Why I’m Saying Thanks, But No Thanks to the Awesome American Airlines Promo

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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!

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  1. Signed up. I think I could easily get to Gold, possibly Platinum. Highly doubt EXP is an option. I am excited about this, though.

    I am going to go for it because most of my flying for the year is still in front of me. I have DL Silver secured for next year. I travel only for pleasure, never business and the best I ever hit was DL Gold. In the wake of Delta once again beating the dead carcass that is its Skymiles program, I can’t think of a better opportunity to move more of my flight spending to a more rewarding program, with a much, much more valuable mileage currency.

    Delta just makes it hard to justify flying them for a points/miles enthusiast.

  2. I signed up for it and will pursue it. I live in an AA “cornerstone” (LA) and EXP would be great out of here. I’ve already gotten Delta Platinum+ out of the way thanks to Amex and my 24.9K of rollever last year. I will soon complete the United Platinum challenge I signed up for in June (which I’m semi-regretting now but might as well finish it with a cheap $105 LA-NYC one-way fare to have flexibility with my United miles until 1/2015).

    I’m anticipating heavy travel in Fall but just don’t know where yet (interviews). I have a bunch of fixed-value points to burn, so might as well use them on paid AA fares.

    I’ll have 3 statuses next year, and will let the airlines duke it out to see who gets my business. Like I said, living in LA has its perks since every airline has good service out of here. Only drawback is AA doesn’t serve my secondary airport at BUR.

    What I like about all the statuses I’ll have (Delta PM, United Plat, AA EXP) is that all allow great flexibility with burning miles and that’s probably the 1 thing about elite status that I really love – not having to pay change/cancel fees on awards.

  3. Cory, good luck going for Gold or Platinum! Sounds like perfect timing for you.
    Amol, there are some benefits to living in markets with options for sure. I’m totally with you on enjoying protection from award fees with status for sure. Enjoy your status trifecta!

  4. I’d be going for AA status, UA continues to devalue, expect next year them doing everything they can to get ppl back so go for AA now.

  5. I did an AA elite challenge about 5 years ago and I didn’t need a promo code. I thought it was always one of those unwritten promos and you had to call in to request this. Has this now all changed?

  6. This is a typical promo for this time of year. They know a certain segment has no chance of qualifying or re-qualifying, but sure is keen to.

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