American Airlines A321 First Class

What if you could convert your life at home into a lifetime of elite status. American Airlines is offering precisely this kind of opportunity, with an intriguing new way to qualify for lifetime AAdvantage Gold, AAdvantage Platinum and earn a bunch of upgrades – and miles in the process. For a limited time, becoming a “million miler” doesn’t require actually flying a million miles.

It’s an interesting time for… everyone on the planet, but particularly for airlines. Their business may never be the same, and not all of that is a bad thing. In the meantime, some airlines are finally getting creative and digging into their marketing prowess to keep planes running.

For a limited time, all spending on American Airlines co-branded credit cards count towards lifetime elite status miles, in addition to regular redeemable AAdvantage miles. Basically, your spending can act like flying, until flying is a thing again.

an airplane on the runwayWhy bother?

This is valuable, because each million mile threshold brings new perks. Hitting a million miles with AA gets you Lifetime Gold, and 35,000 AAdvantage miles. Reaching two million miler status with AA earns Lifetime Platinum and 4 system wide upgrades. Each next million earns four more.

If you were at 990,000 miles towards American Airlines AAdvantage Million Miler status, spending $10,000 on an American Airlines credit card will get you over the hurdle. Here’s the exact wording from American Airlines…

“$1 spent on eligible AAdvantage credit cards equals 1 mile toward Million Miler status.

For all Citi®/AAdvantage and AAdvantage Aviator® products, as well as select AAdvantage credit cards outside of the United States, every dollar spent on net purchases that post to your AAdvantage account between May and December 2020 will count as one mile toward Million Miler status.”

a room with chairs and a tableView From The Wing reached out to American for clarification on the exact terms of the offer, and the gist of the results are…

  • card welcome bonuses do not count. In other words, you don’t get a 50,000 or even 70,000 head start just from the bonuses. It’s about spending.
  • it’s $1 for 1 million miler mile always, except on AA purchases where it’s more. This means any bonus offers on earning won’t count at the bonus rate.
  • This applies for statement closing dates from May – December. Miles earned in December that would hit a January statement do not count.

What’s particularly cool and creative here, is that this applies to both the Citi and Barclays portfolio of US based American Airlines credit cards, including business credit cards as well. Business expenses earning you a lifetime of perks is a pretty sweet deal.

A small business owner with significant spend could earn wonderful lifetime status rewards for prioritizing spending on the Citi Business AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard®, and with a 70,000 point welcome bonus right now after $4,000 in spending in 3 months, it’s a great card anyway.

Here’s a full list of cards where spending counts toward this million milestone…

Business aside, this is an amazing opportunity for any person to get closer to a remarkable lifetime goal, just from their daily expenses and life from home. The Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard also offers a 50,000 point welcome bonus, after just $2,500 in spending in three months. The annual fee is waived in the first year and $95 thereafter.

Most people won’t be spending a million dollars on their credit card in this roughly 8 month rolling period, but every step closer to million miler, two million miler and so forth is a good one, and for anyone who’s close, it’s a very good reason to grab one of these cards and take part, if you don’t already have one…

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. Crap. I didn’t read the statement closing date. I might have started spending too early yesterday. I’m at a 1800000 lifetime so I’m debating on lifetime platinum. I’ve maintained executive platinum for the last 8 years but the higher and EQD requirements is making it harder. My thought would be to add $120,000 in purchases and assume I will fly At least 80000 BIS miles before my status expires in 2022

    1. If you can swing it, lifetime platinum and the SWU’s sound pretty fantastic. Congrats on the milestone, and yes, just watch those closing dates! Cheers, Hal!

  2. I would be interested to see another article analyzing the value of gold and platinum status respectively. For example, do complimentary upgrades ever actually clear for gold members?

  3. 4 million miler, lifetime Plat. Not worth the new bag tags I got. Platinum is the old silver now. Using Emerald lounges is about the only perk that matters.

  4. Must be an extremely rare flyer who is close to the million mile mark who does NOT have one or more of the AAdvantage credit cards….

    At 997,000 miles I was really looking forward to the flight that took me over the million mile mark – but now it will just be a matter of spending! Also a bit frustrating having earned those miles the hard way knowing that others out there will literally just spend $100,000 or so to take them from many miles away to million miler status… But good luck them – we are all in this coronavirus challenge together!

  5. Rich P I would not be too worried. Will be difficult in this business climate to meet huge spend 100k to 1 million. Esp since this is only for the next 8 months.

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