Members of AA’s frequent flyer program can purchase elite status through 2006 with a special offer from the airline. Based on what level of status you’d like to buy, and how many miles you flew in 2004, you can purchase Gold or Platinum status for between $450 and $750. That can be a great deal or a miserable deal depending on how much you will be flying in 2005 and how close you are to achieving those tiers right now. Even so, it’s a nice option not to have to do an end-of-year mileage run. Unless you’re into that type of thing. Which I am. But I wouldn’t use that as a benchmark.