American Airlines hasn’t had an ongoing status match or challenge program since launching Loyalty Points as the new way to earn status, where most AAdvantage activity counts and no longer just flights.
However they’ve brought back status challenges, called Instant Status Pass, and these will now be based on how many Loyalty Points you earn (whether from credit card spend, online shopping etc.) and not just how many trips you take.
- Receive instant elite status good for 4 months
- Earn enough Loyalty Points in those 4 months to keep it for another 4 months
- Then earn enough Loyalty Points in those next 4 months to keep it not just for the following 4 months, but for the rest of the following member year.
Some members will have offers in the Promotions tab of their account automatically (with 30 days to register), this week or at times in the future. However challenges can be requested by calling AAdvantage Customer Service at 800-882-8880.
Here’s what earning during the first four months of the challenge will mean for the status you can generate. Basically, it’s the annual Loyalty Points requirement divided by three.
• Members can only aim for a higher status at the end of Phase 1, but not following phases.
• If a member is on a challenge for a higher tier, say Platinum Pro, and they don’t quite reach the requirements in one phase, but they do for the tier below, say Gold, they will have a ‘soft fall’ in place to still help them achieve Gold status through the rest of the challenge.
The second four month requirement may vary by member, but it also sounds like going above and beyond what’s required in one period will roll over to help meet the requirements during the next period. So someone enrolled in a Gold challenge that earns more than 10,000 Loyalty Points in the first four months would have a head start on requirements during the second four months.
After completing each four month milestone members will receive an email describing the next four-month challenge.
Some members will receive fee-free offers to register, but fees won’t be waived for everyone. This mirrors how status challenges have worked at American in the past, since these were often fee-based.
American has occasionally still targeted flight-based status challenges and intermittently offers status challenge opportunities to Hyatt elites.
Status matches ultimately drive a profitability strategy. They aren’t just a way to make it easier for profitable customers to switch brands. After a status match the program is focal, and the customer highly motivated. Status matches generate incremental business for American Airlines.
And while I find the process of earning the second four months of status during the first four, and the third four months of status during the second four, to be somewhat convoluted I also get the impetus. They’re trying to keep people engaged so that engagement by high value customers becomes the norm and carries forward past the status period. It will be interesting to see whether the level of complexity is too clever by half, but it will also be a good opportunity for many to earn American AAdvantage status (note: it’s no longer called ‘elite’ status).American Airlines hasn’t had an ongoing status match or challenge program since launching Loyalty Points as the new way to earn status, where most AAdvantage activity counts and no longer just flights.