New Elite Rewards Offer for 2013 Announced by American Airlines

A Boeing 777-300 sports the new livery of American Airlines as it awaits its passengers at the gate for its flight to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport from London Heathrow Airport as flight 55. Photograph by FlyerTalk member Joely. Click on the photograph for a trip report written by Joely.

American Airlines has launched a potentially lucrative new promotion for elite members of the AAdvantage frequent flier loyalty program for 2013, as it appears to offer up to four cumulative rewards when you reach the appropriate milestones — but you must register for this offer by December 31, 2013, and you much choose all of your rewards by February 28, 2014.

Rewards are earned by reaching milestones, as follows:

Milestone 1: Fly 40,000 miles, earn 40,000 points, or fly 45 segments and choose one of the following rewards:

  • 10,000 bonus American Airlines AAdvantage frequent flier loyalty program miles
  • Three 500-mile upgrade certificates
  • Two Admirals Club one-day lounge passes
  • Free BAGS VIP luggage delivery
  • 10 percent discount at the official Internet web site of American Airlines

 

Milestone 2: Fly 75,000 miles, earn 75,000 points, or fly 80 segments and and choose one of the following rewards:

  • 20,000 bonus American Airlines AAdvantage frequent flier loyalty program miles
  • One systemwide — or eVIP — upgrade
  • Five 500-mile upgrade certificates
  • Four Admirals Club one-day lounge passes
  • Five single-segment Wi-Fi passes

 

Milestone 3: Fly 125,000 miles, earn 125,000 points, or fly 130 segments and choose one of the following rewards:

  • 30,000 bonus American Airlines AAdvantage frequent flier loyalty program miles
  • Two systemwide — or eVIP — upgrades
  • Gift of Gold elite status to a friend
  • Admirals Club membership
  • 20 percent discount at the official Internet web site of American Airlines

 

Milestone 4: Fly 150,000 miles, earn 150,000 points, or fly 160 segments and choose one of the following rewards

  • 40,000 bonus American Airlines AAdvantage frequent flier loyalty program miles
  • Four systemwide — or eVIP — upgrades
  • Gift of Platinum elite status to a friend
  • Admirals Club membership
  • Global Entry fee reimbursement

 

What is nice about these milestones is that they occur between elite status levels. For example, you earn Gold elite status at 25,000 miles or points or at 30 segments, but you earn Platinum elite status at 50,000 miles or points or at 60 segments. Your first milestone is at 40,000 miles or points or at 45 segments — ingeniously closer to Platinum elite status than to Gold elite status to have you thinking “Well, I am almost there already and I may as well go for it” and encourage you to fly more as a passenger on American Airlines…

…but if you pass the first milestone but fall short of Platinum elite status for the year, you still earn your choice of rewards at the first milestone. Nice!

Even better, the rewards earned from reaching each milestone appears to be cumulative — and the choice is yours. For example, let us say that you have achieved all four milestones, but all you want are bonus American Airlines AAdvantage frequent flier loyalty program miles — this means that you can earn up to 100,000 bonus American Airlines AAdvantage frequent flier loyalty program miles for the year. Or, perhaps you want to try a “taste” of each reward but you are not at all interested in bonus American Airlines AAdvantage frequent flier loyalty program miles — which means that you could have three 500-mile upgrade certificates, one systemwide upgrade, an Admirals Club membership and Global Entry fee reimbursement — all in the same year.

Despite the elite rewards offer for 2013 being considerably more generous than in years past with fewer restrictions — probably to be more in line with Special Dividends offered by US Airways to its elite members, but in some ways better — I do have one constructive criticism:

What about those frequent fliers who easily surpass 150,000 miles or points or 160 segments? Should there not be additional milestones offered as an incentive to keep them flying on American Airlines instead of qualifying for elite status on another airline? Perhaps offer another milestone every 40,000 miles or points or 45 segments, offering the same choices as Milestone 4, for example?

I also never quite liked the 500-mile upgrade certificate system, preferring instead to the unlimited complimentary upgrade system currently in place at US Airways. I like not having to be concerned as to whether I have enough certificates to upgrade on a transcontinental flight — but then again, there would probably be more competition for upgrades without the certificates. It remains to be seen which upgrade system will be the one which survives should final approval be granted by the United States Department of Justice on the merger between American Airlines and US Airways.

While the majority of FlyerTalk members happily welcome this offer with open arms, some believe that the value of the American Airlines AAdvantage frequent flier loyalty program is decreasing for its elite members and that there will be increased competition for the rewards being offered — amongst other concerns.

If you are an elite member of the American Airlines AAdvantage frequent flier loyalty program, you have nothing to lose by registering for this offer. I highly recommend it.

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