American Airlines & Hyatt Offering New Elite Status Challenges [Targeted]


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Update 15:00 PST 9 March 2020: Hyatt has issued a correction to the original release in which flights marketed by select AA partners were shown as qualifying for the challenges. Now just flights marketed and operated by AA or American Eagle qualify.

Hyatt and American Airlines have just announced that from today, select AAdvantage and World of Hyatt elites will be offered challenges to earn elite status in the other’s loyalty program through 2022. Challenges are targeted, require registration, and are appearing on dedicated American Airlines and Hyatt webpages.

Note: Do NOT register for this promotion until you have read this entire post.

Details For Hyatt Elites

The headline terms:

  • Targeted elite levels: World of Hyatt Explorists and Globalists.
  • World of Hyatt and AAdvantage accounts must be linked (here)
  • Register by 30 September 2020 (here)
  • Must complete qualifying AAdvantage activity within three months to achieve AAdvantage Gold, Platinum or Platinum Pro status through January 2022.
  • AAdvantage qualification activity is earned when a World of Hyatt member flies on eligible tickets for flights operated and marketed by American Airlines or American Eagle.

The challenges for linked accounts:

World of Hyatt Explorists

Explorist elites can earn AAdvantage Gold status through January 2022 by earning $1000 Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQDs) and either 7000 Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) or 8 Elite Qualifying Segments (EQSs) within 3 months of registering for this challenge.

World of Hyatt Globalists

Globalist elites are being given paths to the first three AAdvantage status levels:

  • Achieve AAdvantage Gold status through January 2022 by earning $1,000 Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQDs) and either 7,000 Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) or 8 Elite Qualifying Segments (EQSs) within 3 months of registering for this challenge.
  • Achieve AAdvantage Platinum status through January 2022 by earning $2,000 Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQDs) and either 12,500 Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) or 16 Elite Qualifying Segments (EQSs) within 3 months of registering for this challenge.
  • Achieve AAdvantage Platinum Pro status through January 2022 by earning $3,000 Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQDs) and either 20,000 Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) or 24 Elite Qualifying Segments (EQSs) within 3 months of registering for this challenge.

Don’t forget that World of Hyatt Discoverist, Explorist, and Globalist elites who have linked their accounts to the AAdvantage program can earn one World of Hyatt Bonus Point for every eligible dollar spent on qualifying American Airlines flights. These points are awarded in addition to the World of Hyatt points these elites already earn on Hyatt stays.

Details For AAdvantage Elites

The headline terms:

  • Targeted elite levels: AAdvantage Platinum, Platinum Pro, and Executive Platinum members.
  • AAdvantage and World of Hyatt accounts must be linked (here)
  • Register by 2 October 2020 (here)
  • Must complete qualifying World of Hyatt activity within 90 days to achieve World of Hyatt Explorist or Globalist status through February 2022.
  • World of Hyatt qualifying activity is earned when an AAdvantage member books an eligible rate or award night through Hyatt channels.

The challenges for linked accounts:

AAdvantage Platinum & Platinum Pro Elites

Achieve Explorist status through 28 February 2022 by completing ten (10) Tier-Qualifying Nights (as defined in the World of Hyatt program terms) within 90 days of registering for this challenge.

AAdvantage Executive Platinum Elites

  • Achieve Explorist status through 28 February 2022 by completing ten (10) Tier-Qualifying Nights (as defined in the World of Hyatt program terms) within 90 days of registering for this challenge.
  • Achieve Globalist status through 28 February 2022 by completing twenty (20) Tier-Qualifying Nights within 90 days of registering for this challenge.

Don’t forget that AAdvantage Gold, Platinum, Platinum Pro, and Executive Platinum elites can earn one bonus AAdvantage mile for every eligible dollar spent on qualifying Hyatt stays and experiences. These points are awarded in addition to the AAdvantage Miles these elites already earn when they book through American Airlines.

A Key Aspect To This Promotion

World of Hyatt elites and American Airlines AAdvantage elites may only have 3 months or 90 days in which to complete the challenges set but they don’t have to start the clock on those challenges until much later this year if that’s what suits their travel plans best.

World of Hyatt elites have until 30 September to register for their challenges and AAdvantage members have until 2 October so if you’re in one of the targeted elite bands and your busiest travel period is towards the end of this year (given the current state of travel that may be quite likely) it may make sense to hold off registering until you’re closer to your dates of travel.

Qantas London Lounge Heathrow T3
Get access to the Qantas Lounge at Heathrow T3 with American Airlines Platinum Status

Thoughts

There are two thoughts which spring to mind immediately:

Firstly, World of Hyatt elites are being offered a noticeably poorer deal than AAdvantage elites (just like last time we saw elite status challenges offered).

Secondly, Wow! The elite statuses on offer are for the rest of 2020, the whole of 2021 and into 2022. That’s fantastic.

From A Hyatt Elite View

Limiting Hyatt Explorists to a challenge for lowly AAdvantage Gold status appears mean.

On top of that, AAdvantage Gold status doesn’t really offer very many benefits that you can’t already get with a $95/$99 credit card, so to expect a Hyatt elite to earn $1,000 Elite Qualifying Dollars + 8 EQM or 7,000 EQD just to earn that status is a little cheeky.

AAdvantage Platinum status, on the other hand, is the first AAdvantage elite tier that’s really worth something because it matches to oneworld Sapphire status, offers lounge access on international itineraries (regardless of the class you’re booked into), offers a 60% bonus on base miles and gives flyers complimentary Main Cabin Extra seats at the time of booking.

A single roundtrip Business Class fare between the US and Europe could be enough for a Hyatt Globalist to lock-in the 2,000 EQD and 12,500 EQM needed to earn AAdvantage Platinum status and, considering that status would be valid through January 2022, that may make this an attractive option for some.

AAdvantage Platinum Pro offers a higher bonus on base miles (80%), complimentary domestic upgrades (assuming you can get them to clear) and a better position on the upgrade list but, other than that, it doesn’t have all that many advantages over AAdvantage Platinum status. Because of this, I’m not convinced that it’s worth a Globalist making a special effort to earn the extra 1,000 EQD + 7,500 EQM or 8 EQS that Platinum Pro status demands – If you’re flying anyway then Platinum Pro will be a nice status to have but I wouldn’t go out of my way to earn it.

From An AAdvantage Elite View

Hyatt Explorist status is a status that’s worth having thanks to benefits like waived resort fees on award bookings, late check-outs, a 20% bonus on all base points earned and a shot at upgrades at check-in, so the fact that this set of challenges allows select AAdvantage elites to earn Explorist status with just 10 elite nights (which can include award nights) rather than the traditional 30 elite nights is very good news.

The fact that this status will be valid through February 2022 is just the icing on the cake.

And now on to the best deal on offer…

With this latest set of challenges Executive Platinum elites can earn Hyatt Globalist status which is not only one of the hardest hotel elite levels to earn, but also one of the most rewarding. The fact that this status can now be earned through February 2022 with just 20 elite qualifying nights (which can include award bookings) is a fantastic deal…it’s just a shame that this is only on offer to AAdvantage Executive Platinum elites.

As an AAdvantage Platinum elite, I’m probably going to do my best to earn the 10 elite nights needed for Hyatt Explorist status as soon as possible because, over the next 20 – 21 months, I can see that status being incredibly useful…and a cash saver too.

If I was an AAdvantage Executive Platinum elite I’d be doing everything possible to earn the 20 elite night credits needed for Hyatt Globalist status because I doubt there will be a better (or easier) chance to lock in such a valuable status through February 2022.

Important To Note

Hyatt views milestone rewards (the rewards that offer free nights, lounge passes and suite upgrades) as being separate from this elite status challenges so AAdvantage elites earning status through these challenges will still have to earn the same number of elite qualifying nights as World of Hyatt members if they want access to those benefits.

Essentially, these challenges do not offer a quick path to lounge passes or suite upgrades.

Bottom Line

It’s great to see another set of status challenges being offered by Hyatt and American Airlines but they’re not really very equitable.

  • Top tier AAdvantage elites can earn top-tier Hyatt status while the best that Hyatt’s top tier can earn is AAdvantage’s 2nd tier Platinum Pro status.
  • Hyatt’s middle-tier elites are limited to being able to earn a lowly AAdvantage status with limited benefits (and whose primary benefits are mostly also offered by a number of credit cards) while AAdvantage mid-tier elites can earn a very useful (and valuable) mid-tier status with Hyatt.
  • Hyatt is allowing award nights to count for the purposes of these challenges while Hyatt elites cannot use award flights to get themselves closer to AAdvantage status.

Overall, there should be quite a few very happy AAdvantage elites out there right now (I’m one of them) but I suspect that the feelings emanating from Hyatt’s elites will be noticeably more negative.

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