft: You’re much less likely to receive an upgrade to first class on an A319 (with only 8 seats in the cabin) than you are on a 787 with 20+ seats available (granted, most wide-body aircraft don’t fly these shorter routes)
  • Cities: JFK is a much easier upgrade than LaGuardia, for example, since American doesn’t really use JFK as a connecting hub

Bottom Line: If you’re strategic about your upgrades and how you fly, you’ll extract more value from your status.

While you can request an upgrade as a Gold flyer, expect to sit in the main cabin a decent percentage of the time. Image Credit: American Airlines

2. Complimentary Same-Day Standby ($100 Value)

As a Gold member, you can’t confirm onto another flight for free — but you can stand by for free. Standby includes flights both earlier and later than your original flight; if you want to standby on a later flight, notify American in advance so your reservation doesn’t cancel. All passengers can stand by for an earlier flight for free — the real value is in standing by for a later flight for free, which you can do as a Gold member.

Because going on standby can get you home sooner (or allow you to leave later if a meeting runs long), this is an especially valuable perk. However, Gold members are still listed at the bottom of the pack for any complimentary standby. Here’s how it will display on the PALL (airport priority list):

  • RV1 (ConciergeKey)
  • RV2 (Executive Platinum)
  • RV3 (Platinum Pro)
  • RV4 (Platinum)
  • RV5 (Gold)

If you are trying to stand by for a prime-time flight like New York (LGA) to Dallas (DFW), you may not get on (since you’ll have 4 other elite groups ahead of you). But even a Gold member will come before any employee non-revenue passenger standing by for the flight.

Bottom Line: Standing by for a later or earlier flight comes at no fee to AAdvantage Gold elites.

3. 40% Mileage Bonus (~$300 Value)

Non-status flyers earn 5 miles per dollar, but Gold flyers earn 7 miles per dollar.

We value this benefit somewhere in the neighborhood of $300 per year (depending on the flight(s) you choose to redeem). Of course, if you choose to use these extra miles on a short-haul inexpensive flight, you might value the 40% mileage bonus lower.

4. Complimentary Preferred Seats and Access to Main Cabin Extra Seats ($250 Value)

Gold members have access to Preferred seats on a complimentary basis at the time of booking. These are the aisle and window seats in the middle to back quarter of the cabin — ordinary non-elites would have to pay to choose them.

As a Gold member, you don’t get any discount on Main Cabin Extra seats, but you do have free seat selection within 24 hours of the flight. During this time, watch closely for last-minute upgrades of higher elites that may free up prime Main Cabin Extra seats.

You should also monitor for other elites doing same-day changes onto other flights or those shifting flights due to irregular operations so that you can snag these seats last minute. Gold members can select Preferred seats and Main Cabin Extra seats for themselves and 8 companions.

Hot Tip: Always monitor last-minute upgrades that may free up prime seats you can move to within 24 hours of departure!

5. Admirals Club Discount ($25 Value)

AAdvantage Gold members receive a discount on Admirals Club membership. Instead of paying the $850 fee for a new member, Gold members pay $825.

If you decide to renew your membership, you’ll pay $775 instead of $800. This is a minor discount that doesn’t have a huge value, since you can get your Admirals Club membership in many forms (including via the Citi®/AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®).

6. Priority Check-in, Priority Security, and Priority Boarding (~$75 Value)

AAdvantage Gold members receive priority boarding on all flights. Image Credit: American Airlines

Gold flyers are entitled to use the priority check-in line at airports worldwide. Depending on the airport you’re in, this benefit could be valuable or useless.

Priority security isn’t super valuable either, since most Gold flyers probably have TSA PreCheck or another expedited security channel. For boarding, Gold flyers will be in Group 4 — before general boarding, but behind all other elites:

  • Pre-boarding — ConciergeKey
  • Group 1 — First Class and Executive Platinum
  • Group 2 — Platinum Pro
  • Group 3 — Platinum
  • Group 4 — Gold

Depending on the route, you may be looking at quite a few people boarding ahead of you (or with you). Flights like New York (LGA) to Dallas (DFW) or Chicago (ORD) to Washington, D.C. (DCA or IAD) can have huge boarding groups with many elite passengers.

7. Priority Phone Reservations (~$25 Value)

As a Gold member, you’ll have access to American’s Gold reservations agents, which gives you a slight priority when calling in compared to other flyers. Since you’re still bottom of the elite totem pole and wait times can exceed several minutes (or hours during a storm), the value of this benefit is debatable.

It’s worth noting that Gold flyers won’t necessarily get any special treatment outside of maybe a shorter wait time to reach an agent. Fee waivers, exceptions, and other perks aren’t normally granted (even if you have Gold status).

If you have to call in a few times during a major storm or irregular operation, we value that time at around $25, since you may be able to rebook before another passenger.

8. Checked Bag Fee Waiver ($150 Value)

Free checked bags can add up, especially if you’re traveling with a large group! Image Credit: American Airlines

As a Gold frequent flyer, you’re entitled to a free checked bag on all flights, no matter the destination. This is different from the benefit on the co-branded AA credit cards that only entitles you to checked bags for flights within the U.S. and select “local” international destinations.

If you’re flying 25,000 miles a year and avoid bag fees upwards of $30 per person, you’ve got at least $150 in savings a year here — especially if you travel with a companion or 2 (where you can definitely reap these benefits).

This benefit is good for up to 8 companions on the same reservation, so if you’re traveling with a group of people, you can impress everyone with your free checked bag skills.

Hot Tip: If your companions aren’t booked on the same reservation, you may be able to still check their bags for free. While technically frowned upon, most agents will have no problem providing the companions with complimentary checked bags if you’re on the same flight, so you’ll still be able to maximize value from your Gold perk.

9. Oneworld Ruby Benefits ($100 Value)

AAdvantage Gold members are given Oneworld Ruby status, the lowest of the 3 Oneworld tiers.

Oneworld Ruby members get these benefits:

  • Access to business class and priority check-in
  • Access to Preferred or reserved seating options, where available on partner carriers
  • Priority on waitlists and standby, where offered (depending on the airline)

Let’s take a quick look at each of these for clarity:

  • Access to Priority Check-in: Generally easy to use, since the signage is usually good in airports around the world. Occasionally, staff manning the check-in areas of first class counters will steer you away, so be sure you’re using the priority/business counter when there is one.
  • Preferred Seating: Depends on the airline; many airlines don’t offer special Ruby seating options. Those that do may only include the ability to select a seat. So don’t expect the best seats in the house — it’s just potential access with nothing guaranteed.
  • Priority on Waitlists: This can also depend on the airline since many will prioritize their own elites ahead of Oneworld elites. In theory, you would carry the same status as the lowest level in the other airline’s frequent flyer program when being placed on any waitlist.

Final Thoughts

Overall, you’re looking at approximately $1,575 of value over the course of 1 year — and that’s if you take advantage of every benefit and maximize the system.

To be fair, it’s worth noting what overall values might look like if you don’t maximize your perks as much:

  • Don’t pay attention to elite benefits: ~$500
  • Pay attention to benefits, but usually just book for convenience: ~$700
  • Pay attention to most policies and procedures to maximize upgrades: $1,100+

In the end, the value of elite status is entirely up to you as the traveler. You can operate a few different ways:

  • Mostly ignore your benefits
  • Understand your benefits, but still not work actively to maximize them
  • Understand your benefits fully and work to maximize every single perk to the fullest potential

While Gold is the lowest AAdvantage tier, there’s certainly value to be found in the various benefits. Hopefully, by reading this guide, you now feel empowered to get more value out of this entry-level status!

Frequently Asked Questions

To earn AAdvantage Gold status in 2023, you must earn 40,000 Loyalty Points. This can include a combination of flying, spending on eligible credit cards, use of shopping portals, and other partnership spending.

Here are a few of the benefits of AAdvantage Gold status:

  • Complimentary upgrades for all domestic flights
  • Complimentary same-day standby
  • Dedicated reservation line
  • Oneworld Ruby status
  • Complimentary preferred seating
  • Access to Main Cabin Extra seats within 24 hours of departure

Yes! AAdvantage Gold members get 1 checked bag on all American Airlines flights for each person on the reservation. This can save a lot of money if you’re with a group.

AAdvantage Gold status is the lowest tier status in the American Airlines elite status program. After Gold, there is Platinum status, Platinum Pro status, Executive Platinum status, and invitation-only ConciergeKey status.

No, redeeming miles will not cause you to lose status. Redeemed miles can go toward a trip of your choice and will not impact your earning elite status for any given year.

About James Larounis

James (Jamie) started The Forward Cabin blog to educate readers about points, miles, and loyalty programs. He’s spoken at Princeton University and The New York Times Travel Show and has been quoted in dozens of travel publications.


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Disclaimer: Any comments listed below are not from the bank advertiser, nor have they been reviewed or approved by them. No responsibility will be taken by the bank advertiser for these comments.


Michael chesson

November 06, 2019

I saw I now have Gold status. How do I get the certificates?

Jarrod West

November 06, 2019

Hi Michael,

You can access and track your 500-mile certificates in your AAdvantage account wallet on or the app.

Thanks for reading!

Michael S

December 18, 2019

I have flown enough miles this year to qualify for Gold status starting next year. AA keeps sending me promos to buy Gold Status for $700 for next year when I’ve already earned it. Left hand not talking to the right hand.

Christine Krzyszton

December 18, 2019

Hi Michael. If you’ve qualified for Gold status by flying the required miles this year and met the EQD requirement, the status starts immediately, not next year. You probably already know this but wanted to mention it just in case.

Katherine Schoellhorn

January 07, 2020

I am interested in getting a Gold Status card. How do I do this?

Jarrod West

January 08, 2020

Hi Katherine,

In order to earn Gold status, you must fly 25,000 miles OR 30 segments AND spend $3,000 in a year with American Airlines.


January 13, 2020

Hi, my status has progressed to gold, how do I get quick gold status now?

Jarrod West

January 13, 2020

Hi Isha,

Do you already have gold status or you’re hoping to get gold status soon?


January 15, 2020

I am a Gold member with an excess of 200,000 miles to redeem. What do I need to do to be provided with the actual ” AA Gold card ” physically?

Jarrod West

January 15, 2020

Hi Vanheusden,

You will need to contact American Airlines directly to have that send to you. Their customer service number is 1-800-433-7300.

Neville Newman

January 16, 2020

FYI , if you meet the other requirements but are only a few EQD’s short of Gold, call in during the last couple of weeks of the year and ask for a waiver. You will get your status without having to find, book, and fly a trip that you don’t need.

Now, my question… Why is it desirable to have a physical card? I see some people asking how to get one, but don’t know why it would be helpful.

Jarrod West

January 16, 2020

Hi Neville,

According to American Airlines, they apparently no longer issue physical card, and you’re correct that there is no benefit to having one.

Thanks for reading!


January 16, 2020

Hi, I am new Gold Status member. What do you think, in your opinion, is the Number 1 and 2 best benefits that come with Gold status?
And do I have free check beg with the gold status? Thank you.

Christine Krzyszton

January 17, 2020

Hello Stefan and congrats on your Gold status. As mentioned in the article, getting complimentary upgrades on flights 500 miles or less and earning 500 mile upgrade certificates to use on future flights can be quite valuable. The best benefits, however, will be those that you personally use the most. If you fly a lot, receiving those additional bonus miles could be an important benefit. And yes, #10 in the article is a free checked bag.

R turner

January 21, 2020

You can get a digital card in your Apple wallet, I have this for my gold status.


January 27, 2020

If I have AA gold status which comes with 1 free checked bag AND the AA Citi card which also comes with 1 free checked bag, do I then get 2 Free checked bags?

Jarrod West

January 28, 2020

Hi Laura,

Unfortunately, the baggage benefits do not stack together – so you would only receive 1 free checked bag.

Mike L

January 28, 2020

So, I HAD Gold back in August when I booked my flight to LIR from JAX for this coming weekend, but I no longer have it. Do I still get my checked bag free?? My receipt (my email from when I purhcased the flights) shows that I have a $0.00 first bag fee and a 2nd bag fee of $40. I assumed it was because of my Aviator Red Card, but now I realize the Aviator Red Card doesn’t count for free bags to Costa Rica. My wife and I are taking a lap baby to LIR and we HAVE to check bags, gosh I hope they are still free, so I can at least get two free bags and a stroller. THANKS for the article and the consideration of my question.

Jarrod West

February 04, 2020

Hi Mike,

If your booking is still showing that your first checked bag is free then that should continue to be the case.

Thanks for reading!


March 31, 2020

It wasn’t. I had a copy of the receipt showing $0 and they said if it’s not in their system, it doesn’t matter what my receipt said. And I quote, “That’s just a piece of paper. Anyone can make one.” So I showed her on my phone in my email. She still charged me.

Albert Bergen

October 12, 2020

I am lifetime Gold. As I continue to fly I can get to the next level.


December 01, 2020

great article and lots of helpful tips.
I don’t understand how to get companions checked bags free if they are not on same reservation as me – Your hot tip says “If your companions aren’t booked on the same reservation, you just need to check the bags under your name. While technically frowned upon, most agents will have no problem with this, and you’ll still be able to get all the value from your Gold perk.” I only get one checked bag – so how would this work to put them under my name, wouldn’t that be charged as 2+ bags? Thanks

Jarrod West

January 15, 2021

Hi Sue,

Since the benefit is good for up to 8 traveling companions, as long as the agent doesn’t make a fuss that they’re on a different reservation from yours, then you should still be permitted to check the bags for free.


December 17, 2020

Do you know if gold members get a 50lbs bag checked for free or can it be 70lbs? My mom was Platinum Pro and she was able to check a 70lbs bag for free.

Jarrod West

December 18, 2020

Hi Raul,

Gold members can check a bag for free that weighs up to 50lbs.

Andrew Moffett

June 07, 2021

I have Gold status and the ticket I purchased came with one checked bag included. I want to clarify that the free checked bag from Gold status would mean that I and the rest of my family on the reservation will then have two free bags each, correct?

Jarrod West

June 07, 2021

Hi Andrew,

Unfortunately, the Gold baggage benefits do not stack. So if your ticket already includes a piece of checked luggage, you do not receive a 2nd one for free.

James Chan

May 23, 2022

Hi Jarrod,

I would just like clarification on Andrew’s question because I will be in a similar situation. I have Gold status and my (Main Cabin Extra) transatlantic flight already includes a free case. So the Gold status does not allow me to check in a 2nd bag for free? If this is the case, how much would the 2nd one cost?

I also have some USA domestic flights, so again the 1st is free because of my status. What would the 2nd case cost?

Chris Hassan

May 24, 2022

Hi James,

Yes, that is correct, you will be charged for the 2nd bag. On domestic flights, the second bag would cost you $30 (the price of a 1st check bag), on a transatlantic flight it currently costs $75.

James Chan

May 24, 2022

Chris…thank you for the clarification.

Anne Bridges

July 13, 2021

I am a lifetime Gold member. If I fly from the US to say, London, in Basic Economy would the normal $75 fee for one bag in this fare category be $0 for me? If it is $0, would any companions of mine on the same reservation also get a free bag?

Jarrod West

July 13, 2021

Hi Anne,

Yes, as a benefit of your Gold status you and up to 8 companions on the same reservation would receive a free checked bag.


July 20, 2021

As a gold or platinum member, does the weight limit on your checked bags increase or is it still 50lbs?

Jarrod West

July 20, 2021

Hi Anthony,

Gold and Platinum members can bring extra checked bags on their flights, but the weight limit of each bag is still 50 pounds. Safe travels!


November 21, 2021

Thank you for the great article. I recently got upgraded to Gold Status and wanted to assure I make the most of the benefits. I use the AMEX Travel portal to get points on my Amex MR, but I wanted to make sure this still allows me to get the AA Gold benefits, or should I book directly thru the website.

Jarrod West

November 22, 2021

Hi Shahab,

You would need to book directly with AA in order to take advantage of your Gold benefits.


January 24, 2022

Great article Jarrod! I would like to know if this benefits are usable when you book a flight redeeming miles. Thanks!!!

Jarrod West

January 25, 2022

Hi Cristian,

This post was actually written by James but thank you for the kind words! To answer your question, yes these benefits are useable on award flights.


February 16, 2022

Thanks for the article. Re: “Upgrades on All Flights 500 Miles or Less (Gold)”. Does that mean I could upgrade to a First Class seat at no cost (if available of course)?

Christine Krzyszton

February 20, 2022

Hi Dani. With Gold status you are eligible, and will be put on the waiting list, to receive a complimentary upgrade. However, all other travelers on the flight with higher elite status than Gold will receive the upgrades first. You might want to review the helpful tips mentioned in the article for receiving upgrades with Gold elite status.


February 16, 2022

So simply getting the 50k sign-up bonus with an AA credit card doesn’t qualify you for Gold status?

Christine Krzyszton

February 17, 2022

Hi Jay. Unfortunately not. Miles earned on a welcome bonus are just redeemable bonus miles, not qualifying miles that count toward status. As mentioned in the article, “To earn Gold status for 2021, members have through February 28, 2022, to fly 20,000 miles OR 20 segments and spend $2,000 in a year. In 2022, you must earn 30,000 Loyalty Points.”


February 20, 2022

Very helpful. Was wondering if I need to pay a bag fee with gold aa advantage status to the Dominican. Thanks for letting me know it’s free!

Jody koonce

March 13, 2022

I missed gold status for 2022 by a couple of segments. How can I find out how many my flights I will need this year to qualify for gold status in 2023? I have a couple of trips to LAX and Oregon.

Jarrod West

March 14, 2022

Hi Jody,

American Airlines has revamped its elite status qualification and now requires 30,000 Loyalty points in order to reach Gold status. You can see all the details in this guide: /news/american-aadvantage-changes-2022/.

Rohan T. M

March 14, 2022

Is Gold Status an annual membership? Is the fee an annual fee or is this a one-time fee? are there any criteria to be met to maintain the Gold status?

Jarrod West

March 14, 2022

Hi Rohan,

Gold status is an annual elite status but there is no membership fee. Each year, you have to earn 30,000 American Airlines Loyalty Points in order to qualify, or re-qualify for American Airlines Gold status.


March 30, 2022

I am about to lose my Gold Status and I was just wondering if it’s worth taking advantage of one of those offers AA sends to renew (pay in USD or miles.) A lot of times I just pay the first class fare. What privileges do I lose if I don’t have the Gold status but am still buying First class ticket?

Jarrod West

March 30, 2022

Hi Alay,

In my view, it would not be worth it to pay extra to retain Gold status as it doesn’t offer many benefits that you can’t also receive by just holding an AA co-branded credit card.


June 19, 2022

I have a question about “ Complimentary Preferred Seats and Access to Main Cabin Extra Seats.” Does that apply to all flights (to Europe, for example) or only domestic and “local” international?

Jarrod West

June 20, 2022

Hi Mark,

As far as I know, it should apply to all flights.


July 06, 2022

Thank you for this breakdown. It was very helpful. I just wanted to clarify something. If you are Gold status and can board in group 4, does your companion also board group 4, if you are the one who bought the tickets? Thanks.

Jarrod West

July 06, 2022

Hi Emily,

Yes, your companion should also be able to board in group 4 with you.


September 29, 2022

If I travel with my husband and 2 kids, do we all get upgraded or just me as the Gold elite member? Tx.

Christine Krzyszton

September 30, 2022

Hi Sisi. You and 1 travel companion on the same flight qualify for an upgrade. Keep in mind, however, that all other elites will have upgrade priority over Gold elites. If your travel companion is on a separate reservation, you must call and have the reservations linked.


January 23, 2023

Do I receive AAdvantage Gold Status benefits on flights booked by redeeming miles through award flights or only on non award flights I actually purchase?

Katie Seemann

January 24, 2023

Hi Ilene,
You’ll receive most of your Gold benefits on award flights with the exception of complimentary upgrades.


February 05, 2023

If I book a flight through the american airlines website but it is operated by a partner airline (Gol airlines in this case) do my checked baggage benefits from gold status still apply on this flight? Thanks

Jarrod West

February 09, 2023

Hi John,

If you entered your AA number during booking then you should receive all entitled perks of your Oneworld status.

Billy B

February 19, 2023

I don’t have Gold status but my partner does. I recently booked an award flight from the US to the Caribbean for travel later this year. Is the reservation that I booked for the both of us with points eligible for us to get 1 free checked back since my partner is Gold? Or does it matter that I booked it and I have no status? Thanks

Chris Hassan

February 20, 2023

If you are both on the same reservation, you will both receive the benefits.

Any thoughts or questions? Comment below!

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