How I got AAdvantage Platinum in January 2022 during the double dipping period

What my AAdvantage account looked like after I got off the plane in Paris.

I’ve been enjoying the wonderful benefits of AAdvantage Platinum and oneworld Sapphire since January 2022. While I had qualified for AAdvantage Gold back in October 2021, I was going to be making a 2 month trip to Europe and I realized it would be really handy to have the additional benefits provided by oneworld Sapphire status.

Some background on the AAdvantage program around this time

It just so happened that American Airlines was launching a revamped AAdvantage mileage earning system (Loyalty Points) that shifted the program year to March–February. As a result, they decided to make January and February 2022 a special two-month double dipping period, where flights would count both for Elite Qualifying Miles/Dollars/Segments (EQMs/EQDs/EQSs) and the new Loyalty Points system. This meant I had two more months than usual to qualify for the 2022 AAdvantage loyalty year.

Why did I decide to get it?

Quite content with my AAdvantage Gold status, I was originally not too worried about it. However, as I researched ticket prices between Europe, leaving in late January and returning in late March, I realized that the prices of transatlantic business class tickets going to Europe in January were not too bad at all. (March prices were a different story, but no matter, as March wasn’t in the double dipping period.) This made Platinum attainable, as I would be reasonably able to attain Platinum status by meeting their EQD and EQM requirements. Furthermore, this money spent would also count towards Loyalty Points, helping me attain requalification for 2023. Encouraged by this, I did the math on how many more EQDs it would take for me to attain Platinum. (The amount of EQMs I would be getting for simply flying to Europe in economy would’ve been enough to meet the Platinum EQM requirement.) It came down to a matter of about $2,000 EQDs. And that would mean I would need to spend about $2,000 excluding taxes for my outbound segment of my flight. The problem was, I needed to make sure if I booked the outbound leg as business class, I needed the spend to meet the EQD requirement for Platinum. Otherwise, this investment would be a total waste of money.

So yes, while this is certainly a lot of money I did not necessarily need to pay, I decided at the end of the day to go for it. I called the travel agent and asked her for the pricing per leg. It just so happened that the outbound segment in business class would cost a little over $2,000 excluding taxes. This was perfect. I would be cutting it close, but I would be able to get AAdvantage Platinum for 2022 (based on EQDs and EQMs) and get close to AAdvantage Gold for 2023 (based on Loyalty Points).

On the day of my flight, I was nervous, but I wouldn’t be able to tell until the points had posted after the flight. When I landed, I opened the American Airlines app to track my baggage. But of course, when it first opens, it shows the AAdvantage account overview. When the app fully loaded, I saw my AAdvantage Gold color flicker away and be replaced with a silvery color. It worked! At that moment I became AAdvantage Platinum!

Later that day, I received an email from American Airlines sealing the deal.

A welcome email to Platinum!

How it helped me

If there weren’t any additional benefits, then I obviously would not have gone out of my way and paid more money just for Platinum status. However, there were some benefits that I realized couldn’t exactly be bought with money outright. (Instead, you have to “buy” your elite status to make use of these benefits.) This included:

  • International lounge access. This was by far the most important benefit that I took advantage of. When traveling on any oneworld carrier, I could, as a oneworld Sapphire elite, make use of the lounges the carrier makes available to their business class passengers, as long as it was an international flight (i.e. it could not start and end in the United States). This was extremely helpful, because although I had a Priority Pass that got me into most lounges in Europe, it still wouldn’t get me into certain lounges. For instance, at Heathrow Terminal 5, I could access the small Plaza Premium Lounge with my Priority Pass. But the British Airways Galleries Lounges were only accessible for British Airways business class passengers and qualifying oneworld elites. Furthermore, when traveling back to the U.S., you can make use of the Admirals Clubs even if you aren’t traveling as a business class passenger. (You can use the Flagship Lounge when leaving the U.S. from an American Airlines hub like DFW.)
  • Fast track security. When I flew on British Airways, I could take advantage of fast track security at Heathrow Terminal 5, exclusive to elites. When I flew back to Dallas from Paris, I could use fast track security since I was Platinum. (Although I flew in business class, the upgrade cleared at the gate, so I was using my elite status to qualify me for that access.)
  • Priority luggage return. While this wasn’t necessarily an amazing benefit or a consistent benefit, it helps out when the crew actually do send your baggage out first. One time, my bag was literally the first out!
  • Two checked bags free. I bought so many souvenirs for my friends and family that eventually I had to buy a second bag with me on my travels (and stored my carry-on suitcase inside of it). With the myriad amount of flights I took, who knows how many several hundreds of dollars I saved. (Well, I could calculate it, but I’d rather not waste my time doing so.)
  • Priority check-in. I did get this as AAdvantage Gold/oneworld Ruby, but either way, it was so nice being able to skip the main line and check in much faster than other people. Even when there was a line, elites get front of line privilege too. I felt bad because twice I have been called to the desk over a person in the main line who had arrived slightly earlier than me.
  • Preferred seats. I could now choose preferred exit row seats on British Airways and American Airlines before check in started. This allowed me to get extra legroom and avoid sitting in the cramped seats that the rest of the people had to sit in when they flew in economy.

All in all, these benefits were extremely worthwhile, and I basically got a two-in-one deal: business class going from the U.S. to Europe is already worth $2,000, but then I got another $1,000+ in value through oneworld Sapphire and AAdvantage Platinum.

Now that I’ve been back from Europe, I’ve still taken full advantage of my Platinum status on domestic flights. I flew on six flights in April and May. On five of those flights, I got upgraded to first class. Between January and May 2022, I flew ten American Airlines flights. I only traveled in economy on two of those flights. By the end of May, I wondered if I would ever even be sat in “cattle class” ever again. (I was.) In the meantime, taking full advantage of these upgrades was absolutely wonderful and makes the benefits reach almost $2,000 in value, honestly.

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