I don't think a frequent flier or hotel "elite" tier exists where Platinum doesn't mean nice. Unfortunately, getting to Platinum is generally not very nice. In most cases we are talking butts in seats, days on the road and tons of money spent in pursuit of perks. Getting Platinum for less is far more ideal and in this case it's open to all. Like all marketing bullshit, when I say this is open to all, it really means "almost" open to all. There is a program called FoundersCard, which offers meaningful benefits to all who pay for their yearly subscription. One of those benefits? An incredibly tempting American Airlines status challenge offer open only to members, even if you've never flown American before. Lounge access and business class check in every time you fly? Prettaay, prettaaay good.
Platinum with American Airlines generally requires 50,000 flown miles in the sky in a given year. For those keeping score, yes, correct, that is in fact more than two times around the world's circumference in a calendar year. Yikes. Through FoundersCard you can actually snag the status flying less than half the earth's circumference, possibly during one very long flight. Essentially, if you have a long haul coming up this is a brilliant opportunity to lock in American Airlines Platinum Status through February 2017 for flying only 10,000 actual miles. Very nice. In case you've been lost under a rock during my previous points you don't need to even fly on American Airlines to complete this challenge. Flying any OneWorld member airline including British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan and Qatar will do the trick! Simply use your AAdvantage (American) frequent flier number to collect miles for these flights. Upon accepting the three month challenge you are granted temporary Platinum status and will need to collect 10,000 American "Elite Points" known as EQP, which on most fares are equivalent to one or more actually flown mile with up to 1.5x being granted for business and first class fares. If you are buying discounter consolidator economy fares in classes G,Q,N,O,S you will need to fly 20,000 miles as these collect only half an EQP for each flight. Though it's a shorter window to complete the travel than a full calendar year, 20,000 miles is still less than the requirement for American Airlines Gold giving you Platinum for less. As you may have surmised, this is where one cheap business class fare can do the trick. We snagged round trip business class from New York to Paris round trip for $1176 (yes USD), which is a flying distance of 7280 miles round trip. Since these fares earn 1.5x EQP with American we will make the challenge with just one round trip flight ensuring Platinum for more than a year and a half!
To take the challenge you must pay the piper. If this is right up your alley, sign up for FoundersCard using promo code "FCPOINTSVIP" (not my code) for $395 per year. It's steep but I see it as a very reasonable price to pay for thousands in benefits, lounge access, upgrades and free drinks over the next year and a half. Being elite, especially Platinum elite is nice and can really help in sticky situations. This one fit right into my wheelbarrow as I already had the perfect flight booked to qualify for the promotion and doing so will lock me in for an incredibly long rolling amount of time. If you have a similarly genius plan or travel scheduled go for it. See you in the lounge.
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