American Airline’s AAdvantage Gold and Platinum Challenge

American Airlines AAdvantage Gold and Platinum Challenge

Have you taken the AA gold challenge?

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, 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.

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  1. castroneves says:

    the lady on the customer service said to me that gold challenge cannot upgrade from economic to business on a south america international flight.
    is that true!?

  2. Hi what about booking code: N?   I have an international trip that should rack up $15000 miles and I was hoping to use it as my challenge.  Now I’m just wondering what the code N stands for since it isn’t on your list of qualifying codes.  Thanks!

  3. if i sign up for the platinum challenge, do i receive the 100% mileage bonus and oneworld lounge access while in the mist of the challenge?

    • Philip Taylor says:

      I don’t think so. You have to complete the entire challenge before you receive any benefit.

  4. Many people will be reluctant to do the platinum challenge if they only fly a large number of short flights as it is really tough to get there 500 points a pop but it is a no brainer. American granted me Gold status immediately for the remainder of the year and all of the following year by choosing the platinum challenge and you will easily get platinum through segments. Might as well get priority boarding and security lines for $240 now.

  5. Just don’t try this on a flight where an AA exec, his family, a retired exec or one of his family members strolls up to the counter at the last minute and shoves you out of your seat.

  6. I did this back in 1999 when I took my first road warrior job. I had platinum status with 3 back to back flights from Nashville to San Jose in under 30 days. Leveraging an AA credit card and flying 75K – 100K miles a year for 10 years, I ended up hitting the coveted 2M lifetime miles mark – Platinum for life. My wife and I in 2003 took a trip from LA to Vietnam and I signed my wife up for the Platinum challenge. With one trip, she scored Platinum from 2003 – 2004 and then Gold from 2004 – 2005.

  7. New # 800-882-8880 90d to earn 5000 pts for Gold non-refund fee $100; or eanr 10000 pts for Platinum non-refund fee $200. Points have to be on AA flight numbered ticket NOT partner.

  8. Hey, great tip Andy. Have to keep that in mind.

  9. Excellent post and in my frequent flying days I definetly would have taken advantage of this program. Seems to be good to be true as a full fare ticket (which it will normally be it work pays) to Asia or Australia will get you this.

    Nowadays with a young family, travelling for work is off the agenda. Not too worried as flying is not much fun anymore.

    A trick I still use for holiday travel is to keep my old united premier status card. Even though it has expired I can still use it to get to the front of the security lines (at UA hubs) and save a lot of time.