AA Gold – photo credit Michael Coté on Flickr
As in previous years, American is offering AAdvantage Elite members that have failed to re-qualify for status a chance to preserve their AAdvantage level and the benefits that go along with that status: upgrades to first class, Priority AAcces, a free checked luggage allowance, access to oneworld partner lounges when traveling internationally, better seating, and bonus AAdvantage miles for travel. This is from the page on the American website:
Enjoy another full year of elite status by renewing your AAdvantage Platinum or AAdvantage Gold membership for a one-time charge, extending your status through February 29, 2012.
Members who have made more progress toward elite status requalification during 2010 will benefit from lower prices to extend their status. AAdvantage Platinum members who earn at least 40,000 elite qualifying miles or points (or 48 qualifying segments), and AAdvantage Gold members who earn at least 20,000 elite qualifying miles or points (or 24 qualifying segments) during 2010 qualify for lower prices.
|40,000 Miles or Points or 48 Segments||Less than 40,000 Miles and Points and less than 48 Segments|
|20,000 Miles or Points or 24 Segments||Less than 20,000 Miles and Points and less than 24 Segments|
All current AAdvantage Platinum and AAdvantage Gold members who earned their 2010 elite status are eligible to participate in this offer provided they have flown at least one elite qualifying segment during 2010. Members may only pay to renew their 2011 status at the same elite level they earned for the 2010 membership year. Members who participated in the 2010 renewal offer are not eligible to extend their status for the 2011 membership year.
By renewing your AAdvantage Platinum or AAdvantage Gold membership, you’ll continue to receive the many benefits you’ve come to enjoy as an American Airlines AAdvantage elite status frequent traveler.
Flight bonuses, a 500-minimum mileage guarantee on most flights, and Priority AAccess privileges at check-in counters, security screening areas and boarding gates will enhance your travel experience. Upgrade privileges, earned upgrades and complimentary upgrades** help make your travel more comfortable and enjoyable. And waived checked baggage charges^ and waived AAdvantage Award processing charges make your benefits even more valuable.
Through this offer, eligible members can ensure their elite status remains valid through February 29, 2012.
How to Accept the Offer?
The opportunity to renew AAdvantage Platinum and AAdvantage Gold membership will be available from January 26, 2011, through April 30, 2011. Effective January 26, 2011, eligible AAdvantage members will have access to a dedicated website that will provide detailed instructions on how to renew their AAdvantage elite status. During the entire timeframe that membership renewal is ongoing, eligible members will be able to select a “Renew Now” button to go directly to the site and complete their renewal transaction.
If you’re an AAdvantage Executive Platinum member you’re out of luck. There’s only one way to maintain such exalted status, and that’s to earn it the hard way. In the past American has quietly offered Executive Platinum members that failed to re-qualify for status a “soft landing” as a courtesy and given them Platinum status. No word as to whether or not that will continue. I can only imagine the shock to the system that someone who has enjoy Executive Platinum status might endure if they were immediately return to a non-status level: $6 dollar beer, $7 Pringles, and $30 checked baggage fees. Some might even be surprised to learn that an airplane has more than eight rows of seats.
I didn’t make it to Platinum in 2010: I fell about 17,000 miles short of re-qualifying. Fortunately, I’ll at least be a lowly AAdvantage Gold member will still be able to enjoy upgrades (though they’ll be a little harder to get now that I’m lower in the upgrade list), free checked luggage, and bonus miles (though I’m REALLY going to miss the 100% Bonus AAdvantage Miles and will have to live with the 50% bonus instead).
I’d definitely participate in the Buy-Back offer if I had failed to qualify for at least AAdvantage Gold. The checked baggage allowance alone would make it worthwhile to spend the money. Rather than buy back my Platinum status, I think I’ll spend the money on a trip to Seoul, Delhi, or Honk Kong and try to re-qualify for Platinum later this year and for 2012.