American Elite Status – laughable push or cashgrab?

It was last year, or perhaps the year before, that we first started seeing American Airlines offer elites that looked to be missing re-qualification, an opportunity to buy status. This year, the attempt to sell American Elite Status is borderline laughable. 

American Elite Status – The offer

Right now I’m a Platinum Pro, that’s the 75k level, below Executive Platinum and the invitation only Concierge Key. I have only 5,962 elite qualifying miles credited to American, as of 6 November. 

Clearly not a priority to rack up those miles with American this year.

I might also add: 

So, when I received American’s e-mail to buy back my status, I was curious. Scrolling down in the e-mail, I’m seeing the details of Gold and Platinum:

Buy back American Elite Status

So, I’m still curious of the cost, given that there are other data points of costs for buying status.

Buy American Elite Status

Now, remember, I’m a Platinum Pro. American is offering me the entry level status (Gold) and a watered down mid-level status (Platinum). Hard Pass.

The one thing I do find interesting here though, is the ability to use miles to buy that status back. I think this is logical on American’s part; it relieves some of the liability of outstanding miles on the books. Besides given how hard it is to find saver award space on American, this is at least a redemption one can make. More interesting though is that American values their miles at only a penny a point upon redemption. Just out of curiosity I went ahead and checked how much American is selling their miles for:

Working the math out, that translates to 1.9 cents per mile. In other words, the spread between buy and redeem for American miles is .9 cents. 

But, Is it worth it?

So full disclosure, I got this status last year doing some early in the year vacation runs on Qatar Airways before I came to the stark conclusion that American elite status just wasn’t worth pursuit, and I’ve gotten nearly 2 years worth of it. Over those 2 years, I’ve probably split the amount of time I spend in the First Class Cabin (usually with less legroom, thanks to the new Oasis seats) and economy, where I’ve usually at least had main cabin extra. 

Perhaps the only time the status really came in handy, was departing the latest ResellingDO when American was going through the rough contract negotiations with the mechanics union and flights were getting cancelled left and right. Well, as of last year, American made the decision not to rebook non-elites on other carriers for cancellations, so, had I not had status, I wouldn’t have been able to get rebooked on United, and make it home in time to pick up our dog that same day. But is that worth even $629 dollars? Absolutely not.

Did you get an offer to “lock in your elite status” from American? Will you? 

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