They Want Me to Pay How Much for Elite Status?!? (And My Airline Elite Plans for 2017)

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American Airlines Elite Upgrade Offer 2017

American Airlines Elite Upgrade Offer 2017

Towards the end of last year I struggled with what to do with my American Airlines elite status. I had flown enough to qualify for Platinum status in 2017, but figured out that several cheap flights to China would be enough to get back to the much better Executive Platinum level that I enjoyed throughout 2016.

Unfortunately with my reselling business taking off, I simply didn’t have the time to fly to China and back multiple times. In fact, if I had done that I predict it would have cost me much more in lost sales than the price of the tickets. So, I limped into 2017 with the knowledge that I will drop to Platinum in March.

One interesting aspect of the AAdvantage program in 2017 is a new tier called Platinum Pro. It does not come with 4 Systemwide Upgrades like Executive Platinum, but it does come with unlimited domestic upgrades. With Platinum status on the other hand you have to actually spend upgrade certs. It is a nice but domestic upgrades aren’t worth that much. Are they?

Well, American seems to think they are worth Gold. Here is an email I just received from them:

American Airlines Elite Upgrade Offer 2017

Notice that price? Yeah, they want me to pay $1,749 to get domestic upgrades, slightly more mileage earning and an earlier upgrade window. Perhaps the most insulting thing about this is that this offer varies. Earlier today I was perusing through the Travel Hacking 101 Facebook group and found that someone received the same offer, but the price was only $899! I wouldn’t pay that either of course.

Re-Qualifying in 2017

Right now I am actually favoring a strategy of re-qualifying for Executive Platinum in 2017 which would give me status through 2019. It can be done with some cheap flights to China, but this time those flights would net me two years of status. At this point the only hold up is EQDs, but I think I’ll be able to get enough of those through partner business class flights. If not, I guess I’ll become a free agent in 2018.


No one should pay $1,749 to upgrade to a status that is slightly better. Yes, the upgrades are better, but Platinum gives me Main Cabin Extra ahead of time and I earn 500 mile certs as well so I can upgrade if/when it is important. Overall, I am unimpressed with just about everything about American Airlines, so I won’t be paying.

Have you received a similar offer? What was the price? Feel free to share in the comments!

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  1. I fly to the Baltics often, so when it comes to award availability – United has it way much better. On AA, Finnair is the only good option for me, but checking now I see absolutely no availability in coach (ridiculous) and a couple of fares in business (routing via HEL).

  2. When I first started the collecting points, I thought that an airline status should be a goal. However, I’ve concluded for me that it doesn’t seem worth the effort. My normal route to NYC is on a regional jet. So there is little value of a first class upgrade. On longer flights, it seems that the first class seats have either been purchased, redeemed or up upgraded by others with points or cash. Also, American to me is mostly useless for international travel to Europe since American doesn’t seem to want you to redeem American points for those flights in business or first class. It is happen to have you redeem them on British Airways, where the fuel surcharges are more in total that the cost of a business ticket on say Norwegian.

    The only bright spot I have found is Finnair using American miles.

  3. My EXP status expires in January/18… Can I technically re-qualify in January of 2018 (flying in premium cabins on partner airlines) while I still have status and access to all the benefits and then have status extended through the end of January 2020? 2020, time flies…

  4. Dropped from Plat to gold for 2016, and now don’t have status starting Feb 28. Offered gold for $699. Recently started flying Delta with no status and experience was much better than AA with status (and 12 years of loyalty)….


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