Now that we are in 2016, I have to start considering my plan for qualifying for American Airlines Platinum status for next year. Platinum Status requires 50,000 elite qualifying miles be flown. This can be done in a number of ways, but we must keep in mind that it can be a complicated system.
AA's new award charts and earning structure are being phased in over this entire year at different points. Right now the new Elite Qualifying Miles (EQM) system has already taken over. This means that partner flights in many cases are being cut in half, meaning that flying economy on British Airways or others will only earn you 50% of the EQM's that you earned in 2015... a sad day for me since I often need to fly partners when overseas. However, domestic first class now earns double or even triple the EQM's depending on if the first class ticket was full fare or discount. Flying first class domestically is a keystone of my requalification this year.
With my company sending me to France on Delta, this really threw in a wrench to my plans for getting to 50,000 EQM. A trip to France would have been worth 6000+ EQM, not it is gone. I've also decided to credit my Alaska Airlines flight to my Alaska Airlines account. The earning is better in this case, and these miles are always useful for booking Emirates flights, so I'll take all I can get here. Choosing Alaska also dents my plans for AA EQM's.
While all of these things throw major wrenches into my plans, my move to flying more first class cabins when domestic, makes up for this. While some of my current plans does depend on me flying certain work routes that may fall through, in the end I think it should not be an issue to qualify this year.
While 2016 may just be starting, having a good plan up front for flights this year can give you a head start on making a qualification. While I doubt these plans will be exactly as planned, its a good start. Right now I'm planning a number of trips to see family, an Alaska trip, and there may be a few more thrown in here in there, but those alone requalify me for Platinum status if I stick to first class.
What is everyone else's plans for 2016?