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Last week the miles and points world briefly caught fire due to an American Airlines promo that was supposed to be targeted, but temporarily wasn’t. The promo was a very fast-track to elite status for those who didn’t currently have elite status with American (like me). The promo was truly amazingly generous both in terms of a minimal amount of flying required between September 1, 2013, and December 31, 2013 and the status is good through February 2015! That is a year and a half of status for very little work. The promo was pulled within a few hours as it was meant to be highly targeted, but word is American is honoring it for those who registered before the terms were changed to reflect the targeted nature of the promo.
The promo offered the following elite status levels:
- Gold: with 6,000 elite-qualifying miles flown (instead of 25,000 miles annually)
- Platinum: with 12,000 elite-qualifying miles flown (instead of 50,000 miles annually)
- Executive Platinum: with 30,000 elite-qualifying miles flown (instead of 100,000 miles annually)
Like with most airline elite status programs, the higher up you go, the more perks there are. Those perks can include confirmed and space-available upgrades, increased award availability, waived fees, priority screening and boarding, dedicated elite service lines, and more. I have heard generally nothing but good things from those who have American Airlines Executive Platinum status. I am busting my tail flying United this year to hit their top-tier status (1K), and I still have more miles to fly to get there than if I were starting fresh with this American promo to get top tier status with them, so why am I saying “thank you, but no thank you” to this promo?
My tickets are already planned out for the rest of the year:
While it is possible another flight or two will pop up before the year is done, most of my travel is already booked and paid for through the rest of 2013. That means that almost anything added on top of that would be pure mileage runs for status. I don’t have any more time to add in additional vacations, and even if it were a “work trip”, it would still barely fit in my schedule. The fall and holiday season is busy for families, so there isn’t much time or money left for frivolous things like mileage running. Additionally, I don’t really like the idea of flying just for flying’s sake, so I wouldn’t really want to do it anyway unless the pay-off was really worth it.
Having status in two programs is unnecessary for us:
My family certainly travels more than the average family, but even still there is no need for us to have elite status in two airline programs. We will have it with United, so having it with American as well (while cool), would not really be worth it since we simply don’t fly enough to justify having it. If I lived my life on the road crossing the globe on a weekly basis with a mix of carriers on different alliances that would be a different story, but if that were the case I would likely have that status already.
We won’t fly American enough next year to justify the status:
In addition to not flying enough in general to have elite status with two programs, we also just don’t fly American enough to warrant having elite status with them. We live in what is called a “hub-captive city”. This means that we live in a city with one airline hub, United. Sure American operates a few flights there a day, but to get anywhere other than Dallas, New York, Chicago, or LA, we would have to connect, and that makes family travel much longer and more complicated. While we do sometimes go to those cities, they are mostly on small regional American jets that I really don’t enjoy flying on anyway. I would rather fly on the nicer and larger United planes. I mentioned that most of our 2013 travel is already booked, and frankly at least half of our 2014 travel is already booked as well since we plan pretty far in advance. Simply put, our opportunity to enjoy the perks or the status we would now have with American would be very limited due to our own location, and previously booked travel.
Decide if it makes sense for you:
If you were lucky enough to get registered for this promo before it was pulled, I recommend you going through the same exercise I did by looking at the flight options where you live, the remaining travel you need to book for 2013, and how much you would be able to utilize the status perks in 2014. Just because it is a “good deal” (and it is) doesn’t mean it is a good deal for you.
If you were able to register for this promo in time, I’d love to hear if you decided to go for it and what made you do so!