For members of American Airlines‘ AAdvantage program who came up short of renewing their Gold or Platinum elite status in 2012 there is some potential good news available: American will let customers buy back their status at the end of January. The program only works for customers who held the status previously and the pricing is split depending on just how close you got:
Compared to a mileage run to top off the account the rates are actually reasonable, at least for the folks who were 80% of the way there (the left column). Of course, that’s true only if you were just at the 80% number; if you were sitting 500 miles short the price might be a bit harder to stomach.
Not a bad option at all, really, though I do wince a bit at the idea of paying cash outright rather than flying the miles for the status. But that’s really just the purist in me.