TOP News

Travel: Why I’m not doing anything differently to earn American Airlines elite status

This time-warp Freemason's mansion is full of secrets

  This time-warp Freemason's mansion is full of secrets Despite the decay, this abandoned ranch-style mansion radiates the retro glamour of its wealthy owners' heady heydays in the swinging Sixties and Seventies.

MSN has partnered with The Points Guy for our coverage of credit card products. MSN and The Points Guy may receive a commission from card issuers.

Some people might call me crazy, but I’m not going out of my way to earn American Airlines status right now.

That’s not to say that I won’t end up requalifying for American’s Executive Platinum status at some point this year. But, I’m not changing my behavior to get there — at least for now.

And here’s why.

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

The basics of Loyalty Points

In case you missed it, American is completely revamping how you earn AAdvantange elite status beginning on March 1. Going forward, American’s new currency, Loyalty Points, will determine where you land in the elite ranks.

The most beautiful sunrises in the world

  The most beautiful sunrises in the world The most beautiful sunrises in the world

Loyalty Points replace the mix of elite-qualifying flights and minimum spend that used to be required to earn status.

Loyalty Points will still be earned from flying, but the list of elite-earning partners is expanding to include spending on cobranded credit cards and many other non-flying activities. This includes hotels booked through Rocketmiles, purchases made through portal sites such as AAdvantage eShopping and through select retail partners, like Shell and FTD. (You’ll find the full list of Loyalty Points-earning partners here.)

You’ll earn one Loyalty Point for each qualifying AAdvantage mile earned from eligible partners.

A unique double-dipping opportunity

Along with the new currency comes a new elite-qualifying calendar, which will begin on March 1, 2022, and run through Feb. 28, 2023. To accommodate for the change in program year, American is offering a unique double-dipping opportunity from Jan. 1, 2022, through Feb. 29, 2022. During this two-month window, travelers can earn elite credit towards both 2022 and 2023 status.

Don’t leave it to chance: How to make sure your family sits together on a plane

  Don’t leave it to chance: How to make sure your family sits together on a plane As a mom of three, I’m no stranger to the ins and outs of flying with family. I know how to disassemble and reassemble my double stroller with ninja-level precision so it will fit through the baggage scanner at security, I throw screen time rules out the window on travel days and I don’t take …It was probably due to the fact that I know how turbulent flying with kids can be that I happily gave up my seat on a recent kid-free flight when asked by a father if I would switch seats with him so he could sit with his young son.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy) © The Points Guy (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

To maximize this double-dipping opportunity, many of my colleagues at TPG (along with some readers) have been eager to get a head start on accumulating Loyalty Points for 2023 status. We’ve even been testing out all the unique ways you can earn Loyalty Points and sharing some of our top strategies.

That said, I’m not planning to do anything differently right now.

Flights first, spend later

Unlike some of my colleagues who are trying to earn AAdvantage status without stepping foot on a plane, I actually fly quite a bit with American and its partners, including those in the Oneworld alliance and JetBlue.


Video: Airlines mark turbulent start to 2022 with more than 1,800 cancelled flights (CNBC)

Assuming that my flying patterns largely mirror those from 2021, I’ll continue to earn a bulk of my elite-qualifying progress from flights themselves.

This is how many Loyalty Points TPG staffers have earned so far

  This is how many Loyalty Points TPG staffers have earned so far Loyalty Points earned in January and February have finally posted to accounts, and the new metric has finally replaced elite qualifying miles, segments and dollars as the only way to earn elite status with American Airlines. Many TPG staffers have already earned a sizable amount of Loyalty Points by flying, spending on cobranded credit cards …Many TPG staffers have already earned a sizable amount of Loyalty Points by flying, spending on cobranded credit cards and other various earning methods. Remember, you can earn Loyalty Points through a variety of the same ways you’ve earned AAdvantage miles over the years.

Qualifying for top-tier American Airlines status requires 200,000 Loyalty Points. Current Executive Platinum members earn 11x miles (and Loyalty Points) per dollar spent on American flights, meaning that requalifying would require roughly $18,000 in spending, about $3,000 more than it did before the pandemic.

That’s a ton, especially as the pandemic continues to interrupt my travel plans, but it’s not necessarily impossible, especially if you plan to fly discounted premium-cabin itineraries on Oneworld partners.

I doubt I’ll cross the finish line from flights alone, but I won’t start spending on my cobranded AAdvantage card or go out of my way to use the AAdvantage shopping portal (and similar programs) to close the gap right now.

After all, I need to factor in the opportunity cost of the spend (and my time), as well as the fact that I can’t predict what the future will hold.

The opportunity cost

If I started spending on my cobranded American credit card or using the AAdvantage online shopping portal right now, I’d be forgoing spend that I could make elsewhere, both on a different credit and through a different shopping portal.

Sweet Spot Sunday: American Airlines off-peak awards to Europe for 45,000 miles round-trip

  Sweet Spot Sunday: American Airlines off-peak awards to Europe for 45,000 miles round-trip Europe is open for Americans, and the region is gearing up for a busy summer. But if you’re hoping to skip the crowds, it might be in your best interest to opt for a fall trip to Europe. Not only are hotels cheaper and attractions less crowded, but you might also be able to take …Not only are hotels cheaper and attractions less crowded, but you might also be able to take advantage of a special sweet spot award: American Airlines’ 45,000-mile off-peak economy award.

For instance, I’m currently working toward the sign-up bonus for the recently launched Capital One Venture X. After I hit that bonus, I’ll spend on other cards that earn bonus multipliers in different categories, like groceries and dining, which I value more than AAdvantage miles.

The same opportunity cost consideration is true for earning Loyalty Points from non-air and non-card spend. If I started earning AAdvantage miles and Loyalty Points from my hotels, I’d be missing out on earning hotel points (and in some cases, elite-qualifying progress) with my favorite hotel loyalty programs.

Plus, if I shifted to using American’s shopping portals, I wouldn’t be able to use my preferred online shopping portal, Rakuten, for my e-commerce purchases. I accrue much more valuable Amex Membership Rewards from Rakuten, so if the earning rates are similar between AAdvantage eShopping and Rakuten, I’d choose the latter.

Predicting the future

It’s never been easy to predict the future, and that’s especially true these days.

For one, it’s possible that American might ultimately lower the elite-qualifying thresholds due to the pandemic later this year. The airline could also launch limited-time promotions to retain status, just like it did in 2021.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy) © The Points Guy (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

If that’s the case, I’d be especially frustrated if I went out of my way to earn Loyalty Points now. Without a good picture of what the future holds, I think it’s too early to be giving American all of my air and non-air business.

Want to earn Loyalty Points? Here’s why booking through American Airlines Vacations isn’t always best

  Want to earn Loyalty Points? Here’s why booking through American Airlines Vacations isn’t always best With Loyalty Points as the new way of earning American Airlines elite status, TPG wanted to test out how various ways of earning American Airlines miles would post. So, when I saw an American Airlines Vacations promotion offering 20,000 bonus miles at select AMResorts properties in the Dominican Republic earlier this year, I booked. I …So, when I saw an American Airlines Vacations promotion offering 20,000 bonus miles at select AMResorts properties in the Dominican Republic earlier this year, I booked.

I’ll still take advantage of one-off deals

While I won’t be changing my behavior to earn Loyalty Points, I’ll still keep my eyes peeled for one-off deals to boost my balance.

Whether that means earning a boatful of bonus points on Valentine’s Day flowers or purchasing a bonsai tree (or two) for my apartment, I’m still going to play the Loyalty Points game.

I just don’t feel the need to get a head start so early in the first quarter.

Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy.

SPONSORED: With states reopening, enjoying a meal from a restaurant no longer just means curbside pickup.

And when you do spend on dining, you should use a credit card that will maximize your rewards and potentially even score special discounts. Thanks to temporary card bonuses and changes due to coronavirus, you may even be able to score a meal at your favorite restaurant for free.

These are the best credit cards for dining out, taking out, and ordering in to maximize every meal purchase.

--

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

IHG Hotels and Resorts introduces its new IHG One Rewards program .
In January 2022, IHG announced several changes to its elite status tiers. We learned about new tiers, requirements and earning rates that would be implemented in March, although IHG Hotels and Resorts later delayed the implementation to April. IHG also noted that we could expect some changes to its loyalty program later in the year. …IHG also noted that we could expect some changes to its loyalty program later in the year. Today, IHG unveiled its loyalty program changes, including some exciting improvements.

See also