Last year I finally qualified for American Airlines top frequent flyer status, Executive Platinum. It was really a “hack” due to special programs AA had out. Over the summer and fall, there were several ways to double up on qualifying points. If it weren’t for those programs, I wouldn’t have made it.
Having been at Gold and the Platinum for several years, I’d enjoyed many of the benefits, primarily:
- the ability to attempt to upgrade to first class – your given upgrade tokens that you can buy upgrades with
- no fee on baggage
- better seat choices – I nearly always got an exit row seat
- earlier boarding – which matter a lot now since everyone brings a carry on to avoid fees, filling up the overhead bins quickly
- bonus miles to get free tickets with
- use of the first class ticketing desk
- use of the premium security line – now that Austin finally has this, it’s great. Also, notoriously long security likes like Las Vegas are nice to jump around.
Executive Platinum has all of that, except that the upgrades are free, and I get them nearly every time. Nowadays I fly in first class frequently. This means boarding first, free drinks, and a meal.
Of course, there are some customer service benefits that I don’t always know are happening, but suspect are. I’ve been able to hop flights pretty seamlessly, booking earlier flights to get home.
I primarily travel domestically, in the US. There’s an international travel benefit of getting access to the top level lounge which I haven’t checked out yet. Though, once your gold or platinum you can go into oneworld partner lounges, all of which are excellent compared to the American-cheap Admirals Lounge.
Oh, and I got a luggage tag.
Next year, I’m petty sure I won’t qualify as I only hacked my way in this time and am trying to travel less with our son around. If I got some international flights, maybe, but that doesn’t happen too often.
My next goal is to get lifetime Gold. You can do this once you earn 1 million miles through flying, credit cards, bonus miles, etc. I’m about 180,000 miles away, which is a lot less than you’d think.