American Executive Platinum status is amazing if you’re able to achieve it. Obviously everyone has their own opinion, but I’ve had it for the past year and it’s been life-altering. Unfortunately, my EXP status is going to run out and the end of January, which I’m devastated about. If you’re looking to make a run for EXP status this year, here’s how you can achieve it.

Minimum Requirements

To earn Executive Platinum status on American you’ll have to hit at least two targets outlined in the red box above. You’ll have to spend at least $12,000 on flights and fly either 100,000 miles or 120 segments (one-ways).

Hitting the EQD Target

Hitting $12,000 spend on American flights can seem daunting, depending on how much you fly. Luckily, there are some ways to boost your efforts and give you a little bit of assistance.

Barclay AAdvantage Aviator Credit Cards

Through one of American’s credit card partners, you can get yourself a nice boost in EQD earning.

If you have either the Aviator Red, Aviator Blue, or the Aviator Business credit cards and spend at least $25,000 in a calendar year (Jan-Dec), you’ll net a nice $3,000 EQD bonus to your American account.

If you spend at least $50,000 per year on credit cards, you can earn another $3,000 in EQDs with the Aviator Silver credit card.

Partner Flights

While it’s certainly easier to keep track of estimated EQD earnings by flying American airplanes, we all know that foreign carriers often have superior service. Many of American’s partners like Qatar Airways and Japan Airlines operate highly popular routes to some of the best destinations. If you’re flying one of these carriers, you’re in luck, and can still earn EQDs, though the calculation is much more convoluted.

Generally, expect to earn between 0-30% of the total miles flown in EQDs if you fly an American partner. For a complete list, go to American’s website and select the carrier you’ll be flying.

For purposes of this post, here are some examples:

  • Philadelphia (PHL) to Doha (DOH) on Qatar Airways booked in full-fare Economy(Y) will earn you ~$2,700 EQDs, which is based on roughly 15,000 miles round-trip multiplied by 20%
  • Dallas (DFW) to Tokyo (NRT) on Japan Airlines booked in discount Business (I) will earn you ~$1,792 EQDs, which is based on roughly 12,800 miles round-trip multiplied by 14%
  • Atlanta (ATL) to London (LHR) on British Airways booked in First Class (A,F) will earn you ~$2,526 EQDs, which is based on roughly 8,420 miles round-trip multiplied by 30%

Segments or Miles?

Once you have formulated your EQD strategy, the next question is whether you want to satisfy your secondary requirement through Elite Qualifying Segments (EQSs) or Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs). For this answer, first analyze which type of traveler you are:

  • Are you based in the Northeast and commute weekly from Washington to New York?
  • Are you a technology executive based in San Francisco and often commute twice per month to Hong Kong?
  • Are you a management consultant based in Chicago with no specific travel pattern?

These are the questions you should ask yourself if you are consciously going to make an effort to earn EXP, but obviously, if your job dictates where you go, you don’t have a say in the matter. When I earned EXP, I was on a project that took me from Philadelphia to Los Angeles every week for an entire year. At 4,800 miles round-trip, I easily hit my 100,000 EQM target for the year. Earning status on segments is pretty difficult if you ask me — you have to be hopping on a plane almost every two to three days to hit the 120 required segments. Merely taking two flights per week for a year won’t get you there.

EQM Bonus

Here’s where you should pay attention. You’re able to earn more than 1x EQMs per mile flown depending on the fare class you book. For example, if you book a flight from Chicago to Tokyo on American’s 787 in business, you’ll earn up to 3 EQMs per mile flown (a whopping 37,647 EQMs). This is one area where American rewards customers for flying on American airplanes. If you fly an American partner like British Airways, the most EQMs you can earn are 1.5x the miles flown (half of the top tier on American).

In Summary

Earning Executive Platinum status is hard. It wouldn’t be top-tier status if it were easy. There’s a significant chance you won’t qualify for EXP even if you try. American knows this and as a way to not become too bottom heavy, they sometimes offer AAdvantage members status challenges. I’ve seen people earn EXP status by completing a challenge and satisfying the “challenge escalator”. The challenge essentially works by requiring you to fly a certain amount in three months, but if you could fly double or triple that in six months, you’ll get EXP. Obviously, this isn’t offered to everyone, but it’s worth calling and asking.

Nonetheless, if you feel like 2018 is your year, go for it and don’t look back. The benefits are amazing. Sure, you don’t get lounge access, but the free same-day flight changes and the ability to shoot to the top of the standby list, as well as the four systemwide upgrades and unlimited complimentary upgrades make it all worth it.

Are you gunning for American Airlines status or have you completely switched to a new airline?