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From first-class upgrades and priority boarding, to free checked bags, airline elite status can offer a lot of enticing perks. If you're ready to switch allegiance to another airline, completing an elite status match lets you avoid starting from scratch. Thankfully, many airlines offer status matches to entice frequent travelers to switch to them.
However, American Airlines works a bit differently from most other U.S. airlines. Here are seven things to know if you want a status match with American Airlines — including that the option is seemingly paused.
What to know about AA status match
1. American typically only offers a status challenge, not a status match
Unlike other U.S.-based airlines, American Airlines generally doesn't offer travelers an elite status match. Instead, American Airlines typically offers AAdvantage members the chance to complete a status challenge.
A status challenge involves enrolling with AAdvantage and then achieving defined earning goals within a time period set by the airline. However, the availability and terms of this status challenge aren't publicly available on American's website. Instead, you have to call to sign-up.
But unfortunately, even this limited path to American Airlines status isn't currently available. Based on recent reports, American Airlines seems to have ended its status challenge with the switch to its new Loyalty Points elite status program at the beginning of 2022.
» Learn more: Guide to American Airlines elite status
2. The airline typically limits challenges to mid-tier status
Even when American Airlines offered an elite status challenge, it was limited. That's because American Airlines would only let AAdvantage members challenge for up to AAdvantage Platinum elite status. That's the second tier of American's four-pronged elite status ladder — five-pronged if you consider the unpublished American Airlines ConciergeKey tier.
AAdvantage Platinum status offers plenty of elite perks. However, travelers that are accustomed to top-tier treatment with other airlines may be disappointed by being so far down on the American Airlines upgrade list.
To earn higher levels of elite status — such as Platinum Pro and Executive Platinum — travelers have to meet the full requirements of the elite status. The only benefit of completing the challenge is having some level of elite perks along the way.
3. American Airlines status challenges aren't free
Another downside of American Airlines elite challenges is that members typically have to pay to enroll. Based on reports, the amount you have to pay depends on which elite status level you're seeking and whether or not you want to enjoy AAdvantage elite status while you're working on the challenge.
This peculiarity sets American Airlines apart from virtually any other status match or challenge. And even when those airlines do charge a fee — like Frontier Airlines recently — the fee is modest. Meanwhile, American charged up to several hundreds of dollars to enroll in a status challenge.
» Learn more: The best travel credit cards right now
4. You might get a Hyatt-American Airlines status match offer
Although you can't currently complete an American Airlines status match from other airlines, you may be able to utilize World of Hyatt elite status to get AAdvantage elite status.
Upon linking your Hyatt and American Airlines accounts, you may be targeted with an offer for AAdvantage elite status. If you've previously linked your American and Hyatt loyalty accounts, check your AAdvantage promotions page to see if you're targeted for an American Airlines status match challenge.
To get notified of new American Airlines status match opportunities from Hyatt, make sure that you have a valid email address in both your World of Hyatt and AAdvantage member profiles.
5. You might be able to get an American Airlines status match through StatusMatch.com
Another way to potentially get an American Airlines status match is through StatusMatch.com. This website verifies the elite status for each applicant and then works with airlines to offer status matches and challenges. Unfortunately, at the time of writing, StatusMatch is only waitlisting requests to do an American Airlines status match.
6. You might consider matching your elite status to an American partner instead
Since you can't do an American Airlines status match, consider completing a status match to one of American Airlines' partners. American Airlines is one of 13 members of the Oneworld alliance. And anyone with elite status on another Oneworld airline can enjoy benefits when flying American Airlines.
Alaska Airlines is arguably the best option for a Oneworld status match. Alaska — which joined the Oneworld alliance in March 2021 — offers a status match challenge that grants applicants temporary status for 90 days. Flyers can extend that elite status by meeting certain travel requirements on Alaska Airlines.
With Alaska Airlines elite status, you'll enjoy all of the perks of Oneworld elite status when flying on American — such as free checked bags, priority boarding and lounge access on international trips. Plus, through American's expanded partnership with Alaska, you'll even get upgrades when flying on American Airlines.
7. You may get American Airlines status by doing nothing
The easiest — but least-reliable — way of getting American Airlines AAdvantage elite status is simply doing nothing. American Airlines is well-known for periodically offering AAdvantage members free elite status.
This AAdvantage elite status is generally valid for three months. During that time period, targeted members have the opportunity to meet reduced mileage earning requirements to retain that elite status for a longer time period.
American Airlines doesn't share the criteria for who's targeted for these free elite status offers. However, some travelers who've been targeted in the past have reported that they scaled back how much they were flying American right before getting the offer.
American Airlines status challenges, recapped
American Airlines generally offers elite status challenges to members instead of a status match. However, American seems to have halted all status challenges in early 2022 as it switched to the new Loyalty Points program.
Still, you have a few ways to potentially get AAdvantage elite status — whether through World of Hyatt, StatusMatch.com or as a targeted offer from American Airlines. Or, you can match your elite status to an American Airlines partner airline to get elite status perks when flying American Airlines.
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