How £2,500 Can Get You 2 Years of Oneworld Emerald Status and a First Class Trip to the Maldives

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On 1 March, 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.

Because American Airlines is a member of the Oneworld alliance, AAdvantage elite status holders receive all of the same benefits – including eligiblity for operational upgrades – as a British Airways Executive Club elite status member would receive on British Airways (or other Oneworld alliance airline) flights. Yet, I believe it to be far easier and cheaper to earn elite status from AAdvantage. And as the slightly clickbait-y title suggests, you can also pick up enough award miles in the process to book yourself some amazing reward flights.

How to Earn Elite Status with AAdvantage

Qualification Period

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 1 March, 2023, and run through 29 February, 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 UK readers will be interested in AA’s Platinum or Platinum Pro status. Platinum is equivalent to British Airways Silver status (i.e. Oneworld Sapphire) and Platinum Pro is equivalent to British Airways Gold status (i.e. Oneworld Emerald).

  • AAdvantage Platinum –> 75,000 Loyalty Points
  • AAdvantage Platinum Pro –> 125,000 Loyalty Points

Validity Period

Once you reach 75,000 Loyalty Points within a given 1 March – 28 February period, you will become a Platinum member for the rest of that year and all of the next (until 31 March). If you continue onwards to 125,000 Loyalty Points, your account will immediately be upgraded to Platinum Pro status – again for the rest of the year and all of the next.

Therefore – for the purposes of this travel hack – if you earn 125,000 Loyalty Points in March and April 2023, your Platinum Pro status will run until 31 March, 2025.

How to Earn 125,000 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. 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 pence per mile / Loyalty Point.

The vast majority of hotels you will see on Rocketmiles will come nowhere near that 2p 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 1.7-1.8p 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 programmes, you must 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)

If you think this travel hack might be for you, therefore, you can start booking hotel stays for March 2023 and beyond…

Using Those 125,000 Miles

Assuming that you have found and booked sufficient hotel stays to pick up 125,000 AA miles / Loyalty Points, you will be able to spend them.  This is the major difference between AAdvantage Loyalty Points and British Airways Tier Points.  The best Tier Point earning routes on British Airways will earn you relatively few Avios. For example, a Gold member flying to/from Sofia, Bulgaria in Business Class to earn 80 Tier Points each way would only earn 3,165 Avios each way. (and don’t forget that BA plans to reduce those earnings even further this year – when it moves to revenue-based Avios earning)

But when you earn 125,000 Loyalty Points, these are also redeemable miles. And it just so happens that 62,500 AA miles will get you a one-way flight to the Middle East / Indian Subcontinent in First Class.  (Etihad, British Airways, Qatar, etc.)

Bottom Line

Tier Point runs are a thing of the past for me. I don’t need to waste time on a plane – I can spend that time looking for low cost per Loyalty Point Rocketmiles offers and book them from the comfort of home.

Naturally, booking hotel stays that one actually requires is an even better way of travel hacking one’s way to AAdvantage elite status. But I definitely appreciate the fact that I can maintain my desired level of Oneworld elite status without taking unnecessary flights…

Sound too good to be true? Let us know your comments and queries in the comments section…


  1. Andrew H says

    Off topic: my BA membership renewed in October last year and I just completed a week long holiday in Malta, which netted me 240 tier points * 2 = 480 (Manchester to Malta via LHR/LGW). So I need 120 points to hit silver. Does any have any recommendations for getting them?

  2. rob keane says

    The “not show up trick” did not work for me one an uber cheap night I booked in asia to get a promo number of AA miles from rocketmiles as my first booking. (think I saw that on here some months back).

    Even though it was a prepaid rate, and the booking was made several days ahead of the check-in day, the payment was never taken. I did get a “thank you staying” email from the hotel, but rocketmiles separately emailed me to tell me that no miles would be given as I had not checked in.

    • Craig Sowerby says

      I think I had the same thing happen to me. I also somehow ended up with a “non-refundable but pay later” booking that didn’t charge me and didn’t earn me miles. It was probably a glitch with the supposed PointsHound bonus only showing up at hotels that didn’t allow prepayment through RM.

      I have had more success recently, but with no promos involved to potentially mess things up.

  3. Andrew H says

    It’s finding it for a good price that’s tricky. I got lucky with the Malta BA holiday – 480 tier points for £530 (solo traveller) I thought was an ace deal.

    I don’t use ITA Matrix and I’m fairly inexperienced with Club Europe flights. I really need to do more searches to pick up the experience.

    If yoiu’re after any ideas for articles, could you write one about which Aer Lingus flights earn tier points now – I gather it started last year but not every flight earns them. I don’t think the Manchester to Dublin flights do sadly.

    London to Dublin could be done for £200 return netting 80 tier points, then take £70 off with 10k euros and it’s £130 return.

  4. Mahomed Jogiat says

    Does this hack work with Qatar avois ? l am keen on using qatar as it flies to the routes that l travel too . Also its linked directly to BA when booking so easier to transfer avois between accounts if short whilst booking. I successfully redeemed a booking on Qatar where it automatically took the shortfall avois from my BA account.

    • Craig Sowerby says

      No. It only works with American Airlines AAdvantage. However you can easily use your AA account to earn AA miles and receive Oneworld benefits when flying on Qatar.

      • Joe Deeney says

        And use your AA miles to book flights on Qatar (through American Aadvantage) – often at better rates.

  5. RTBones says

    I am curious – do you have a strategy to maximize your miles earnings? For example, is it more cost effective to have multiple short stays booked versus fewer longer ones? Is there a number of days that serve as a “sweet spot”?

    • Craig Sowerby says

      It’s a lot of trial and error… But I do find that 1 or 2 night stays – at least in Las Vegas – do tend to return a better miles / night / price combo.

      • RTBones says

        Interesting, thanks. Did wonder about what the hotels think about no-shows. I mean, they get their money from Rocketmiles and can re-sell the room (I would imagine anyway). Plugging in random dates (some one day trips, some two week jaunts)…on the surface, there doesnt appear to be much rhyme or reason to how points are scaled. Just as long as AA doesnt decide to blacklist you for making reservations you dont intend to use.

        I think I would still prefer to be Gold with BA – if only for the lounge benefits in the US, but with AA’s gamification of the system, there is no doubt that this certainly a more cost and time effective way of earning status.

        • Craig Sowerby says

          I suspect that the hotels don’t care. There’s no doubt in my mind that a midweek hotel room in Las Vegas selling for $30 is otherwise going to be empty. So the hotel gets free money, with no cost to service the room. AA gets paid for the miles. And the member gets their Loyalty Points. Everybody benefits.

          You’re right about lounge access. I can happily do without Admiral’s Club access, but some of the Flagship lounges are pretty nice! But with the money saved you can buy lounge access in the US.

          And FWIW, my last BA opup was using my AA Platinum Pro status, so no obvious disadvantage there…

          • RTBones says

            OK, I have to ask what “opup” means – I am presuming its some sort of status matching., but I didnt think BA did that kind of thing regularly?

          • Craig Sowerby says

            Sorry… operational upgrade. It’s when you are upgraded at the gate because your booked cabin is oversold.

  6. RTBones says

    No worries – makes sense. I’ve only had operational upgrades on AA, but at the time of my last one I was executive platinum with the airline. These days, just lowly silver with BA.

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