The road to AA Platinum - Another Candy Thief story

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Jan 6, 2006
Well now that I've qualified as a candy thief, it's time to post my story.

To be or not to be (a candy thief), that is the question.....

First my two main reasons for switching:

1. Earn/burn rates on QFF
2. Fuel fines on QFF award tickets

What will I lose, eventually (over 2 years) :
1. All QF status
2. Oneworld emerald status and hence access to First class lounges
3. Complimentary QF club access
4. Once I run out of QF points, ability to upgrade on QF flights

What I will end up with:
1. More awards per mile
2. No fuel fines on award tickets
3. AA Platinum status
4. Oneworld sapphire status and access to business class lounges
5. Upgrades when flying AA (much like the old QFF upgrade credits)

I've been QFF WP for 5 years now and just achieved LTS. It would take me another 6 years minimum with my decreasing travel pattern to achieve LTG. But I was prepared to do this just to guarantee access to QP for the rest of my life. This had one BIG assumption - that QF didn't change the qualification rules in the next 6 years!

I started a DONE4 on June 4. Booked by a Amex travel with my QFF number in the booking. At the time I didn't even know it was a xONEx ticket. I'd only recently heard about these tickets reading AFF. I had no idea of the rules or how they could be used.

I had heard about candy thief challenges and the benefits and had been considering doing one with this ticket and my planned route:
So if I started a candy thief challenge on June 1, then I would've only been AA Plat until Feb 2007 at which point I would drop down to AA gold. At the same time, I would not have achieved enough SC's (or so I thought based on my planned route) to retain QFF WP so would be QFF SG.. So I decided to put this DONE4 to QFF. This would still leave me short of requalification of QFF WP by 100 SC's but I'd worry about getting those later. Perhaps I would start a challenge later this year with some other travel which may or may not occur.

Some more research on AFF while I'm in PVG and I find I can have my ticket reissued with additional segments in the US and visit friends in Raleigh and at the same time with some careful planning get more than enough SC's to retain my QFF WP status. So I do that..My route is now
SYD-PVG-LHR-JFK EWR-DFW-RDU-ORD-SWF-ORD-LAX-SYD. Plus the EWR-DFW-RDU-ORD and ORD-LAX are all in A class so A class SC's. So by the time I reach LAX I will have requalified for WP.

Still not thinking about doing the candy thief challenge. Still reading the AFF forums about candy thief challenges and the 'should I or not switch to AA' threads..

I now look at maximising SC's and points from my ticket when I return home by adding in the 4 available segments in Australia. So I alter my ticket again to include a SYD-PER-DRW-ADL-SYD. Seems a good deal to me for US$175 (reissue fee plus taxes) because I have friends in PER and DRW and I like wine so ADL is nice too - plus I love flying - especially when it's J class.

I continue reading AFF and see NM's candy thief story and also research further on the AA plat challenge thread by Dave Noble.

I will requalify for QFF WP by the time I reach LAX.

Now that I have these extra flights in Sydney, I look at using my QFF points to fly my family return to PER with me.. And then it hits me

To fly the 3 of them J class return using QFF points will cost 216000. Y class would be 108000. The same using AA points would be 105 for J class (3000 less for QFF Y class!) and 60000 Y class.

Now I seriously look at switching to AA. I have 5 segments left after requal for WP.. LAX-SYD-PER-DRW-ADL-SYD. After clarifying the points earned etc with Dave Noble, NM and Kiwi Flyer, I find I can steal candy on my LAX-SYD segment. Because it's my qualifying flight I also get 100% bonus miles.

But, I had a few other challenges along the way!

1. Adding additional segments in the US using a QF consultant incurred not only the USD$125 reissue fee but an 'admin' fee of $75 by QF.
2. I had 2 flights in all economy class aircraft. The QF consultant booked them into L class instead of Y class. The difference? 15 SC's less in L class. I only noticed this after it had posted.
3. When I had my ticket reissued again to add in the flights in Australia by AA, there was some confusion with the ticket issued by QF. I ended up with 2 seats held on ORD-LAX.
4. My ORD-LAX flight vanished a few days before I was due to take it!.. Still not sure what happened here. AA said the QF system cancelled it although I have my doubts...
5. It took 2 phone calls to QFF WP desk in Sydney while waiting in LAX to get my AA FF number entered correctly on my booking.

I used QFF points to upgrade to first class and this flowed through to AA as a first class flight (as you have also experienced NM)

After all that, here's what I have to show for it on AA:

Summary Date July 2006
Program to Date Miles: 19,718
YTD Elite Qualifying Points: 11,231
YTD Elite Qualifying Miles: 7,487
YTD Elite Qualifying Segments: 1
Miles Towards Elite Upgrades: 7,487
Miles with Expiration Deferred Through 7/13/09: 19,718
Upgrade Account Balance: 0
Total Available Award Mileage:+ 19,718

My qualifying flight
07/13/06 PLT CHALLENGE BONUS-REG MEMBER 0 7,487 7,487
07/13/06 QANTAS AIRWAYS 108 P LAX SYD 7,487 3,744 11,231
TOTAL MILES POSTED 7,487 11,231 18,718

I did get one little last minute surprise. My qualifying flight posted to AA but my status was still nothing and my platinum challenge bonus was not there. This all changed one day later..

Date flight arrived: 15/7/06
Points posted to AA : 17/7/06 (this was probably 17/7 morning in US)
Plat Challenge bonus posted: 18/7/06 (this was probably 17/7 afternoon in the US).

And I'm very happy with my new found AA status!

So in future I will plan my DONE4's well in advance.
I will have no FF number in my bookings.
AFF is essential reading for all FF's.. Don't leave home without it!


Aug 27, 2004
LT Gold
Congratulations vt01 :cool:. Glad it all worked for you. Now to earn the other 85,000 miles needed for your award goal. Should be able to optimise a DONE4 to earn them.


Jan 6, 2006
Kiwi Flyer said:
Well don vt01 :p
NM said:
Congratulations vt01 :cool:. Glad it all worked for you. Now to earn the other 85,000 miles needed for your award goal. Should be able to optimise a DONE4 to earn them.
Thanks Kiwi Flyer and NM.
I don't have any other travel on the horizon (apart from the domestic legs of my DONE4 which I think I'll move into next years qualification period). So I don't think I'll be making that 85000! But I can enjoy the spoils of my candy thief challenge until Feb 2008 :D :D

It was also the first DONE4 I've ever booked. Not sure if I'll get many more opportunities to use xONEx in the future for business travel as most of my travel has been point to point.. But I'll definitely keep them in mind!
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