Short of Renewing AAdvantage Elite Status For Next Year? “Boost” or Renew — But…

Why embark on an exhausting and time-consuming “mileage run” in an attempt to reach the next level of elite status next year when you can simply either “boost” or “renew” instead?

This is what American Airlines is offering those AAdvantage frequent flier loyalty program members who already currently have elite level status in 2013 but are short of their goal of attaining elite level status for 2014 — but this comes at a price: no more “soft landings”, which allows someone to automatically only “fall” to one elite status level below for next year what he or she currently has for this year. For example, in previous years, if you hold Executive Platinum elite level status in the AAdvantage frequent flier loyalty program for 2013 but did not qualify for elite level status for next year, you automatically received a “soft landing” to Platinum elite level status even if you did not qualify — but now you will simply have no elite level status for next year. This, of course, is known as a “hard landing” — and for some FlyerTalk members, that can hurt.

Starting in January of 2014 and active through May 31, 2014, you have to pay to renew your elite level status or “boost” to the next level of elite level status:

  • Boost: For the first time ever, if you end the year close to AAdvantage Executive Platinum, Platinum, or Gold elite level status but do not quite reach it, you can boost to the next level.
  • Renew: If you are an elite level status member in 2013 but are not able to retain your status by the end of the year, you are eligible for a status renewal.

 

Here is the flow chart from the official Internet web site of American Airlines illustrating both methods of elevating your elite level status for 2014 and the costs, depending on your current level of elite status:

FlyerTalk members are divided: some are not impressed and feel that this is a way of turning the “soft landing” into a money-making endeavor; while others like the idea of not having to embark on a “mileage run” and can just simply buy their way to elite level status for next year.

I have never undertaken a pure “mileage run.” What I do instead is take interestingly strange and convoluted routes to get to an actual destination — such as going from Huntsville to Oakland by way of Anchorage or going from Atlanta to San Diego through London. I actually had to be in San Diego and San Francisco — I would not have wanted to turn around and simply take a flight back to my starting point — and I spent five days in London as a bonus. People think I am crazy, but I pack much of my flying to within a week — giving me time throughout the remainder of the year to do other things.

Whether or not it is worth purchasing your way towards elite level status for next year is simply a value proposition for you: if you do not plan on flying on American Airlines much in 2014, then it may not be worth it to you. Are the benefits you will enjoy in the respective elite status level worth the money you spend? Is it better to embark on a “mileage run” because it costs less — but then, how much do you value your time?

Remember that you will have your current elite level status through February 28, 2014, so you have time to think about whether or not it is worth it to you; and if you do decide to renew or “boost” your elite level status for 2014, it will remain in effect through February 28, 2015.

As for this offer, I will skip it. Due to the various factors involved, I cannot give you a definitive recommendation as to what you should do if you want to qualify for elite level status in the American Airlines AAdvantage frequent flier loyalty program — but think about what your return on your investment would be if you spent hundreds of dollars to renew or “boost” your elite level status for 2014.

Terms and conditions apply pertaining to the offer for you to renew or “boost“ your elite level status for next year.

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