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My one and only flight on American Airlines was a grumpy experience. I wasn’t exactly in the best of moods for a morning hop from LAX to SFO after a Qantas long-haul from Brisbane in economy. It was a mix of taking forever to make it through customs followed by an extended wait at the AAwful satellite terminal. This soured American Airlines for me out the gate. But when they tossed a status offer at me a month ago, it at least made me pause and consider (SEE: [Targeted] Free American Airlines Platinum Status!).

I waffled on whether I wanted to accept the offer. As it is, I’ve recently acquired United Premier Silver status (SEE: United’s problem is… everything) and had put it to use immediately on some regional flights (SEE: 3 reasons why the ERJ-175 is my favorite non-wide-body jet). I’m also shooting for Delta Gold Medallion via their credit card MQD waiver. Would it really be a wise move to pick up status for a few months with another airline?

With only a couple days to go until the offer expired, I finally decided to take them up on it. And now I’m glad I did.

11 segments on 4 itineraries over 2 weeks

I know. This is probably nothing for the typical road warrior. But it is a lot for us. In a week my daughter and I will be taking a trip to visit friends in Texas, followed by back-to-back work trips for me in Utah and Virginia. The kicker? All of this is booked on American Airlines. Our leisure tickets are on a cash itinerary outbound and a reduced milage award return (SEE: American’s reduced mileage awards – why you need to be talking about them). The work tickets are obviously footed by the company that employs me.

So it actually worked out rather nicely that I picked up the AA Gold status offer. All the cheapest tickets for our dates and destinations just happened to be with American. The reduced mileage awards turned out to be exactly what we needed as well. The paid flying will actually allow me to hit the threshold necessary to keep Gold status through 2019. I’m calling it a win-win-win.

What are these 500-mile upgrade things?

As part of the status offer, I was given eight 500-mile upgrade certificates. Coming from the world of complimentary upgrades with United, I was puzzled as to how the upgrade system works at American.

Turns out that for Gold and Platinum members, you are given certificates to use for first class upgrades. They aren’t just complimentary. My guess is that this means you might actually have a better shot at getting the upgrade you really want, if you play your cards right. At least that’s how I’m taking it at face value.

I’m sure there are tons of intricacies about whose upgrade clears first, whether you can upgrade an award ticket or not (looks like I cannot, at least), and how upgrades are applied to companions. But I don’t really care about much of that. I simply went into two of my reservations and applied them, four for my daughter and I from Phoenix to San Antonio (2 per person) and 4 for my work flight from Las Vegas to Charlotte. You need one certificate per 500-miles of flying, so that’s why I had to apply multiple per flight leg. We’ll see if they actually clear at T-24 hours.

From no status to status all around

This is the most hysterical thing to me. I’m going from never holding airline status in my entire life to likely holding low-level status with all three major U.S. airlines during the same year. Since attaining these has come at a near-zero cost to me, there is no issue of “splitting my loyalties”.

Honestly, I still don’t feel loyal to any of them. I’d rather be a free agent (although Delta is trying their best to woo me – (SEE: Puking on planes, booking a family in basic economy, and why Delta wins). But looks like I’m gonna give AA a spin. Let’s hope they are a step up from United.

Featured image courtesy Grant Wickes.

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