Thursday, December 22, 2005

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
QPoints is based on miles and the level of service you fly. On First, Business and Full fare you receive 1.5 points per mile flown. On most discount fares it's 1 to 1. Finally on what they call deep discount flights you get 0.5 points per mile. See the AAdvantage Qualification Requirements page for exact info.

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 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

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.


Blogger Gary said...

Are you required to sign up for the challenge?

I have over 20000 Q points as of 3-16.

2:59 PM  
Blogger Pelle said...

Yes you do need to sign up for the challenge. I am not sure if you can use any of the miles you already have. You would need to talk to them.

3:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is there any Executive Platinum Challenge?? How do I get there?

9:24 AM  
Blogger Pelle said...

I wish. But I'm afraid you have to do it the hard way. It's 100k miles.

10:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you know if the minimum number of Q points one gets for a flight segment is 500 if the actual number of miles is less than 500?

I.e ATL to STL?

10:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I recently signed up for the program and successfully received the Platinum status. I did find some stuff that kind of takes away the benefit such as the status last till end of Fiscal year not year around so I will go back to Gold starting March. I also found out that Platinum member gets 4 complimentary upgrade after achieving 10K miles after you become Platinum so once you get 10K points you become Platinum and then you have to earn 10K more miles/points to get the free upgrades.

5:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can you make your flight reservations and then a few days/weeks later sign up for the challenge. I know this is to be done before the flight but didn't know if you could have your plans made.

8:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello! Where can I sign up for a challenge? I'm in Europe (France), do I still need to call the US number? Also, I already booked my flights but it's in October. Would the challenge work if I apply before I fly? ( )

3:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi there,
where should I sign up for this? I have been travelling back and forth from the US to south America in the past month...How can I get them to give me those ponts?

please let me know

Thanks much


1:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can call for enrollment after you've booked your flight. I booked a multi-destination trip to Asia last week. I depart in two days. I called to enroll today (Sept 27). The agent said enrollments are on the 16th and 1st of every month. She backdated my enrollment to Sept 16 so my entire flight will qualify.

1:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just reached Gold status and signed up for the Platinum challege. Like the above poster said, they back dated it to the beginning of the month, but only from today forward will count.

10:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

can i sign up for the Platinum Challenge online? or do I have to call directly?

10:47 AM  
Anonymous Pesper said...

A few Questions:

1) What is a Q point?

2)Can you sign up for the platinum or gold online?

3)After the three months is there still catch, like do u have to get points over a certain amount of time?

4)What are the advantages of Gold and Platinum?

5) For the challenge are you allowed to gain point from an American Airline Partner like British Airways?

6) I am booked for a long flight in October, and wanted to get a gold or platinum status. This trip is about 14,000 american airline points. Can i use these points for the challenge?


4:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stupid questions. Do I just call the AAwards number on the back of my card to sign up?

1:59 PM  
Anonymous Diane said...

Where do I go to sign up for gold or platinum?

1:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Will they backdate it to include 2 roundtrip first class trips taken in December for this program?

12:30 AM  

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