Becoming Gold or Platinum quick through the challenge
Did you know that American Airlines have two secret programs called Gold and Platinum Challenge? You won't find any information about this on their web site, but it is one of those great insider secrets shared around between frequent flier afficionados on their various web forums.
Basically the idea is that AA want to reward you if you think you are going to be flying alot in a short period. The really cool thing is that you can achieve elite status on something as short as a transatlantic flight.
The rules are basically the same, but the milage requirement differs. You have 3 months to achieve:
- 5000 QPoints for Gold
- 10000 QPoints for Platinum
So what is the best way to do this? First of all avoid fares that are deep discount. I very rarely get them when booking on aa.com. Basically avoid fares where the code starts with G, Q, N or S.
If you are about to take a transatlantic flight, check the fare code and the miles. A typical transatlantic leg is about 3500-5500 miles depending on which coast you are flying to or from. So you are already nearly there for gold and with the return trip nearly there for platinum. What if you don't have the full 5000 or 10,000 miles? A little known trick is to change the routing of your flight. You can often get away with this for no or very little extra cost if you book it directly at aa.com.
Lets say you want to go from London to Boston. This is only 3250. If you instead change the routing to go via Miami or Chicago you can get 5670 or 4803 miles respectfully instead. With a little creativity it is very easy. On the Chicago route add another stopover somewhere in and you should be fine.
In the above example if you think you are only going on one trip this year you might as well stick with the gold challenge, so you get some of the benefits for the return trip. Otherwise if possible go with the platinum challenge.