Platinum status is the second-lowest tier in the American Airlines AAdvantage program and offers complimentary auto-requested upgrades, a 48-hour upgrade window, 60% elite mileage bonus, complimentary Main Cabin Extra and Preferred seats, and 2 free checked bags.
This status is relatively easy to earn, only requiring 75,000 Loyalty Points earned during the 2022 program year. While this may seem like a lot of miles for some, this amount of travel is not uncommon for a business traveler or even a heavy leisure traveler. With this accessibility, a lot of people have Platinum status.
In this article, we take a deep dive into the important information about Platinum status, including a brief overview of the level, perks, the value of those perks, and how you can maximize every mile flown. The more value you can extract from this elite level, the more overall savings you’ll get.
How To Earn AAdvantage Platinum Status
To earn Platinum status, you must earn 75,000 Loyalty Points. You can earn these points in a variety of ways, including flying on American and partner airlines, spending on co-branded credit cards, utilizing American’s online shopping portal, or staying in a Hyatt hotel. You do not have to fly to earn Platinum status, though flying is probably the easiest way to earn status if you want to.
Earning Platinum status also comes with Oneworld Sapphire. If you fly 2 million miles on American or its partners, you can earn Platinum status for life and won’t have to qualify every year.
Hot Tip: Having the right credit card in your wallet can help you fast-track to elite status. Read more about it in our guide to the best credit cards for airline elite status.
The Benefits of AAdvantage Platinum Status
1. Complimentary Upgrades on All U.S., Mexico, Canada, and Caribbean Flights ($1,000 Value)
One of the biggest perks of Platinum status is unlimited upgrades on eligible routes.
To maximize this benefit, there are a few things you can do:
- Plan for multiple connections. If you’re flying to 2 cities that are more than 500 miles apart, try to connect in a city that is less than 500 miles from both your starting point and ending point. Your status will grant you upgrades on both legs since both flights are 500 miles or less.
- Choose aircraft and cabins that have more seats. Try to pick a 737 over a CRJ-700 since more first class seats means more seats for upgrades.
Hot Tip: For more information on snagging that upgrade, see our in-depth guide on how you can get upgraded to business or first class on American Airlines.
Keep in mind that you’re not guaranteed an upgrade. Even if you have enough upgrades for your trip, you’ll still be behind 3 other status levels. Upgrades go in this order by the amount of Loyalty Points earned over the last year:
If the route is super busy, don’t expect an upgrade. Routes such as New York (LGA) to Dallas (DFW), Washington, D.C. (DCA) to Los Angeles (LAX), or Seattle (SEA) to Dallas (DFW) are notorious for long upgrade lists. On many of those routes, even Executive Platinums don’t clear the waitlist for an upgrade. That said, you can maximize the value of these upgrades by:
- Choosing off-peak times to fly. You’re more likely to clear an upgrade on a Wednesday or Saturday, for example.
- Choose larger planes, especially wide-body planes that contain more first class seats.
- Avoid upgrading a companion with you. Often, only 1 seat at a time is released for an upgrade and you may not get it.
We estimate an average Platinum member will fly about 40,000 miles a year, and you will get upgraded 20 times. The value of these upgrades is around $50 each, totaling $1,000 value.
2. 60% Mileage Bonus ($300 Value)
Platinum members get a 60% mileage bonus, so for every dollar spent, you get 6 miles. Gold members earn 40%, so over the course of the year, you’ll accumulate more miles, which gives you an opportunity to spend them on more trips.
It’s tough to put a value on these miles. If you’re constantly redeeming them for short-haul economy class flights, then you’ll get minimal value. However, if you’re looking to use them on business class flights to Europe, for example, it’s a much better value.
You have to earn 75,000 miles to reach Platinum status. You generally need 25,000 miles for a one-way domestic first class ticket. With the difficulty of finding available awards, this is an estimated $300 value.
3. Priority Check-in, Priority Security, and Priority Boarding ($150 Value)
Platinum status members receive the same airport amenities as both lower and higher tier elites: priority check-in, priority security, and priority boarding.
In airports where there is a priority check-in counter, you’re able to use it. In airports with both a business and first class check-in counter, you’ll use the business class desk. Dropping your bags off generally takes little to no time, but it’s nice to have an expedited path to doing so.
Once you’ve checked in, you can use priority screening lanes equipped at most, but not all airports. These lanes are generally shorter, but the screening process is the same. If you have TSA PreCheck or CLEAR, you’ll want to use those lanes since many times the priority lanes don’t necessarily grant you TSA PreCheck expedition.
Once at the gate, you’ll have priority boarding to board the plane, but you won’t be the first.
Here’s a list of the priority order:
- ConciergeKey members pre-board the aircraft prior to normal groups
- Group 1 is first class and uniformed military personnel and Executive Platinum members
- Group 2 is Platinum Pro members
- Group 3 is Platinum members
- Group 4 is Gold members
Since most Platinum members are seated in Main Cabin Extra seating due to this being a complimentary benefit, there still should be plenty of room overhead to store bags.
It’s hard to put a value on this group of benefits since they’re fairly ambiguous. Because you’re probably needing to see an agent a few times a year, and it’s great to board the plane early to stow bags before others, it’s an estimated $150 value.
4. Checked Bag Fee Waived ($175 Value)
As a Platinum member, you’ll get 2 free checked bags on every flight. Since most times you’ll probably be carrying on bags, coming up with a valuation is difficult, though we’ve accounted for a few times throughout the year where you might need to check bags, such as when traveling with family or carrying work equipment.
When you check your 2 free bags, you get this benefit for both yourself and up to 8 companions. There’s no reason not to bring all that stuff your kids want you to bring since you now have a lot of room to check it.
We’ll assume you check your bags or several bags a few times a year, like many travelers do, especially when you’re carrying liquids or other non-carry-on objects. Let’s assume 7 checked bags over the course of a year, whether for you or others, valued at $25 a bag.
5. Priority Bag Delivery ($25 Value)
This benefit is honestly hit or miss — not because it isn’t valuable, but rather because it doesn’t occur as often as it should.
In theory, as a Platinum member, your bag will be tagged with an orange priority tag and be among the first bags delivered to the baggage carousel.
Keep in mind that Executive Platinum, Platinum Pro, and Platinum members, along with other Oneworld elite status members, also receive this priority. You may be waiting a while for your bag even with this benefit.
This benefit is of marginal value since American isn’t great about delivering priority tagged bags ahead of other non-tagged bags. Since it’s very hit or miss, don’t place a ton of value here. As this benefit isn’t consistent, it’s estimated at a $25 value.
6. Complimentary Same-day Standby ($225 Value)
As a Platinum status member, you’re allowed to fly standby for any flight on the same day and the same routing as your current flight. So, if you’re booked on a DCA-DFW flight, you must stick with the exact same routing for any other flight you wish to fly standby for. Further, you need to use the exact same starting and ending airport. In this example, you couldn’t fly out of another airport in D.C.
Platinum status members, like most other scenarios listed, come fourth in priority order. On the flight’s PALL list, which is the list you see at the gate displaying standbys and upgrades, you’re listed as an RV4. RV4 stands for Revenue Voluntary 4. Other statuses are listed as:
- Concierge Key: RV1
- Executive Platinum: RV2
- Platinum Pro: RV3
- Platinum: RV4
- Gold: RV5
Since Platinum members are the fourth priority, if you’re trying to fly standby for a flight and there are Executive Platinums or Platinum Pros ahead of you, they’ll get the seat first. It’s recommended that you try to fly standby in non-hub airports since it’s less likely there will be outranking status members ahead of you in smaller markets.
If you’re booked on an earlier flight and are standing by for a later flight, you must list for the later flight and call in to ensure you aren’t marked as a no-show for the earlier flight. If you don’t notify American, you risk your reservation being canceled and receiving a penalty.
Flying standby is difficult to value since sometimes you can fly standby and sometimes you can’t. Assuming that you’re able to fly standby 3 times a year, that’s a savings of $75 each time, resulting in a $225 value. While American now allows all passengers to standby for flights earlier than their original flight, only elite passengers can standby for later flights, which is often where much of the value comes from.
7. Discounted Admirals Club Membership ($50 Value)
Without status, an annual individual membership to the Admirals Club costs $650. You’re able to renew this membership at a rate of $600 annually. As a Platinum member, you get to buy Admirals Club access for the first time at $600, and then renew every year thereafter at $550.
The Citi®/AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® also offers a complimentary Admirals Club membership as a benefit!
8. Complimentary Admirals Club Access on International Itineraries ($100 Value)
As a Platinum AAdvantage member, you will have access to Admirals Clubs when flying to the Caribbean (including the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico), Canada, Mexico, and Central America.
To help you decipher which locations are eligible for this privilege, anytime you can receive a complimentary upgrade to upgrade your flight, you’ll have access to an Admirals Club when departing the U.S.
For this benefit, we’ll assume you travel 1 or 2 flights a year to an eligible destination, and each visit is worth about $50.
9. Exclusive Service Desk ($25 Value)
The Platinum Service Desk is a phone line where an agent can help you with reservations. This line is useful in the case of weather or other irregular operations, though they’re not entirely useful when it comes to waiving fees or other customer-friendly initiatives. Depending on the scenario, you may receive faster service by tweeting American at @AmericanAir.
It’s hard to put a value on this service desk, but assuming you get your call answered faster than others, it’s an estimated value of about $25.
10. Complimentary Preferred Seats and Main Cabin Extra Seats ($500 Value)
When you have Platinum status, you have access to both Main Cabin Extra and Preferred seats at the time of booking. This is a huge benefit since the general public has to pay extra for these seats. Main Cabin Extra seat selections can cost a pretty penny, upwards of close to $100 on a transcontinental flight one-way.
If you take even just a few longer flights a year, not to mention an international long-haul flight or 2, this benefit will offer noticeable savings by bypassing these seating fees.
Secondly, anyone on your same reservation (up to 8 people) also receives complimentary Main Cabin Extra seats, too. If you’re traveling from Philadelphia (PHL) to San Francisco (SFO) with 8 friends, each of you would pay an extra $80+ to sit in Main Cabin Extra without this benefit. You’d save the group $640 with these seat selections.
In addition to the extra legroom and better location of seats, you’ll also receive a complimentary alcoholic beverage with all Main Cabin Extra seats, including exit rows. It’s a small benefit, but something that certainly enhances the experience.
This benefit value can vary depending on how much you use it, but if you fly at least 10 flights where the upgrade cost would be $50 each, that’s an overall savings of $500 in a year.
11. Oneworld Benefits ($200)
Here’s where things really start to get beneficial and there’s a clear difference from the lower AAdvantage Gold status level. As a Platinum member, you receive Oneworld Sapphire privileges. Oneworld Sapphire is the mid-tier of the Oneworld Alliance program.
As a Oneworld Sapphire member, you’ll get priority check-in and standby. For standby privileges, you’d come ahead of any Oneworld Ruby members. You’ll also get priority boarding, though that benefit depends on the airline you’re flying. In some capacity, you’ll board before most other passengers.
When going through security, you’ll get priority security benefits in select airports, saving you time.
Here’s the big benefit of Oneworld Sapphire status: access to business class and frequent flyer lounges that are part of the Oneworld network. These lounges include the Qantas Business Lounge in Sydney (SYD) or the British Airways Galleries Club Lounge in London (LHR), for example.
Keep in mind that you don’t get domestic access to these types of lounges on solely U.S. domestic itineraries. However, you’re fully entitled to lounge privileges on international flights, with a few exceptions on flights from the U.S. to Canada, Mexico, and some Caribbean destinations.
Access to these lounges is a tremendous perk. Any time you’re on an international itinerary, you’ll have a quiet place to work, usually a nice buffet spread, complimentary drinks, and other freebies.
If you’re leaving from an American hub, you’ll also have access to the Flagship Lounges in select hub airports. These lounges are American’s upgraded premium version of Admirals Clubs for business class passengers and frequent flyers.
Some of the best international lounges include:
- British Airways Galleries Club Lounge in London (LHR)
- Cathay Pacific Business Class Lounge in London (LHR)
- Cathay Pacific The Wing, First or The Wing, Business in Hong Kong (HKG)
- Finnair Premium Lounge in Helsinki (HEL)
- Oneworld Business Lounge in Los Angeles (LAX)
- Qantas Business Lounge in Sydney (SYD)
This helps make international flying a bit more tolerable since you’ll have a nice place to rest.
For this benefit, if you fly 2 international flights a year and access a lounge, that’s a benefit of $100 a trip, totaling $300 in value for the year.
Hot Tip: Before traveling, ensure that the lounge you want to visit is open. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some lounges have been consolidated or temporarily closed. It’s best to check with the carrier operating your flight for the latest information.
Platinum status is where you start to see real substantive value in the AAdvantage program with free Main Cabin Extra seat selection, Flagship Lounge access on international itineraries, Oneworld Sapphire status, and other key elements that complete the program.
Overall, you’re looking at about $2,750 of value.
This all varies on how much you utilize your status:
- On the low end, you’re looking at a value of $2,000 if you use every benefit, but only to a minimum
- If you are an average to a higher-than-average frequent flyer, the benefits would total around $2,775
- With extensive flying, especially international flying, your value would be north of $3,000 of value as you start to use international partner lounges more