Let’s discuss: Airline status and maternity leave

For the last six years, I have been Platinum on American. The first year at my job I did the challenge (free back then—those were the days!) and achieved Platinum in six weeks. I’ve maintained it since, some years due to segments and others due to points. This year I had to stop flying in the middle of June, and will certainly not requalify for Platinum, just Gold.

Obviously this is a bummer, especially for someone who travels as much as I do. Once I go back to work, I expect travel to be at typical levels, and I would really like to maintain my status. I’m considering calling the Aadvantage Customer Service and just asking if there is anything they can do. Can they see that I got halfway there and then stopped, after six years of consistent travel levels? Do they care enough about their frequent customers to be flexible?

There are a lot of threads on Flyertalk asking if anyone has had success, with a lot of discussion but no results. Has anyone ever asked for a status exemption with an airline? Did they grant it, or just refer you to the challenge?

What do you think, Readers? Is it worth asking for? Or does it make me an entitled brat to even consider?

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  1. You’re a loyal customer with a six year history with the airline, it doesn’t hurt to ask.

    AA has been generously matching status for other airlines’ best customers all year, they might be willing to grant an exemption to one of their own.

    Another option is to purchase another year of Platinum status. Each year, they provide AAdvantage Elite members that didn’t requalify at the current level a chance to retain their status for one more year. The price varies depending upon how many miles you earned this year. For 2012 the cost was:

    40,000 Miles or Points or 48 Segments – renew Platinum for $619
    Less than 40,000 Miles and Points and less than 48 Segments – renew Platinum for $769

    I dropped down to Gold on year and it was better than nothing, but I missed the oneworld lounge access and the more frequent upgrades.

  2. You definitely should ask. American has been incredibly generous to me – after flying 10K miles, 16 segments, in a 5-month period they gave me Plat until the end of the year + a chance to renew Plat for 2013 if I fly only 10K miles between 9/1 and 12/31 of this year. Now, I also have done several $90 upgrades, as well as a half-dozen Admirals Club day passes, and opened 2 Citi AA credit cards, which I think were part of their calculation in deciding to make this amazing offer.

    And it’s working. By hook or by crook, I will make sure I get those 10K miles. I know there’s a risk considering the shaky nature of AA, but my recent experience with them has been fantastic.

  3. I had gold on united and had to give it up while pregnant and on maternity leave. I called and asked, but no luck. I still made silver that year (daughter was born in jan), and working really hard on gold this year – might take a vacation to bump up those miles. Good luck!

  4. I’d ask – they should do it. In Australia, one of the two major airlines lets you put your status ‘on hold’ for six to 12 months while you’re on maternity leave.

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