If you follow me on twitter you might have seen that I was all abuzz about the American Airlines Elite Challenge yesterday. I cannot believe I have never heard of this before. It’s not advertised and it seems to be a bit of a secret. Even when I called American they seemed a bit elusive about the details. But, I got the details and now I’m sharing. This is amazing for anyone who travels a lot on American or any of their One World Alliance partners. I’m pretty annoyed because we are flying to Asia in a couple of weeks and I could have easily knocked this out on that one flight. However, since I just found out about the challenge it seems as though our flights were not booked with a certain codeshare. So, I can’t use the miles towards the challenge. We will already be elite Gold for the year, but Platinum would be way better! Anyway…here’s the deal:
Basically the challenge is a fast track to elite status on American Airlines – elite status gets you free baggage check, different/quicker security line, automatic upgrades which leads to free booze and warm cookies (see above), etc. This is great if you know you are taking a long trip or several trips in a 3 month period.
Here’s how the challenge works:
-You must have an American Airlines Advantage account. Then call the Advantage customer service (1-800-882-8880) and tell them you want to participate in the Elite Challenge. You have 90 days from the day you start the challenge to get either 5,000 points to get Gold status or 10,000 points to get Platinum status (if you don’t do the challenge you must get 25,000 or 50,000 points respectively in one year to get elite status). Points and miles are roughly the same thing but it has to do with the ticketing code so you should double-check with American for the exact points per flight.
-You pay $120 for the Gold challenge, and $200 for the Platinum challenge.
-If you are going to fly on a One World Alliance partner you must call international reservations first and make sure you get a codeshare so that the miles will count towards your American miles.
You can read more about it here – one of the very few articles about this program on the web. If you fly a lot with American it really is worth it to be “elite” – I know it shouldn’t be this way but they really do treat you better and that’s always nice when it comes to travel. I’ll be looking for you in first-class after we get those automatic upgrades!!