Maximizing Affiliate Cards with American Airlines
I am documenting my 2018 run to AA Executive Platinum (ExP) status at https://insideflyer.com/forums/threads/2018-mileage-marathon-aa-exec-plat.139158/
As part of that experience, I am maximizing the use of Affiliate Cards to expedite my ExP status. You may benefit from this information as well.
DISCLAIMER: I am NOT receiving compensation from any of these cards (other than the EQM and EQD discussed as part of the standard earning).
WHY AFFILIATE CREDIT CARDS MATTER:
O.K., I will admit, I would much rather get my AA Executive Platinum (ExP) status by just flying. I LOVE to travel.
However, most airlines have changed the game (and likely will again in the future). Right now, the miles that you receive for your flights (unless you are blessed to fly business or first on someone else's money) are also limited. I have always believe that the floor for a frequent flier program should be a 1:1 ratio (actual miles awarded = frequent flyer award miles), but that is not the current deal.
So: How do you accomplish ExP with the current requirements? Affiliate Credit Cards. AmAir has two partners: Citi and Barclays.
ASSUMPTION: If you are going for ExP, you likely have a decent income or business spend, and spend over 100K per year. AND you can pay for your spending IN FULL each month.
- EQM - Elite Qualifying Miles - physical miles flown
- EQD - [I]Elite Qualifying Dollars - $$$ spent on airfare
- EQS - [I]Elite Qualifying Segments - the number of physical flights.[/I][/I]
Here are my recommendations and why:
Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Silver World Elite Mastercard
* Target spend - $50K
* EQM earned - 10,000
* EQD earned - $6,000
* Hoop to jump: Must have the "Red" card for three months first. You can't apply for Silver directly.
Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Business Mastercard
* Target Spend $25K ($30K if you want Companion Certificate)
* EQD earned - 3,000
* Note - Barclay states that only a maximum of 6000 EQD will be awarded per year. So plan your expectations correctly!
Citi® / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard
* Target Spend - $40K
* EQM earned - 10,000
* Key Feature - Admiral's Club access
As you can see, if there was just ONE affiliate card that you wanted that would give you a quick boost, it would be the Barclaycard Silver.
But let's look at the big picture impact of having all three cards, and do the math...
To be an ExecPlat, you need:
EQM - 100,000 (physical miles flown)
EQD - $12,000 (actual dollars spent on airfare, not incl taxes, etc.)
EQS - Who really cares, as we are trying to get there faster. Ignore segments
With the three cards mentioned above, at the required spend, you are awarded as a bonus:
EQD: $6,000 (maybe - just maybe - 9,000 if Barclay awards 3000 for Business. We'll see).
So that means that what YOU need to do "butt-in-seat" is:
EQM - 80,000
EQD - $6,000
Which is more like just a bit above the current Platinum achievement requirements.
If you decide to be a world traveler, seeing some of the fun places on the other side of the globe, you may be able to accomplish this in as few as 3 to 6 long haul economy class flights. (Remember, we are looking at elite miles earned... THAT is still 1:1 !)
PLUS, with the expected spend discussed ($115K), you will earn a minimum of 115,000 frequent flier miles per year (more likely based on purchase multipliers), not to mention the award miles that you will receive on applying for these cards. (currently that would net you a one-time bonus of about 200K non-elite qualifying miles), and a whole lot of other benefits that I won't even bother to try to summarize.
OK, that is still a LOT of money spent. Yes. I know, and I will not state that is something that everyone can do, however, if you shift spending to plastic you will be surprised how quickly this adds up.
And yes, on the other hand, some cards provide a cash-back option. At a 2% cash-back for $115,000, you could have $2,300... which is far less value than some see the ExecPlat status value. But choosing that option you will likely be a person who has not been to Rio, Bangkok, Sydney, or walked the streets of Rome. You can't put a price on that! 🙂
Addendum #1 - Modified above re: Barclay AAdvantage Aviator Business Mastercard EQD