Elite Status in 5,000 Miles

You know those VIP fliers who get all the perks like early check-ins, shorter security checkpoint lines, and preferred boardings? Well, you can be one, too, if you follow this tip from Peter Vogel of CNN’s Budget Travel Online.

Normally, American Airlines gives Gold Status after flying 25,000 miles in a year and Platinum Status after 50,000 miles. Well, through AA’s unadvertised “90-Day Challenge,” a flier can achieve Gold Status after accumulating 5,000 points and Platinum after reaching 10,000 points!* (Of course, those flights must be made during the 90 day period.)

To apply for the program, you will need to call AA’s Advantage line at (800)421-0600. You must choose either Gold Status or Platinum Status for the challenge. Note: If you choose to go for Gold and meet the Platinum requirements, you will only receive Gold Status. However, if you choose Platinum, but only fly enough for the Gold Status… you get nothing. So, choose wisely.

Check out Peter’s write-up. He took took a flight to San Diego and a flight to London — both from New York — under the program, and he racked up enough points to grab Platinum Status and almost enough miles to achieve Gold Status for the next year.

If you’d still like elite status, but don’t want to fly the miles, you can always pick up an airline credit card. For example, US Airways offers two credit cards that will buy you preferred check-in and early boarding.

Update: Reader Nick Hawkins notes that the 90-Day Challenge must be met using 5,000 or 10,000 Points, and one point may not always equal one mile. If you book online, you may only receive half a point per mile. Thanks, Nick!