From Zero to Gold on AA... How to do it as cheaply as possible?

 
Old Apr 8, 02, 11:18 am
  #1  
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From Zero to Gold on AA... How to do it as cheaply as possible?

Hello,

I've heard about some sort of Platinum challenge. Well, I'd be satisfied with Gold.

I'm but a worthless college student looking to earn status with AA.

Could anyone give me some tips on how to do it on the cheap?
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Old Apr 8, 02, 11:53 am
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For AA Gold you will need 5000 Q-points (equal to 10,000 Q-miles) in 90 days. From the Bay Area I've found SJC-LAX-LAS-SAN to be a pretty good way to get Q-points. SJC-SAN is often on sale for $68 rt ($92 after taxes) and will net you 3000 Q-points rt. Do that twice and you'll have Gold (<$200). Four times and you'll have Plat (<$400).

The tricky part is that you need Q-points to qualif. Q-points accumulate at .5 Q-points per miles flown (at economy). One quirk - if you upgrade a domestic itinerary with a VIPOW that will net you 1 Q-point per mile. So all of a sudden, that transcon (2,500 miles) that would have net you 1,250 Q-points will get you 2,500 Q-points. But I find the short flights (<500 miles) to be a better deal with a minimum of 500 Q-points and 500 Q-miles per flight.
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Old Apr 8, 02, 2:42 pm
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Thanks, skylane.

Check your inbox
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Old Apr 8, 02, 3:28 pm
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You'll have to book this through Expedia (multicity option). AA.com doesn't let you do things like this... Best fare right now is ~$120 and you'll need to spend the night in SAN. When Southwest has a fare sale the price will drop.


SJC-LAS
11:20 AM - 12:47 PM
American Airlines 1988

LAS - LAX - SAN
1:35 PM - 4:24 PM
American Airlines 1059 / 3227

SAN - LAS - LAX
3:30 PM - 6:23 PM
American Airlines 3310 / 1236

LAS - SJC
7:10 PM - 8:30 PM
American Airlines 1705
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Old Apr 8, 02, 4:48 pm
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by skylane:


The tricky part is that you need Q-points to qualif. Q-points accumulate at .5 Q-points per miles flown (at economy). One quirk - if you upgrade a domestic itinerary with a VIPOW that will net you 1 Q-point per mile. So all of a sudden, that transcon (2,500 miles) that would have net you 1,250 Q-points will get you 2,500 Q-points. But I find the short flights (&lt;500 miles) to be a better deal with a minimum of 500 Q-points and 500 Q-miles per flight.
</font>
If you upgrade using a VIPOW to C on a 3 class aircraft 2500 miles would net you 3125 Q-points, to A on a 2 class aircraft you would earn 3750 Q-points.
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Old Apr 8, 02, 4:53 pm
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by xTWAnowAAer:
If you upgrade using a VIPOW to C on a 3 class aircraft 2500 miles would net you 3125 Q-points, to A on a 2 class aircraft you would earn 3750 Q-points.</font>
I'm curious about this-- does this apply only to seats upgraded via VIPow-- or does it apply to seats upgraded using a 15KK cert as well?
I'm assuming only VIPow upgrade will garner the extra Q-points?
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Old Apr 8, 02, 5:19 pm
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by JonNYC:
I'm curious about this-- does this apply only to seats upgraded via VIPow-- or does it apply to seats upgraded using a 15KK cert as well?
I'm assuming only VIPow upgrade will garner the extra Q-points?
</font>
Sort of. It's not a benefit we're suppose to receive but it's a side effect.

On purely domestic itinieraries, a VIPOW award upgrades you into full-fare F or J fare class. Instead of crediting you with the original fare class, AA's system will often end up crediting you for the F/J upgraded class.

The same used to be true of the old VIP2 upgrades, which also booked into F/J.

It's just luck, not a guarantee.
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Old Apr 8, 02, 5:40 pm
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Thanks, Plato.
Just to be clear-- a 15kk cert used on a domestic itin. will not have the same "side-effect"? Thanks!
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Old Apr 8, 02, 7:21 pm
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by JonNYC:
Thanks, Plato.
Just to be clear-- a 15kk cert used on a domestic itin. will not have the same "side-effect"? Thanks!
</font>
No, it won't. A domestic mileage upgrade books you into A-class. An 500-mile upgrade books you into X-class.

In both cases, you are not booked into F. That particular honor is reserved for the VIPOW.

On international routes, mileage upgrades book you into C class. But the old VIP2 upgrades booked you into J class. That's how you can end up receiving 1.25 Q-points and the associated bonuses.
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Old Apr 8, 02, 9:59 pm
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Skylane, does your itinerary work in reverse (from SAN). When I tried this in Expedia I got $290!
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Old Apr 8, 02, 11:03 pm
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by imkeww:
Hello,

I've heard about some sort of Platinum challenge. Well, I'd be satisfied with Gold.

I'm but a worthless college student looking to earn status with AA.

Could anyone give me some tips on how to do it on the cheap?
</font>
You can do it, the above posts have told you how, but you should ask if you want to. It's worth doing only if you expect to be able to keep the status in coming years by flying the necessary miles/points/segments. Otherwise, your status will expire in a few months, and they don't like to let you Challenge twice - unless a lot of time goes by in between, or you requalify on your own a few times in between, or you have a really good reason.
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Old Apr 8, 02, 11:04 pm
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Do Golds get VIPows?

Sorry, I'm not familiar with the fAAmily...

If they do... it's time to ask Daddy

Now to get my hands on some VIPows...
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Old Apr 9, 02, 8:49 am
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You get VIPOWs for (a) qualifying or requalifying for Executive Platinum, (b) reaching 2 million lifetime program miles and hence lifetime Platinum. (You may also get them for higher MM multiples; I'm not sure.) You used to be able to swap the eight 500-mile upgrades you got for 1MM (lifetime Gold) for four VIPOWs, but it's my understanding that they stopped doing that.
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Old Apr 9, 02, 10:43 pm
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Skylane, how do I book an SJC run on Expedia? I clicked multicity. Then I ran out of segment blocks before the run got me back to SJC. Price was much higher also (probably because I couldn't get back to pt. of origin). Clearly, I'm doing something wrong. HELP!

Pat

[This message has been edited by PStreet1 (edited 04-09-2002).]
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Old Apr 10, 02, 11:16 am
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Alot of people are trying to book the SAN-LAX-LAS-SJC trip. Here are the secrets.

1. You can't use AA.com - I use Expedia
2. I don't believe the flights are available on the weekend
3. You have to spend the night in SJC
4. There is only one legal set of connections each day (connections &lt; 4hr) that will work. So if one of those flights is sold out...sorry...

To get this to work you need the 11:20 am flight SJC-LAS and something like the 7:30 pm LAS-SJC. The exact flight numbers in my earlier post.

Using Expedia I use the multicity option and select the following legs:

1. SAN-LAS
2. LAS-SJC

For SAN-LAS you want a flight connecting in LAX - not a flight through SJC (that will screw up the routing rules).
For LAS-SJC you want direct (i.e. not back through LAX, once again due to the routing rules).
Once again, you can't have a layover longer than 4 hours in LAS or LAX.
Good luck!
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