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American AAdvantage Changes Coming August 1

American AAdvantage Changes Coming August 1
Joe Cortez

Flyers will begin earning miles based on ticket price, with fourth loyalty category announced.

American Airlines AAdvantage flyers now know the date they will begin earning miles based on the price of their ticket, instead of the number of miles in the air. In a press release, the carrier announced the transition would take place on Monday, August 1, 2016.

Previously, the airline announced the change would take place towards the end of summer 2016, without a concrete date planned. After August 1, AAdvantage flyers will begin earning miles based on the base airfare and carrier-imposed fees, multiplied by their loyalty status. Those who hold no status with American will earn five points per dollar spent on airfare, while those with Executive Platinum will earn 11 miles per dollar. Taxes will not count towards point-earnings multipliers.

In addition to the mileage changes, the program will add a fourth elite level to the AAdvantage program starting in 2017. Named “Platinum Pro,” the new category will fill share mid-tier status with Platinum. Flyers who fly 75,000 elite qualifying miles or 90 elite qualifying segments, along with spending $9,000 in elite qualifying dollars, will qualify for the new elite tier. Flyers who reach Platinum Pro status will earn nine award miles per dollar spent on airfare, in addition to two free checked bags and automatic upgrades within North and Central America. The new status will align with the Sapphire tier within the oneworld alliance.

The changes put American’s loyalty program alongside fellow legacy competitors Delta Air Lines and United Airlines in tiers and mileage earnings. In 2014, Delta was the first program to transition into an award program based on ticket price, followed by United one year later. Each program has four loyalty tiers, with gradually-increasing awards at each level. Although American has previously acknowledged the change meets the current industry trend, executives for the carrier continue to stand behind their value proposition.

“American Airlines is evolving AAdvantage to continue our tradition of having the best loyalty program in the world by rewarding our most loyal customers with the benefits they value the most,” Andrew Nocella, chief marketing officer for the Dallas-based carrier, said in the press release.

[Photo: American Airlines]

View Comments (10)

10 Comments

  1. cynosura

    June 6, 2016 at 11:21 am

    Just read about what Delta is doing and then expect American to follow the same path shortly thereafter.

  2. AAJetMan

    June 6, 2016 at 3:03 pm

    Stopped flying for miles several years ago. The credit card churn was great for a while too…much mor challening now with higher award costs.
    Long for the good ol’ days of $450 r/t DFW-FRA or LHR all-in, full mileage, and with blocked seats, even Y was tolerable.

  3. DrunkCargo

    June 6, 2016 at 3:32 pm

    Good. I drop good money into my fares and I want it to show.

  4. acgenerator

    June 6, 2016 at 7:02 pm

    Here is the problem. Loyal flyers spending their own money get penalized if they don’t hit arbitrary spend threshholds no matter how often they choose to fly with the airline or their partners. Most individuals won’t spend $3000 on personal travel per individual. Imagine the cost for a family of four! It also kills the ability to qualify if you spend some of this money with their OW partners.

    Flyers on corporate travel gets rewarded more. These corporate travelers have little choice in the time/date/destination and often which airline due to company demands on them. E.G> You are told be in Cleveland from San Diego by Monday morning – you must take whatever route gets you there that meets corporate travel rules and sometimes it must be the cheapest or the preferred airline. If you are lucky, you might occasionally get a choice in carriers but often there is only one flight that meets the business requirements. Of course if you live in New York, LA or Chicago you have more options than folks living in a mid-sized markets, but 95% of corporate travelers don’t get this luxury. A last minute trip or two can hit the spend threshhold easily.

    In short, American has decided to award people that do not create travel policies, do not necessarily choose to fly a particular route and spend someone else’s money (normally their company’s customer). These costs get billed as travel expenses under some project budget. This is not “loyalty” it is “following orders”. On top of that they reward the company already with corporate accounts. I’d rather they just abolish elite status altogether than pretend they are rewarding loyal flyers. It’s a sham.

    Here is the consequence: Fliers that fly recreationally have little to no incentive to stay loyal to the airline as they will neither hit elite status nor earn miles. Turkish, WOW, Norwegian Air Shuttle, etc are going to get a lot of AA’s business as they are the highest priced of the airlines and they just screwed their elite flyers. These airlines will be happy to have more business and are actively courting the recreational flyer. EPIC FAIL

  5. RustyC

    June 7, 2016 at 12:34 am

    It should now be obvious with this and other moves that the three legacies have stopped competing and are colluding. The changes are primarily a revenue play, as they’re taking a lot more away from the 98% than they’re giving to the 2%. Wall Street is never satisfied, though, so it won’t be long before they erode benefits at higher levels as well. I’m fighting this by giving more business to ULCCs that do still want to compete, as well as foreign carriers like Etihad now that mileage isn’t a factor in buying decisions.

  6. cynosura

    June 7, 2016 at 9:35 am

    DrunkCargo, you drop money or does your company drop your money into your fares?

    There seems to be a huge divide in the thinking on this– personal travelers paying out of their own pockets and business travelers who do not pay out of their own pockets.

  7. ubah

    June 7, 2016 at 10:20 am

    So what happens to the miles you have accumulated so far? It looks like you get fewer miles for the money spent now and not the full miles actually flown. That’s terrible. May have to rethink my loyalty to AA now and start flying whoever is cheapest. I did like going through the priority lines at security the few times we didn’t get our PRE stamped on out boarding passes.

  8. SpartyAir

    June 7, 2016 at 1:52 pm

    Over 95 % of my flying is personal leisure travel and I have had no problem meeting the spend limit since United changed to dollar based mileage. I am already over the 1K spend level and I have only qualified for Platinum so far this year. I am glad the airlines are using the spend limit for mileage awards — it culls out the people who just fly cheap itineraries in order to get status. I hope it improves my chance of getting the free upgrades and gets more people out of the premier boarding lines.

    I will agree with you all that it is a system that favors the corporate flyer. That is a conundrum that I haven’t been able to figure a way that would be better. I do feel that my loyalty to an airline is much greater than the corporate flyer, because I am spending my own money — often types on not necessarily the cheapest fare. The corporate flyer has no stake in the game, but i do.

  9. fotographer

    June 8, 2016 at 5:16 am

    Spartyair, some of us fly the cheap itinerarires because we pay for our travel for our business,
    I fly to India and Asia around 10 trips a year, trust me I am finding the cheapest ticket I can, because I work for myself, and dont have the budget to buy expensive tickets.
    It still means my butt in on the plane, why shouldnt I get rewarded for my loyality

  10. SpartyAir

    June 8, 2016 at 1:17 pm

    All businesses have costs — that’s your business. Your income is your profit — your living money. Expenses are a subtraction from revenue and reduce taxes as a result. Yes, some people have their own business, but for the most part, business flyers don’t pay the way. If you are flying that much as you say, making the spend requirement shouldn’t be a problem. I’m actually getting more miles under the new system than I would have under the old system.

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