Signing up for a Challenge
To enroll in a challenge, call AAdvantage customer service at +1 800-882-8880.
AA instituted fees to sign up for Gold and Platinum Challenges as of Oct 15, 2008. A Gold Challenge in progress can be upgraded to a Platinum Challenge for an additional fee, as of Dec 30, 2008. Conversely, a Platinum Challenge in progress can be downgraded if the flyer can only earn 5,000 points, but the fee difference is not refunded. (Recent reports on FlyerTalk suggest that AA is no longer doing explicit downgrades but Gold status may/will be conferred at the conclusion of a Platinum Challenge if the flyer only earns 5,000 points.)
Challenges begun before June 16 of a given year earn status for the remainder of that year and the first two months of the following year (8-14 months total); challenges begun on or after June 16 grant status for the remainder of that year, the following year, and the first two months of the year after (14-20 months total). Challenges can be started on the 1st and 16th of the month and you can request a specific start date (within the next few months). Be very explicit about requesting a start date unless you want the one offered to you. Challenge start dates may even be backdated to include a recent flight.
The historical fee structure for enrolling in a Challenge has been as follows (be sure to contact AA for current information):1
For Challenges starting Jan 1 – Jun 1, 2011, fees were $120 for a Gold Challenge, $200 for a Platinum Challenge, and $100 to upgrade from a Gold Challenge in progress to a Platinum Challenge.
For Challenges starting Jun 16 – Sep 16, 2010, fees were reported as of May 2010 to be $150 for a Gold Challenge and $240 for a Platinum Challenge. (The upgrade fee was not reported.)
For Challenges starting Oct 1, 2010 - Dec 15, 2010, fees have been reported as of Oct 2010 to be $120 for Gold and as of Sep 2010 to be $200 for a Platinum Challenge. (The upgrade fees have not yet been reported.)
1Higher fees for Challenges starting in the second half of the year were first reported on May 22, 2009 at $100 Gold / $200 Platinum / $125 Upgrade.