2018 American Aadvantage Challenge

In 2017 I took the same amount of flights and flew almost the same amount of butt-in-seat miles as 2016. However because of changes to the Aadvantage program, including the value of EQMs and the new spend requirement, I did not hit Platinum for the first time in almost a decade (excluding the years my kids were born and I traveled far less due to pregnancy and maternity leave).

What’s a frequent traveler who loves her elite status to do? Sign up for the Aadvantage challenge, of course!

Here are the details the (extremely nice and helpful) phone agent gave me:

Platinum Challenge

  • Cost with status during: $500
  • Cost without status during: $200

*I was not eligible or the first option as I currently have status.


  • 12k EQMs OR 16 segments
  • $2k spend

Gold Challenge

  • Cost with status: $300
  • Cost without status: $120


  • 7k EQMs OR 8 segments
  • $1k spend

The challenge lasts 90 days, and for frequent travelers shouldn’t be too difficult. I was able to backdate my starting date by four days to include a trip I took last week.  Finishing the challenge by the beginning of April will give me status through January 2019. I’ve heard of certain credit cards that give a spend credit with American to pay for the challenge but I haven’t experienced that myself so can’t confirm it.

To make sure I qualify for next year I’ll be signing up for the Aviator Silver card, which gives both a spend credit and an EQM credit once you hit some spending thresholds.

To be honest, I considered not even signing up for the challenge. I rarely get upgraded to first class, my company will pay for better seat assignments, and with Gold status (which I did qualify for) I would get to board in Group 4, not that far behind my current Group 3. However, the bonus miles are really nice, and for my international travels I’ll be more likely to get an upgrade (when it really matters). So for those reasons I decided to go for it.

To sign up for the challenge call American Airlines Customer Service at 1-800-433-7300.

Readers, did you maintain your status for this year? If not what are you doing to get it back? Or do you think it matters?


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  1. Hello. I am about to undertake an American Airlines Platinum status challenge and am wondering whether it makes sense to just pay for the challenge ($240), for temporary Gold status during the challenge ($430), or for temporary Platinum status during the challenge ($540). Does anyone have any thoughts on the best option here? Has anyone calculated whether it’s worth it to pay up for the temporary Platinum based on bonus miles, possible upgrades, and other elite benefits during the 3-month period?

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