Renew Elite Status from American, for a Price
If you fell short of earning elite status during 2011—25,000 elite-qualifying miles (EQMs) or 30 elite-qualifying segments (EQSs) during the calendar year for Gold; 50,000 EQMs or 60 EQSs for Platinum—American is offering you a chance to close the gap after the fact.
For a price, naturally.
American AAdvantage members who held elite status during 2011 (based on 2010 activity) but failed to qualify for 2012 status (based on 2011 activity) can buy elite status for 2012 between January 26 and April 30. During that time, a dedicated website will be available to eligible program members.
There are four price points, depending on members' status and elite-qualifying activity during 2011, as follows:
- Gold elites with fewer than 20,000 EQMs or 24 EQSs during 2011 can purchase 2012 Gold status for $559.
- Gold elites with more than 20,000 EQMs or 24 EQSs during 2011 can purchase 2012 Gold status for $409.
- Platinum elites with fewer than 40,000 EQMs or 48 EQSs during 2011 can purchase 2012 Platinum status for $769.
- Platinum elites with more than 40,000 EQMs or 48 EQSs during 2011 can purchase 2012 Platinum status for $619.
To be eligible for the pay-to-renew service, AAdvantage members must have flown at least two EQSs during 2011.
Deal or No Deal
As is always the case with status-for-sale offers, the value ultimately depends on the frequency and duration of your upcoming flights. If you're planning a significant number of longish flights between now and February 28, 2013 (when 2012 status ends), elite perks may be worth paying for. Otherwise you may be overpaying.
Muddying the waters somewhat is American's bankruptcy, which injects an element of uncertainty into any calculation of the value of future benefits. At the very least, American's route network will be pared back somewhat, to reduce costs. Another scenario: American is acquired by Delta or US Airways, in which case your status would transfer to one of those airlines' programs. Worst case: If American were dismantled and its parts sold off piecemeal, elite perks would be meaningless.
My best guess is that any AAdvantage elite status purchased today would still be viable a year from now, but there are no guarantees.
Reader Reality Check
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This article originally appeared on FrequentFlier.com.