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American Airlines Adds Seat “Coupons” for Flyers

American Airlines Adds Seat “Coupons” for Flyers
Joe Cortez

Loyal American flyers will soon have a new way to get a free seat selection before their flight. The carrier confirms that “seat coupons” are coming, which passengers can earn over time and will be a compliment to their current loyalty membership.

American Airlines AAdvantage flyers will gain the opportunity to earn seat selection fee waivers with the airline as part of a larger loyalty strategy for the Fort Worth-based carrier. The airline confirmed in an e-mail to FlyerTalk that “seat coupons” will soon be available to passengers.

“Customers have asked for more ways to interact with the AAdvantage program…Last year, we launched our new platform and set the stage to bring new rewards to our customers like Admirals Club day passes, Flagship Lounge passes and now seat coupons,” a spokesperson for the carrier told FlyerTalk. “Customers can now benefit from a free preferred or Main Cabin Extra seat when they earn a seat coupon.”

First reported by the blog View from the Wing, the seat coupons may be earned by members of the loyalty program. When a coupon is granted or gifted, it will appear in their digital wallet for redemption at the time of booking, when viewing their reservation, or during check-in.

Once the program fully rolls out, there will be four versions of seat coupons AAdvantage flyers can collect: domestic preferred seats, domestic any main cabin seat, system-wide preferred, or system-wide any main cabin seat. While the domestic and system-wide preferred seat coupons are limited, the domestic and system-wide main cabin seat coupons may be redeemed for any seat, including those in Main Cabin Extra.

The airline has not announced when the program will go live to the general public, or under what criteria AAdvantage members will earn free seat coupons. It is also unknown if the seat coupons will be offered alongside miles as part of a credit card promotional offer.

[Image Source: Shutterstock]

View Comments (18)


  1. rylan

    April 8, 2019 at 4:55 pm

    Wow and this is supposed to be a good thing? Its really a joke… they’ve basically taken away everything and are giving a token loser prize to try to make pax feel better.

  2. DCAFly

    April 8, 2019 at 6:46 pm

    Probably a seat coupon per every $100K EQDs

  3. am1108

    April 8, 2019 at 7:29 pm

    Its more like a raffle… Loyalty is getting ridiculous, this is what you get when you allow 6-7 airlines to turn into 3

  4. FlyingNone

    April 8, 2019 at 7:30 pm

    Single coupons, family coupons ?

  5. glob99

    April 8, 2019 at 7:49 pm

    Next, coupons for the lav.

  6. fotographer

    April 9, 2019 at 3:30 am

    what an insult to those traveling on AA, is it not enough that all airlines are charging for almost everything, next they will impose a breathing fee on the plane

  7. j2simpso

    April 9, 2019 at 10:12 am

    I’m waiting for the day that EXP are on a waiting list for their seat assignment to clear :p

  8. rowingman

    April 10, 2019 at 6:27 am

    I don’t understand all the carping about this. To Ma and Pa Kettle, or even to entry level Advantage members, this coupon is worth $25 to select a “premium” Y seat (MCE, exit row etc). To elites on AA, this is meaningless. But to entry level, valuable. Send Bridget and Doug a thank you note. Seriously. Why complain if they are giving you essentially $25 coupons? If you are elite, ignore this entire thread and continue with your day.

  9. avw

    April 10, 2019 at 12:32 pm

    Not sure I trust AA with this. Are they planning to use this to replace the current free seat selection that Elites now have? That would NOT be good!

  10. popperj

    April 10, 2019 at 1:02 pm

    Does this mean that we’re going to see seat selection disappear as a perk for FF status? Otherwise, this is pretty useless for anyone platinum or above, no?

  11. MileageGeek

    April 10, 2019 at 1:12 pm

    I’m going to say that within 10 years from now there will be no frequent flier programs. This is the airlines and hotels way of slowing getting rid of these costly programs. Methodically and slowly reduced and devalue until the day comes to just pull the plug completely. There may still be some super high level program for only their absolute best cash customers.

    The credit card companies will all have their own points system where they just purchase the actual ticket/stay themselves after a redemption.


  12. MitchR

    April 10, 2019 at 1:17 pm

    One of the benefits of elite status is that most of the premium seats are available for free for us. If non-elites can get them with a coupon it means less aisles and windows available for the real FF’s. Since it is nearly impossible to get an upgrade, even as an XP, I am hanging onto premium seat selection as one of the few perqs left.

  13. got2scuba

    April 10, 2019 at 2:26 pm

    American destroyed their loyalty program and they think this is the answer? There is virtually no reason for me to favor American over any other airline now. Now I just choose the cheapest fare without regard to the airline. I wonder if American makes enough off of the credit card deals for miles to offset what they lose since I no longer care if I fly American?

  14. azmojo

    April 10, 2019 at 2:34 pm

    A coupon for something that costs them nothing.

  15. mvoight

    April 11, 2019 at 11:53 pm

    How much “loyalty” is required to get these? That seems to be taking seats away from the loyal flyer who have the status that would normally get them these seats free

  16. mvoight

    April 12, 2019 at 11:34 pm

    azmojo – “cost them nothing”
    There would be an opportunity cost as it prevents them from collecting fees for those seats.

  17. cybdiver

    April 13, 2019 at 11:57 am

    So for now 99 dollars a year I have a platinum AA card and I keep getting moved further and further to the back of the line when buying a ticket. It used to move me to group 1 priority, now anyone with a hang nail gets to go in before me. 26 years a customer and I’m treated worse than baggage. That free bag is only good on domestic flights. There is no list of who to shop with to get extra miles. I’ve been paying for the extra room seats and always someone gets moved up for free. People sitting in the back get on before me and take up the overhead space at the front because they don’t want to carry their bag to their seat. So I get on with front seat and the bins are full. Bag must match seat or be tossed. Got yelled at recently by an FA because I didn’t do what she wanted fast enough. Forget the fact she still had have the plane to board. The couple next to me actually commented on how restrained I was that I didn’t give her a what for. Somewhere in the bowls of AA is my complaint letter. I’ve been a passenger since planes had propellers. I got your seat coupon right here. Over 4 million miles flying I show you a seat or two.

  18. LovePrunes

    April 13, 2019 at 12:39 pm

    I think it’s kind of a nice effort by AA from the way it’s presented. There is very little threat to elite privileges of picking MCE seats by people who rarely fly (they aren’t elite level status) and who have to “save up” a coupon for once in a blue moon “redemption” to a preferred or MCE seat. Let’s people have something to shoot for that might make their journey a little nicer, and in practice won’t be a threat to me. Jeez.

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