Airlines occasionally offer Status Challenges which offer a fast track to loyalty program status. Status Challenges are offered by many of the major airlines and offer customers a quick way to earn status without flying thousands of miles. In order to qualify for a status challenge, members of an airline loyalty program must call the airline and request a challenge. Depending on the time of the year, the airline may not have any status challenge offers so it is good to check several times a year. Mostly, status challenges are open toward the beginning to middle of the year. Considering majority of status challenges take place over 90 day periods, they might not be offered in the 4th quarter of the calendar year.

An example of a status challenge is the one currently offered by American Airlines which expires tomorrow (07/07/16). This status challenge is targeted based on a members work email address and only travelers that work at the targeted corporations/companies will be considered. With this particular status challenge, travelers can go for either AAdvantage Gold, Platinum or Executive platinum via the following offers from American Airlines’ status challenge offer page:

  • AAdvantage Executive Platinum status offer
    • Earn 35,000 EQMs during the 90 day offer period to receive Executive Platinum status through January 31, 2018. You’ll also get 50,000 bonus miles when you earn Executive Platinum status.
  • AAdvantage Platinum status offer with “Stretch to Executive Platinum” opportunity
    • Receive Platinum status for 90 days. Earn 12,500 EQMs during those 90 days to extend Platinum status through January 31, 2018. You’ll get 12 e500 upgrades at registration and 25,000 bonus miles when you successfully extend your Platinum status.
    • Keep flying to earn 35,000 EQMs during 90 day offer period and receive Executive Platinum status through January 31, 2018. You’ll get 25,000 additional bonus miles when you receive Executive Platinum status.
  • AAdvantage Gold status offer with “Stretch to Platinum” opportunity
    • Receive Gold status for 90 days. Earn 7,000 EQMs during those 90 days to extend Gold status through January 31, 2018. You’ll get 6 e500 upgrades at registration and 10,000 bonus miles when you successfully extend your Gold status.
    • Keep flying to earn 12,500 EQMs during the 90 day offer period and receive Platinum status through January 31, 2018. You’ll get 15,000 additional bonus miles when you receive Platinum status.

This particular status challenge automatically grants the traveler the status they are challenging for and lets them keep it if they meet the requirements, if they fall short they loose the status. Also, this status challenge is free if you are targeted. Many status challenges require an upfront payment of a few hundred dollars to participate.

Status challenges are a fantastic way to quickly (and rather cheaply) earn status with an airline loyalty program, but generally can not be used to qualify for existing status. Status challenges are also often offered to travelers who had status with the airline in the past, but did not qualify for the following year or two. Status challenges are a great way to get status with an airline, especially when you are breaking up with your existing loyalty program. Also, some airlines offer status matches, but that is a topic for a different day.

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