9 Mileage Running Tips for Fast Track Status and AAdvantage Elite Rewards


Did you manage to register for American’s Fast Track Elite Status offer?  Or are you already an AAdvantage Elite and looking to earn some extra miles to earn an AAdvantage Elite Rewards bonus?

Here are 9 tips to help you take advantage of fare deals and find mileage run opportunities.

1 – Know the Rules

If you’re pursuing Fast Track Status remember this:

• You need to earn Elite Qualifying MIles (EQM) not Elite Qualifying Points (EQP)
• Most (but not all) travel on partners will qualify
• Travel must occur September 1 and beyond.

For your reference, here are the terms and conditions for the AAdvantage Fast Track to Status offer:

Elite-Status Offer Terms and Conditions

Screenshot of American Airlines Fast Track Elite Status Offer

Eligible airlines include American Airlines, American Eagle, American Connection carrier, British Airways, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines and Qantas flights, as well as eligible codeshare flights.

AAdvantage elite-status membership received through this offer is valid through February 28, 2015. Upon reaching the required elite-qualifying miles threshold, your AAdvantage elite status membership benefits will take effect immediately.

Your new membership credentials will be mailed to you within four to six weeks after qualification.

Applies to base miles earned on eligible, purchased, published fare tickets on select airlines for travel between September 1, 2013, and December 31, 2013.

Select each airline name to learn more about qualifying fares for that carrier:  American Airlines, American Eagle, American Connection carriers, British Airways, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines and Qantas.

Bonus miles do not count toward elite status qualification.

2 – The Flight Deal

The team at The Flight Deal tracks fares from each of American’s cornerstone markets and several other cities. What makes them different from many other fare tracking sites is that they look for value and not just a low price. They only publish deals that are priced at 6 cents per mile or better.

Subscribe to their Daily Deals Newsletter for great mileage run fares like this recent $271 round-trip fare between Boston and Anchorage.

Follow their website for great deals like this $702 fare from LAX to China.

Some of these fares are very short lived and available for just a couple of hours. Follow @TheFlightDeal on Twitter so that you don’t miss out on any of them.

3 – Fare Deal Alert

The Flight Deal folks also track deals from some of American’s secondary markets on their separate Fare Deal Alert website.  Follow @FareDealAlert on Twitter to find travel deals from Atlanta, Charlotte, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, Orlando, and San Diego.

4 – FareCompare

The online airfare comparison-shopping site FareCompare offers several travel tools including their online Where-to-Go Getaway Map.  Just plug in your starting point, select American Airlines, and adjust the slider to see a display of destinations and fares from your city.

FareCompare Where to Go Getaway Map


5 – Google Flights

Just like FareCompare, Google Flights lets you visualize destinations and fares.

Google Flights Map


6 – FlyerTalk

Keep an eye on the FlyerTalk Mileage Run forums.

7 – MileCalc

Use a site like MileCalc to help you calculate miles and plan your travel.

milecalc - frequent flyer mileage calculator

8 – ITA Software and Chipmunk

The problem with a cheap fare is that it can be a challenge to find availability and a challenge to book.

Use ITA Matrix to help you plan complex routings and locate availability.

ITA Software Matrix Flight Planning and Fare Search Tool

And then after you find your awesome fare that allows you to make multiple connections and earn thousands of extra miles, go to Hipmunk to book it.

AA.com is designed to help you find the most convenient flights, not the ones that will earn you the most miles.  Hipmunk supports a limited set of ITA commands and will allow you to book most of the itineraries you find on ITA Matrix

The Flight Deal offers an excellent tutorial.

9 – Transcon Routes

Flights between JFK/LAX, JFK/SFO, MIA/LAX, and JFK/SEA, and BOS/LAX earn lots of miles and it’s usually pretty easy to find a cheap fare on at least one of these routes.  Consider a positioning flight to one of these cities.  With some back-to-back runs you can earn 10,000 – 12,000 miles in a weekend!

American Airlines Flight 177

Top Photo: Advice
Credit: Laughlin Elkind on Flickr

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    1. @ karung99 – Thanks for the comment!

      With just 15k to reach that next milestone (and 2 SWUs or 30k miles), I would be tempted, but if you’re already on track to earn 110, finding the time for the extra miles can be the challenge.

      Good luck and safe travels!

  1. How does #4 work? I tried filtering only American Airlines and it still show other airline prices.. And another quick question; I’m @ 51k miles so far and will be flying 20k miles up to October, so do you think its worth it to fly another 5k to get the 2nd milestone? If so, which one should I get, 20k extra miles or 1SWU or? And how about the first milestone, which reward do you think is the most worth it? ugh I want to be exec plat so bad, but flying another 30k in November/December months might be too hard for a pleasure traveler like myself.. 🙁

  2. I was lucky enough to successfully enter this promo before it was shut down. I already had an ORD-NRT trip scheduled on a combination of JAL/AA, both legs in coach. It is 12,500 miles round trip. Am I reading correctly that I will achieve PLATINUM status just based on this one trip? The EQP would be 0.5x so it would be just over 6,000 (gold). But the EQM is counted out the actual miles, right?

    Either way, seems like an incredible deal for a single trip, and one that I had planned/purchased already anyway.

  3. I’m eligible for this promotion (two confirmed e-mails). I found a flight LGA->SEA->SEA->PHL for $360 R/T, but it’s 5,998 miles…anyway to do the two miles extra?? I could do a roundtrip from LGA but I’m based out of Philly and it’s hard to get to new york (and inconveniently expensive even though it’s so close!)

  4. Quick question to double check..what is an eligible codeshare? I believe it’s anything with an aa number right? Like sold on the AAmwebsite

  5. @Ian: Yes. Anything with an AA#, BA, JL, IB, AY and QF will qualify for this promotion.

    @Nathan: AA has sub-$300 fares to LAX/SAN from PHL. Have not played with routings but AA domestic fares usually allow at least 2 transfers per direction.

  6. Hi, I was lucky to get in on the promo as well and should be able to hit 30k miles by switching a few flights from other airlines/point redemptions. My question is whether I would be able to bank the EQM by booking JFK.LHR flights from the BA website / credit card and banking them with AA. I’m unsure if the tickets needed to be AA stock. Thanks

  7. AA really screwed up with this promo. How could they not have known that this wasnt going to go viral? It was a pr/marketing ploy (and some people benefitted really well from it) to drum up more publicity for them, though they certainly didnt need it after that UP in the Air movie. They had to have known that the fast track was going to be talked about more than anything else. And they dont offer an exec plat status. It seems like I shouldnt even try to challenge for Platinum since there is a HUGE difference between that and Exec Plat, right? Theres no way I can fly 100000 miles by December 31, even though I am a food and wine journalist who has a couple of international trips planned: one for October, one for December, and a couple of domestics…

  8. Hi,
    I got in on the promo and I actually have some domestic travel to do to LA this Nov/Dec. Great opportunity to get Gold or Plat.
    However, the AA fares between NY and LAX seem much higher than say Delta, Jetblue and others.

    Why are they so different? Will they likely come down? Will the other go up?
    I know you don’t have a crystal ball but thought you might have some insight.


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