On March 1st, 2023, another status qualification year will begin for American Airlines AAdvantage members. This will be the second year of AAdvantage’s new Loyalty Point system for determining elite status. Many people earn Loyalty Points from flying. Others earning them from credit card spend.
But a smaller group of people have discovered an even faster method of collecting Loyalty Points, allowing you to boost your desired level of AAdvantage status quickly…
How to Earn Elite Status with AAdvantage
The status qualification year starts on March 1st and runs through the last day of February.
- For example, in 2023, your counter will restart on March 1, 2023, and run through February 29, 2024.
- The membership year (when your status is valid) takes effect the date you qualify, or April 1 (whichever comes first) and will be valid through March 31.
Required Loyalty Points
Most readers will be interested in AA’s Platinum, Platinum Pro or Executive Platinum status. If you travel internationally on Oneworld partner airlines, Platinum is equivalent to Oneworld Sapphire and both Platinum Pro and Executive Platinum are equivalent to Oneworld Emerald.
- AAdvantage Platinum –> 75,000 Loyalty Points
- AAdvantage Platinum Pro –> 125,000 Loyalty Points
- AAdvantage Executive Platinum –> 200,000 Loyalty Points
How to Earn Loyalty Points… FAST
Let me get this out of the way first… buying miles from AAdvantage does NOT earn Loyalty Points…
…but booking hotel stays via Rocketmiles does!
Your impression of Rocketmiles might be that you overpay for hotel stays, but receive miles in exchange. You also miss out on loyalty program benefits such as room upgrades or points. This impression is generally correct, but now that you can earn American Airlines elite status from using Rocketmiles, the calculus has changed substantially!
Although it would be ideal to book hotel stays that you actually need, this travel hack is based on another nuance of Rocketmiles – it doesn’t care if you show up to the hotel! I have tested this extensively myself; I received AAdvantage miles for several no-show stays. All that I needed to do was prepay Rocketmiles for my hotel stay. (don’t use the Reserve Now, Pay Later function available at some hotels)
How to Find the Best Stays to Book as an Intended “No-Show”
A useful rule-of-thumb / target is 2.5 cents per mile / Loyalty Point.
The vast majority of hotels you will see on Rocketmiles will come nowhere near that 2.5 cent level, but a few do. The best places to look for “bargains” are:
- Las Vegas (midweek only)
- Southeast Asia – try Bali, Kuala Lumpur, cities in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, etc.
Once you have found a candidate that offers you a large number of miles at a reasonable cost, you will be invited on the next page to pay extra to add even more miles to your trip. Since these extra miles cost 2.1-2.2 cents each, a travel hacker chasing AAdvantage status definitely wants to add more miles! (they all count as Loyalty Points) In general, you can add an extra 3,000 miles / Loyalty Points per night.
It Really is OK to not Show Up
With hotel chain loyalty programs, you must always check-in to the hotel to receive your points, elite status credit, etc. With Rocketmiles, however, you do NOT need to show up to the hotel. As long as you have prepaid Rocketmiles for your hotel room, they don’t care whether you show up or not. The miles will arrive to your AAdvantage account a few days after your supposed “check-out”.
I’m not sure if I would book overlapping stays that are clearly impossible – such as concurrent stays in Bali and Las Vegas – but otherwise you do not need to limit yourself to your own travel plans.
Which Dates Should I Book?
Rocketmiles transactions credit to your American Airlines AAdvantage account based on the check-out date of your hotel stay (real or no-show)
What About Resort Fees?
If you are somewhat familiar with Las Vegas hotel pricing, you will know that room rates can appear to be very cheap midweek. Unless there is a big conference or sporting event, Las Vegas casino hotels are nowhere near full. As a result, you will see room rates that appear ridiculously cheap. Casino hotels offer such low rates because:
- You will also pay a resort fee to the hotel
- You will probably do some gambling at the casino
- You will probably eat in or around the hotel
But for the purposes of this travel hack, all you care about is the fact that Rocketmiles pays almost nothing for that midweek hotel room, allowing it to apply a mark-up that coincidentally allows it to offer you far more miles. But if you don’t ever show up to the hotel, you don’t ever pay the resort fee!
So, in this one rather obscure situation, resort fees are great! Because the hotel has shifted most of the room rate into a concept that will only be payable if you actually show up, it actually allows you to pick up AAdvantage Loyalty Points on the cheap, without leaving home…
If you are looking for a relatively low cost method of accumulating American Airlines Loyalty Points (and redeemable miles) quickly, you might want to research Rocketmiles and those Las Vegas hotels that offer you a large number of miles per dollar spent on the room rate.
If you want a headstart on next year’s qualification, you can start booking hotel stays for March 2023 and beyond…
Or if you need a last minute boost to your Loyalty Point balance, you will want to look for no-show hotel stays with a check-out date before February 28, 2023…