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Back in May I jumped on a free status offer from American Airlines. I didn’t have any trips planned at the time, but one was in the works, and I thought it might pay off. Turns out it did, and my daughter got to experience domestic first class for the first time. The status would expire September 7, 2018.

By leveraging a little summer work travel, I was able to meet the EQM and EQD requirement for the status offer, locking it in through January 2020. Was this necessary? No, I could have flown Delta and been totally happy. But I’m glad I did, and here’s why.

The one perk I appreciate as an AAdvantage Gold

AAdvantage Gold status doesn’t give you a whole lot. Sure, you get access to certain seats on the plane, but I don’t really care about this. The mileage bonus is pretty useless, as I don’t plan to fly American much on paid fares. The checked bag fee waiver is nice, so there could be a little value there, but I already have an AA credit card that offers this domestically. Upgrades aren’t guaranteed, and I only have four 500-mile certificates left, so this wasn’t why, either.

The biggest perk for me as an avid award traveler is the waiver of the “award processing charge” (i.e. close-in fee) for award travel booked less than 21-days out. For someone who is sometimes interested in booking a last-minute getaway this could come in really handy. For example, we could fly out this weekend and not pay an outrageous $75 per person.

The synergy with this is the ability to book reduced mileage awards (SEE: American’s reduced mileage awards – why you need to be talking about them). The American Airlines reduced mileage awards are a great way to stretch your miles, and the booking window is only 2 months out, so much of the availability falls within that 3-week close-in window. And this is often some of the best availability.

So even if I don’t fly another paid segment on American next year, having this award option available is gold. American Gold, that is.

Featured image courtesy of Grant Wickes under CC 2.0 license

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