How To Status Challenge With American Airlines [In-depth Guide]

Having airline status can result in a seat with a little more legroom. Image Credit: American Airlines

Who Is Eligible for an American Airlines AAdvantage Status Challenge?

Anyone who wants to obtain status with American Airlines can request to participate in a status challenge. Having status with another airline’s frequent flyer program or having upcoming flights booked with American is not required.

In order to participate in a status challenge with American, you cannot currently hold status you’ve earned from a previous AAdvantage challenge.

The Advantages of Gold or Platinum Status

If you have upcoming trips planned on American, signing up for a status challenge can make sense, since you’ll receive plenty of benefits. For example, here are the benefits of the middle and lowest tier:

AAdvantage Gold AAdvantage Platinum
  • Award processing charge waived
  • Complimentary same-day standby
  • Complimentary upgrades on flights 500 miles or less
  • 24-hour upgrade window
  • 40% elite mileage bonus
  • Complimentary Preferred seats
  • 1 free checked bag
  • Award processing charge waived
  • Complimentary same-day standby
  • Complimentary upgrades on flights 500 miles or less
  • Oneworld business class lounge access internationally
  • 48-hour upgrade window
  • 60% elite mileage bonus
  • Complimentary Main Cabin Extra and Preferred seats
  • 2 free checked bags

Additional benefits include priority airport check-in and security, priority boarding, and discounted Admirals Club membership.

How the American Airlines Advantage Status Challenge Works

American Airlines does not publish a formal status challenge program — it changes based on the person enrolling. With that said, we know a lot about the program from data points of flyers who have requested and/or completed a status challenge.

You will have to pay a fee to participate in the status challenge, and then incur an additional cost if you want to enjoy status during the challenge. Some flyers may be targeted for a free status match.

Subsequently, you’ll need to earn enough Loyalty Points within a 4-month period.

What status you’re striving for all depends on how many Loyalty Points you earn in the first part of this promotion. Once you enroll, you’re given 4 months to earn as many Loyalty Points as you can, either by flying, spending on an eligible credit card, or any other means.

When you enroll, you’ll be given whatever tier you enroll under upfront, meaning you can enjoy the benefits immediately. To keep that status for an additional 4 months (so, 8 in total) you need to earn as follows:

  • AAdvantage Gold needs 10,000 Loyalty Points
  • AAdvantage Platinum needs 25,000 Loyalty Points
  • AAdvantage Platinum Pro needs 42,000 Loyalty Points
  • AAdvantage Executive Platinum needs 67,000 Loyalty Points

If you earn the required amount of points, you’ll be allowed to keep that status for 4 additional months. During that second 4-month period, you’ll need to earn a second amount of Loyalty Points, similar to the amount in the first phase. Do that, and you’ll be allowed to keep your status for an additional 4 months (a total of 1 year). To keep status for the following year, you’ll need to earn the third phase of Loyalty Points, likely equal to those in the first 2 phases.

If you want a high tier of status, you need to earn that amount of Loyalty Points during the first phase, as you won’t be able to “increase” your status during the second or third phases, however, you will be given a soft landing to a lower tier if you don’t quite make the Loyalty Points of the status you’re aiming for.

The status challenge is all based on Loyalty Points, so theoretically you never need to step foot on a plane to complete this challenge. For Gold, you could spend $10,000 on an eligible American Airlines co-brand credit card and still complete the challenge that way. Of course, you can also fly to earn Loyalty Points as well.


The 17 Best Ways To Earn AAdvantage Loyalty Points [2022]

How To Submit a Status Challenge Request

The easiest way to enroll will be to call AAdvantage customer service at 800-882-8880. Your American app may also show an enrollment option under the promotions section, though certain flyers will be targeted for various things, so you may want to call AAdvantage to see your full offerings.

There may be a cost to enroll, and typically in years past, this was around $200. This time around, American hasn’t published any specific costs, and this will vary greatly on your history, what status you’re going for, and other demographics.

Bottom Line: While we know the general parameters of the status challenge with American Airlines, you’ll need to contact AAdvantage customer service to confirm your personal offer.

Enhancing Your New Elite Status

Complimentary Admirals Club lounge access can be a lifesaver during a hectic trip. Image Credit: American Airlines

Once you’ve completed your status challenge and continue to fly on American Airlines, you may want to elevate your elite status to an even higher level with an American Airlines AAdvantage-branded credit card, such as the Citi®/AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®.

With the AAdvantage Executive World Elite card, you’ll enjoy VIP treatment and benefits, including:

  • A free checked bag for you and up to 8 travel companions on domestic itineraries
  • Priority check-in, boarding, and security screening for the primary cardholder
  • $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit every 5 years
  • 25% off inflight food and beverage purchases

AAdvantage frequent flyer miles add up quickly because of the generous sign-up bonus and the fact you’ll be earning double miles on American Airlines purchases.

This Citi card serves as a perfect compliment to having elite status, but you’ll want to review all the best American Airlines AAdvantage-branded credit cards to see which is a fit for you.

Bottom Line: If you travel frequently on American Airlines and want valuable perks and lounge access, the AAdvantage Executive World Elite card is an obvious choice for benefits far beyond elite status. 

Everything Else You Need To Know

Here are a few more details to be aware of before you get started on your status challenge:

  • There are no refunds once you’ve paid for an AAdvantage status challenge.
  • If you sign up for a higher tier status challenge but only earn the requirements for a lower tier, you’ll be soft-landed to the lower tier.
  • If you sign up for a lower-tier status challenge, but along the way earn a higher amount of Loyalty Points that would normally qualify you for a higher tier, you won’t be able to enjoy a higher status, so it’s important you enroll in the correct challenge up front and then immediately earn the required points for that higher tier right away.
  • AAdvantage Customer Service is open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. CST Monday through Friday and can be reached at 800-882-8880.
  • The American Airlines AAdvantage status challenge in this article is different from other challenge offers elite frequent flyers may receive at year-end — and it’s also different from challenge offers received by those holding certain credit cards.
  • American Airlines AAdvantage partners with the World of Hyatt hotel loyalty program, offering targeted elite status challenges. Check your email or call AAdvantage/World of Hyatt to find out if you have been targeted.

Final Thoughts

Before you jump into a status challenge, you’ll want to make sure the cost is worth it. There are some cases where it may make sense, including if:

  • You have upcoming flights with American Airlines and would like to enjoy better seating, priority boarding, free checked bags, etc.
  • You are switching airlines and plan to continue earning status in subsequent years.

If you do plan to continue flying with American Airlines and go on to qualify for elite status, you’ll want to review the annual requirements.

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