American Airlines is offering their frequent flyers an incentive to remain loyal. Fly more and you can choose your reward: upgrades, status, or miles.
Which one should you choose? Here’s an analysis of the options and which one is the best choice.
Choose Your Reward: Upgrades, Status, or Miles
American Airlines is offering Executive Platinum members who earn 300,000 Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) by December 31, 2018, a choice of:
- 2 systemwide upgrades
- Gift Platinum status
- 40,000 miles
All Executive Platinum members qualify for this offer and registration is not required.
Only paid flights earn EQMs. Credit card signup bonuses, miles earned from American Airlines credit cards, and miles earn from partner bonuses don’t earn EQMs.
1. 2 Systemwide Upgrades
Systemwide upgrades are confirmed upgrades on American Airlines and American Eagle flights. You can use a systemwide upgrade for one-way travel on flights of up to three segments anywhere that American Airlines flies, including internationally.
They have to be used before or on their expiration date. You can give them to someone even if they aren’t flying with you.
It’s become much harder for systemwide upgrades to clear, it’s may not worth the cost to earn 300,000 EQMs. It might be cheaper to pay for First Class or Business Class seat.
Pro-tip: Save time and use ExpertFlyer to check and set an alert for flights with available award seats and upgrades.
2. Gift Platinum Status
If your partner or travel companion doesn’t have status, it could be worth gifting them Platinum status.
As a Platinum member they get:
- Free 500 mile upgrades
- 60% mileage bonus on paid tickets
- Free Main Cabin Extra and Preferred seats
- 2 free checked bags
Gifted status posts within 30 days and is value through January 31, 2020.
Pro-tip: This would be a good option for families if your employer pays for your tickets. Because American Airlines elite members can upgrade a travel companion using their 500 mile upgrades. A family of four could fly in Business Class or First Class for the price of a coach ticket (even if they used miles). Plus you’d have a total of 5 free checked bags (3 as an Executive Platinum and 2 as a Platinum), not counting the free checked bags if you have an American Airlines credit card.
If you buy your tickets, it’s cheaper for your partner/travel companion to earn Platinum status. Your partner can get Platinum status after earning 50,000 EQM. Whereas, it would cost you 300,000 EQM to earn the ability to gift them status.
3. 40,000 Miles
Of the three choices, the 40,000 miles offers the most flexibility because they don’t expire (unless you don’t have any qualifying activity within 18 months) and can be used to fly on American Airlines and Oneworld partner airlines.
Here are a few ways you could use 40,000 miles:
- Three one-way flights in the US (except Alaska & Hawaii)
- Roundtrip flight to the Caribbean, Mexico, or South America
- A one-way First Class ticket to Hawaii
- One-way coach ticket to the South Pacific or Asia
Pro-tip: You earn EQM faster when flying paid First Class or Business Class on Oneworld airlines.
If you earn 300,000 Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) on American Airlines or Oneworld partner airlines, you can choose your reward: upgrades, status, or miles.
Upgrades are harder to clear so the 2 systemwide upgrades might not be worth it. If your employer pays for your flights, gifting a partner Platinum status could save you money on upgrades and checked bag fees especially for families. Extra miles are always nice, so choosing the 40,000 miles could be the best choice.
What reward would you choose? upgrades, status, or miles?
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