If you’re like me and travel a great deal for work, you’re probably a frequent flyer on American Airlines.
If so, you need to learn the secret of the AA Gold and Platinum Challenges.
I say secret because AA doesn’t openly promote this great money saving plan.
This is basically a fast track to the Gold or Platinum level of memberships in their frequent flyer program.
Which can both save you a lot of time and money when flying. This can literally mean thousands of free airline miles.
How The Gold and Platinum Challenges Work
To get signed up for the program, call AAdvantage customer service at +1 800 421 0600. When you get to a service rep, ask to be signed up for the Challenge.
You’ll be asked to declare a date you’d like the challenge to begin the challenge. You’ll have 90 days from that date to earn 10,000 points (not miles…see the fine print in the email below) for the Platinum level.
I’m Taking The Platinum Challenge
I just signed myself up as I’ll be making two international trips for work this fall which should put me at the Platinum level by the end of the year.
That means all of next year, and until February of the next, I’ll be earning double miles on all my trips. Not to mention I’ll be going to the front of the line when traveling and enjoying several other perks.
An Email Directly from American Airlines Regarding the Challenge
Here’s the email from American Airlines regarding the program:
As discussed, we have put you on a Challenge for AAdvantage Platinum membership.
Congratulations – and Good Luck!
Here are some helpful tips:
- Remember that Challenges are based on points, not miles, and your goal is 10,000 points in the three-month period we discussed. If you’re not sure how you earn points, read on. (That’s why you wanted this email, right?)
- Be sure to fly AA (we know you want to anyway!) since only points earned on American Airlines, American Eagle and AmericanConnection flights (including AA codeshare flights operated by other carriers) count toward Challenges.
- Select fares with high point values. If, for example, you use Deep Discount Fares, get ready to fly 20,000 miles because those fares earn points at half the rate of miles. But if you buy Discount Fares, the rate is one point per mile and you can meet your Challenge by flying 10,000 elite-qualifying miles. And if you select premium fares, you earn 1.5 points per mile and can meet the Challenge by flying just – OK, you do the math!
- Know the point values you’ll earn for the booking codes you select. Yes it may look like alphabet soup, but there’s a point to these codes. In fact, there’s anywhere from .5 – 1.5 points!
- Earn 1.5 points per mile when the purchased fare on your American Airlines ticket is booked in one of these booking codes: A F P D I J B Y
- Earn 1.0 point per mile for these AA booking codes: H K L M V W
- Earn .5 points per mile for these AA booking codes: G N O* Q** S (sorry, you knew there had to be an asterisk somewhere)
- How can you determine what booking code is used for the fare you’re purchasing? Simply ask the booking agent, whether that’s your travel agent, corporate travel planner or AA Reservations representative. Or, even better, when you book your flights on AA.com, the Flight Summary screen displays the booking code in the same column as the cabin booked.
A Challenge is intended for members who are in a hurry to get to the elite level they desire. Think of it as a shortcut to the status you would probably earn on your own during the normal 12-month qualification period.
Indeed, members cannot earn their elite status by fulfilling a Challenge two years in a row, so when it comes time to re-qualify, please be prepared to meet the normal criteria. We know you can do it.
Now here are those pesky but important footnotes:
*O — only eligible domestic fares booked in O will count
**Q — excludes transatlantic fares booked in Q
For more details on the program, visit Challenge (AA) – FlyerGuide Wiki where they discuss the new fees attached to the program.
25,000 Frequent Flier Miles Guaranteed
To make the most of your frequent flier program efforts, I recommend you check out a guide by Chris Guillebeau: Frequent Flyer Master. If you get it he guarantees you will get at least 25,000 frequent flier miles, enough for a round trip domestic US ticket.