AAdvantage vs. Executive Club – Flying on BA to Achieve Elite Status

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Due to the launch of a partnership between Hyatt and American Airlines, InsideFlyer UK has been spending some bandwidth analysing the implications, even though they might not seem relevant for a UK audience. Joe wrote about converting his complimentary AA status into Hyatt status, and I wrote about the AA status challenge available to Hyatt elites

As a reminder, here are your targets… should you be allowed to fast track your way to AA status…

  • $1,000 EQDs and either 7,000 EQMs or 8 EQSs for Gold
  • $2,000 EQDs and either 12,500 EQMs or 16 EQSs for Platinum (Oneworld Sapphire – i.e. BA Silver)
  • $3,000 EQDs and either 20,000 EQMs or 24 EQSs for Platinum Pro (Oneworld Sapphire – i.e. BA Silver)
  • $5,000 EQDs and either 35,000 EQMs or 40 EQSs for Executive Platinum (Oneworld Emerald – i.e. BA Gold)

Whether or not you currently have the opportunity to fast track your way to AA status, I thought it might be useful to analyse the elite status implications of choosing to credit British Airways flights to Executive Club vs AAdvantage.

Example 1 – Club World from Amsterdam to Los Angeles

The other day, an error fare was briefly available – roughly £1,200 to fly British Airways between Amsterdam and Los Angeles (via London). But seasoned Tier Point runners are also aware of the regular bargains available from Dublin, Bucharest and Inverness – so it’s not crazy to assume that you might be willing to pay to fly British Airways in Club World…

But let’s look at Amsterdam to London to Los Angeles. For the purposes of earning miles and status, you would be looking at flying:

  • 500 miles from Amsterdam to London (both AA and BA have a 500-mile minimum)
  • 5,546 miles from London to Los Angeles
  • 5,546 miles from Los Angeles to London
  • 500 miles from London to Amsterdam

British Airways Executive Club – Status

Many readers will be well aware that you would earn 40 Tier Points for each of the Amsterdam / London flights in Club Europe and 140 Tier Points for the London / Los Angeles flights. Although definitely not the most efficient TP run, you would earn a total of 360 Tier Points.

Since BAEC Silver status requires 600 Tier Points, you’d be 60% of the way there…

American Airlines AAdvantage – Status

Aiming for status via AAdvantage means thinking about elements such as “Elite Qualifying Dollars” (EQD) and “Elite Qualifying Miles” (EQM).  EQD is pretty simple to understand when flying on American Airlines – it’s what you pay as base fare, before any taxes. But on partner airlines, AA doesn’t know how much your ticket costs, so they fudge the matter with some multipliers.


Therefore, our 12,092 miles (500 + 5,546 + 5,546 + 500) for Amsterdam to Los Angeles via London in Business Class becomes:

  • 24,182 Elite Qualifying Miles
  • 3,023 Elite Qualifying Dollars

Taking the fast track figures as our target, a simple long-haul return flight on British Airways could earn you Platinum Pro status until 31 January, 2021 (as long as you fly far enough!).

Now… I realise that comparing a fast track challenge with a standard method might seem absurd. But I don’t think any reader would be considering AA otherwise.

Example 2 – World Traveller Plus from London to Los Angeles

Perhaps the idea of “positioning” in order to fly Club World just doesn’t work for you, but you do have the disposable income to fly in Premium Economy on a direct flight from London. WTP flights to Los Angeles for example can cost as little as £750.

British Airways Executive Club – Status

It’s going to take you much longer to earn Silver status, as those London / Los Angeles flights in Premium Economy will get you 90 Tier Points each, for a total of 180 TPs.

American Airlines AAdvantage – Status

Looking at the above table for BA Premium Economy, AA applies a multiplier of 1.5x to calculate Elite Qualifying Miles. The multiplier for Elite Qualifying Dollars is 20%.

Therefore, the 11,092 miles we fly London to Los Angeles return in WTP will get us:

  • 16,638 EQMs
  • 2,218 EQDs

That means you’d get AA Platinum (equivalent to BA SIlver/Oneworld Sapphire) status for one return flight in Premium Economy – sounds pretty good to me!


Some final mathematics for you…  When using British Airways flights to aim for elite status with American Airlines AAdvantage (via the Hyatt status challenge), the nature of the numbers means that EQD is ALWAYS going to be the more difficult hurdle to meet. So here’s the amount of “butt-in-seat” miles you’d need to fly with British Airways:

Platinum Status / Oneworld Sapphire

2,000 EQDs

  • 8,000 actual flown miles in Club World / Club Europe
  • 10,000 actual flown miles in World Traveller Plus

Executive Platinum Status / Oneworld Emerald

5,000 EQDs

  • 20,000 actual flown miles in Club World / Club Europe
  • 25,000 actual flown miles in World Traveller Plus

Doesn’t seem so excessive to me. What do you think? Let us know in the comments section…

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