Public evidence of possible changes to Million Miler Program?

 
Old Apr 30, 11, 11:14 am
  #631  
 
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Originally Posted by gemac View Post
Yeah, but how do you really feel?
I dont like what AA is doing in general....however inn this case Elite status is getting watered down and to get a lifetime elite status it should be based only on your BUTT IN THE SEAT!!! BIS MILES ONLY and then make Lifetime status more rewarding by a few extras!!

AA is getting stingier all the way around these days !!
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Old Apr 30, 11, 11:27 am
  #632  
 
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Originally Posted by favalarry69 View Post
to get a lifetime elite status it should be based only on your BUTT IN THE SEAT!!! BIS MILES ONLY
Please change the record...this is getting (already is) repetitive, boring and adds nothing to the discussion.
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Old Apr 30, 11, 12:10 pm
  #633  
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Recap of Maya Leibman's remarks on the subject yesterday morning (4/29/2011) at Randy's confab, excerpted from the View from the Wing blog.
Leibman confirmed that American is looking at changes to their million miler program. In answer to another question later on the propositon of elite level customers, she reported that her Gold and Platinum ranks were a bit more swelled than at the other programs as a result of the million miler program (one reason they feel they need to make changes). But she reported that the details of the changes were not completely final, most importantly though she assured that the changes would be clearly communicated to members in advance, that there would be notice rather than suggesting that the changes were either already in place (as some have speculated) or that the changes would go into effect in a metter of days or weeks. Bottom-line: folks should be able to learn about the changes, and then transfer in all of their Starwood pointsÖ or perhaps even that a credit card signup bonus now will make it possible to push members over the top for a given lifetime elite status threshold. Recall, of course, that the current method of earning Americanís lifetime status is to obtain over 1 million miles from any source in your account for Gold, or 2 million for Platinum. Fortunately I received my 2 million mile status over the past summer, Iím guessing that the changes will prevent me from making 3 million miles (for another set of international upgrades, but not higher status) in the near future. Though we donít know whether only flight miles will count or whether itíll be flight miles plus some other miles although it will no longer be miles from all sources that count.

Last edited by dayone; Apr 30, 11 at 3:51 pm Reason: Correct date.
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Old Apr 30, 11, 1:56 pm
  #634  
 
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Originally Posted by favalarry69 View Post
I dont like what AA is doing in general....however inn this case Elite status is getting watered down and to get a lifetime elite status it should be based only on your BUTT IN THE SEAT!!! BIS MILES ONLY and then make Lifetime status more rewarding by a few extras!!

AA is getting stingier all the way around these days !!
I understand that BIS only is best for you but why do you think that you know what is best for AA?
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Old Apr 30, 11, 2:08 pm
  #635  
 
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In answer to another question later on the propositon of elite level customers, she reported that her Gold and Platinum ranks were a bit more swelled than at the other programs as a result of the million miler program (one reason they feel they need to make changes).
Is "the other programs" = OW carriers, or other domestic carriers? It makes sense to me that AA would "feel the need" not to be "swelled" compared to their OW partners (e.g., int'l lounge access). But it makes little sense to me that AA would "need to make changes" because United and Delta have fewer elites.

AA probably feels the need to make changes because their elite ranks are swelling in an absolute sense, but any comparison to other domestic carriers seems disingenuous to me.

----

P.S. I was just reading more of this blogger's posts and see an Apr 22nd post stating the following:

This generosity has swelled the elite ranks. Now, million miler members tend to be good customers and this approach has underscored that frequent flyer programs aren’t just about rewarding frequent flyers anymore, customers earning miles through other means are generating real revenue for the program as well.
Now I wonder how much of this whole "swelled the elite ranks" is Maya's words or this blogger's own take on the matter.

Last edited by LAX_Esq; Apr 30, 11 at 2:16 pm
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Old Apr 30, 11, 2:36 pm
  #636  
 
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Originally Posted by $1500forGLD View Post
Is "the other programs" = OW carriers, or other domestic carriers? It makes sense to me that AA would "feel the need" not to be "swelled" compared to their OW partners (e.g., int'l lounge access). But it makes little sense to me that AA would "need to make changes" because United and Delta have fewer elites.

AA probably feels the need to make changes because their elite ranks are swelling in an absolute sense, but any comparison to other domestic carriers seems disingenuous to me.

----

P.S. I was just reading more of this blogger's posts and see an Apr 22nd post stating the following:

I also wonder if this means that AA will make regular qualification for elite status tougher as well starting in 2012....??





Now I wonder how much of this whole "swelled the elite ranks" is Maya's words or this blogger's own take on the matter.
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Old Apr 30, 11, 2:58 pm
  #637  
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I haven't read all 636 posts but I haven't seen anything that changes my opinion about 1MM/2MM:

(1) The programs make AA's partner miles more valuable than the competition's. When I know I have to buy miles as part of a product bundle, I actively look for AA miles over UA or DL - even in years when my UA status is higher.

(2) I very seriously doubt that the existence of the lifetime levels meaningfully and statistically impacts the flying experience of "regular" Plats/EXP's at all. In other words, the ratio of infrequent-flying Lifetime Plats occupying F seats to "regular" Plats occupying F seats is so negligibly small that it's immaterial. The guy who flies 50k this year isn't losing out on upgrades to the 2MM flier who flies once a year. The EXP flier is obviously unaffected. (I focus on upgrades since that's the potential scarce good that "swelled ranks" would compete for.)

To me, it seems in AA's business interest to keep the levels as they are. Selling partner miles is profitable and this program marginally increases demand for AA vs. UA/DL. Eliminate the program and the three majors effectively become equal. Some prefer OW, some prefer *A, some prefer ST - the point is that AA would lose the one "hook" they had to make a frequent *A or ST flier (like me) pass up their preferred miles to buy AA miles in all sorts of different product bundles. That's profit/revenue that far exceeds any tiny cost of providing the elite status to me (which I can only gain value from if I ... wait for it ... fly AA.)
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Old Apr 30, 11, 4:48 pm
  #638  
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Originally Posted by $1500forGLD View Post
Is "the other programs" = OW carriers, or other domestic carriers? It makes sense to me that AA would "feel the need" not to be "swelled" compared to their OW partners (e.g., int'l lounge access). But it makes little sense to me that AA would "need to make changes" because United and Delta have fewer elites.

AA probably feels the need to make changes because their elite ranks are swelling in an absolute sense, but any comparison to other domestic carriers seems disingenuous to me.
Many of the other OW carriers neither have lifetime status or even do status the same way at all, in many cases because they have a completely different (or no) definition of "domestic". Domestic UK travel on BA is always one-class, so there's no such things as domestic upgrades on BA. And I can't see how there can be any such thing as "domestic" flights at all within Hong Kong (ie, for Cathay)! But anyway, there's fairly little that's status based that AA fliers compete with other OW fliers for: domestic upgrades don't work across OW, waitlists for miles/SWU upgrades don't work across OW (at least not in the typical cases that most people actually use them), etc. So it's down to priority check-in, prioirty boarding, lounge access, etc.

On the domestic issue: I don't' think the concern over "a bit more swelling" can be viewed by looking at the million imiler issue alone. It could be (but I none of this as a fact) that AA has also been evaluating adopting UDU (unlimited domestic upgrades) for PLT and/or GLD, ie getting rid of the need for "stickers" for those status leels (as is currently the case at AA for EXP only), and decided that UA/CO and DL can do that only because they have relatively tight control year-to-year of the ranks of each level (they can dynamically make it easier or harder to achieve elite status), while AA because of its relatively "swell" million miler program has only very long term control over its elite ranks.

Yes, if you don't consider UDU alongside, then comparing any "swelling" of AA relavity to UA/CO and DL may not be important. But if you're also looking at possibly broadening UDU down to more status levels (than just EXP, which not coincidentally is the only status level for which you cannot get lifetime staus), then comparing their million miler approach to that of the domestic competitors which have UDU and comletely different million miler program may be very relevant.
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Old Apr 30, 11, 5:06 pm
  #639  
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Originally Posted by pinniped View Post
I very seriously doubt that the existence of the lifetime levels meaningfully and statistically impacts the flying experience of "regular" Plats/EXP's at all. In other words, the ratio of infrequent-flying Lifetime Plats occupying F seats to "regular" Plats occupying F seats is so negligibly small that it's immaterial. The guy who flies 50k this year isn't losing out on upgrades to the 2MM flier who flies once a year.
This is an oversimplification. Yes, obviously, anyone who flies lots of times a year cannot be losing out on upgrades more than once to someone who flies only once a year. But they can still lose out that once, especially if lifetime status people tend to do mostly leisure travel booked far in advance, given that AA's current upgrade priority is based on time of booking within each status level. (Of course, AA could "fix" that by changing the algorithm for booking type, but for whatever reason they so far have felt that this simple algorithm is the best one.)

Furhtermore, the lifetime status person is not necessarily flying only once, but perhaps a few times. In fact, they may have LT PLT, and be flying enough to qualify for GLD for all you know, but they get PLT instead of GLD priorirty for upgrades. (Of course, I've proposed that there are probably way more LT GLDs than LT PLTs before, but I don't acutally have hard facts, just my theory. )


Originally Posted by pinniped View Post
To me, it seems in AA's business interest to keep the levels as they are. Selling partner miles is profitable and this program marginally increases demand for AA vs. UA/DL. Eliminate the program and the three majors effectively become equal. Some prefer OW, some prefer *A, some prefer ST - the point is that AA would lose the one "hook" they had to make a frequent *A or ST flier (like me) pass up their preferred miles to buy AA miles in all sorts of different product bundles. That's profit/revenue that far exceeds any tiny cost of providing the elite status to me (which I can only gain value from if I ... wait for it ... fly AA.)
Well, there's precedent. Somehow Delta went through this same process around 1997 (from all miles counting, to mostly only BIS counting now including alliance partners). Now, the landscape was different in 1997 (I don't think FT quite existed yet, did it?, and were people churning Delta credit cards then the way they churned Citi cards the past decade?), but Delta did decide that it wanted to do it more like UA (BIS only not including alliance partners) than staying like AA. Of couse, since it was at least the "second last" to change from "all sources" to mostly "BIS only", it wasn't "the only left" with a unique program the way AA has been since.

Btw, that's one thing BIS only proponent(s), like favalarry69, don't take the time to make clear: If you think it should be BIS onlly, should it be Delta-style BIS on all elite-earning metal (ie, simply lifetime EQM), or should it be UA-style BIS on AA metal only? Why does one major competitor think it's better one way and the other think it's better the other way?

(Actually, the same question can be asked of anyone who feels it should be more than BIS only but less than "all miles count".)
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Old Apr 30, 11, 11:41 pm
  #640  
 
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Originally Posted by sdsearch View Post
This is an oversimplification. Yes, obviously, anyone who flies lots of times a year cannot be losing out on upgrades more than once to someone who flies only once a year. But they can still lose out that once, especially if lifetime status people tend to do mostly leisure travel booked far in advance, given that AA's current upgrade priority is based on time of booking within each status level. (Of course, AA could "fix" that by changing the algorithm for booking type, but for whatever reason they so far have felt that this simple algorithm is the best one.)

Furhtermore, the lifetime status person is not necessarily flying only once, but perhaps a few times. In fact, they may have LT PLT, and be flying enough to qualify for GLD for all you know, but they get PLT instead of GLD priorirty for upgrades. (Of course, I've proposed that there are probably way more LT GLDs than LT PLTs before, but I don't acutally have hard facts, just my theory. )



Well, there's precedent. Somehow Delta went through this same process around 1997 (from all miles counting, to mostly only BIS counting now including alliance partners). Now, the landscape was different in 1997 (I don't think FT quite existed yet, did it?, and were people churning Delta credit cards then the way they churned Citi cards the past decade?), but Delta did decide that it wanted to do it more like UA (BIS only not including alliance partners) than staying like AA. Of couse, since it was at least the "second last" to change from "all sources" to mostly "BIS only", it wasn't "the only left" with a unique program the way AA has been since.

Btw, that's one thing BIS only proponent(s), like favalarry69, don't take the time to make clear: If you think it should be BIS onlly, should it be Delta-style BIS on all elite-earning metal (ie, simply lifetime EQM), or should it be UA-style BIS on AA metal only? Why does one major competitor think it's better one way and the other think it's better the other way?

(Actually, the same question can be asked of anyone who feels it should be more than BIS only but less than "all miles count".)
BIS only means actual miles flown on AA or American Eagle or American Connection...No 500 mile minimum or elite Bonuses unles you want to make that a benefit of EXP and maybe PLT members...The 500 mile minimums and bonuses still counting for yearly EQM and RDMs.

I wonder if AA is going to tinker with the miles/points/segments needed for yearly qualification for elite statuses?
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Old May 1, 11, 4:43 am
  #641  
 
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Originally Posted by audio-nut View Post
I understand that BIS only is best for you but why do you think that you know what is best for AA?
Isn't that one of the main rules of FT posting - what's best for the poster is best for the airline? That's one of the reasons FT posters know more than airline executives about how to run airlines.
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Old May 1, 11, 5:27 am
  #642  
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Originally Posted by $1500forGLD View Post
Is "the other programs" = OW carriers, or other domestic carriers?
In the context of her comments it was a reference to DL, US, CO and UA.

Originally Posted by $1500forGLD View Post
But it makes little sense to me that AA would "need to make changes" because United and Delta have fewer elites.

AA probably feels the need to make changes because their elite ranks are swelling in an absolute sense, but any comparison to other domestic carriers seems disingenuous to me.
The point being made was in the context of the question "are elites really all that special when we see upgrade waitlists of dozens of people on some flights?" so it wasn't necessarily that they all want to have the same number of elites but that the 1MM and 2MM levels on AA have more and that can make it harder to deliver value to those customers.


Originally Posted by $1500forGLD View Post
Now I wonder how much of this whole "swelled the elite ranks" is Maya's words or this blogger's own take on the matter.
She said those words directly based on my recollection of the events.

I had a slightly different take than gleff did on her comments regarding changes. He interpreted her reply as that something is definitely changing. I think she probably meant that but she didn't actually say it. More like a "we are always looking at ways to improve the program" type of comment that means everything and nothing all at once, depending on how much you want to read in to it.
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Old May 1, 11, 5:34 am
  #643  
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Originally Posted by magic111 View Post
Like some others who have posted my preference is holding a position in AMR for about 7 to 10 days. Bought on Monday after reading the blogger's "alpha" article before market open. Sold on Wednesday around noon for +6%. Not even going to whine that if I sold today it would have been over 8% as the 6% will easily buy this retiree a couple more flights.

OK back to the regular program about the speculation and those who whine about the speculation. Just keep it from getting personal
Haha! I don't think it was a personal post. I have no ill-will toward AMR (yet).

Originally Posted by shawbridge View Post
Is that a change? When I was LT PLT but not BA Gold, I didn't think that BA let PLTs into their lounges. So, either I was mistaken or they've changed the rules.

I'm both LT PLT and BA Gold, but I steer some trips to BA miles so that I can remain Gold. Interesting.
No. Last summer, my g/f and I endured a ridiculously long flight from VFA to LHR, then toured Buckingham Palace. We were so appreciative of the showers in the Club Hurl lounge. Sooooooo needed since we were on safari just 24 hours before. I wish AA would scrap their Admirals Club system. They all suck.

Originally Posted by pinniped View Post
(2) I very seriously doubt that the existence of the lifetime levels meaningfully and statistically impacts the flying experience of "regular" Plats/EXP's at all. In other words, the ratio of infrequent-flying Lifetime Plats occupying F seats to "regular" Plats occupying F seats is so negligibly small that it's immaterial. The guy who flies 50k this year isn't losing out on upgrades to the 2MM flier who flies once a year. The EXP flier is obviously unaffected. (I focus on upgrades since that's the potential scarce good that "swelled ranks" would compete for.)

To me, it seems in AA's business interest to keep the levels as they are. Selling partner miles is profitable and this program marginally increases demand for AA vs. UA/DL. Eliminate the program and the three majors effectively become equal. Some prefer OW, some prefer *A, some prefer ST - the point is that AA would lose the one "hook" they had to make a frequent *A or ST flier (like me) pass up their preferred miles to buy AA miles in all sorts of different product bundles. That's profit/revenue that far exceeds any tiny cost of providing the elite status to me (which I can only gain value from if I ... wait for it ... fly AA.)
I think the "swell" would still be a problem even w/o LT status because AA is just a better programme than DL or UA. I mean, redemption has always been way easier on AA than its competition. I have a SkyPesos balance that I will never be able to get rid of because their redemption values for all flights are ridiculous. And UA, well, let's just say that if UA/CO were not part of the *alliance, then I would totally ditch them. I hate that CO is merging w/ a turd like UA. It's like when Chase Bank takes over the competition (or... for you Star Trek nerds... it's like when the Borg takes over a civilisation). Both tend to incorporate all the things we hate about the parent company, and "resistance is futile."

Originally Posted by sdsearch View Post
Furhtermore, the lifetime status person is not necessarily flying only once, but perhaps a few times. In fact, they may have LT PLT, and be flying enough to qualify for GLD for all you know, but they get PLT instead of GLD priorirty for upgrades. (Of course, I've proposed that there are probably way more LT GLDs than LT PLTs before, but I don't acutally have hard facts, just my theory. )



Well, there's precedent. Somehow Delta went through this same process around 1997 (from all miles counting, to mostly only BIS counting now including alliance partners). Now, the landscape was different in 1997 (I don't think FT quite existed yet, did it?, and were people churning Delta credit cards then the way they churned Citi cards the past decade?), but Delta did decide that it wanted to do it more like UA (BIS only not including alliance partners) than staying like AA. Of couse, since it was at least the "second last" to change from "all sources" to mostly "BIS only", it wasn't "the only left" with a unique program the way AA has been since.

Btw, that's one thing BIS only proponent(s), like favalarry69, don't take the time to make clear: If you think it should be BIS onlly, should it be Delta-style BIS on all elite-earning metal (ie, simply lifetime EQM), or should it be UA-style BIS on AA metal only? Why does one major competitor think it's better one way and the other think it's better the other way?

(Actually, the same question can be asked of anyone who feels it should be more than BIS only but less than "all miles count".)
I'd be interested to see what the numbers behind LT GLD/LT PLT members actually are. I think the "swell" argument is rubbish. Also, I think that any change to BIS would have to be DL in nature given AA's TATL cooperation w/ BA and IB. I would be surprised if the change to BIS didn't include flights on BA or IB.

Originally Posted by favalarry69 View Post
BIS only means actual miles flown on AA or American Eagle or American Connection...No 500 mile minimum or elite Bonuses unles you want to make that a benefit of EXP and maybe PLT members...The 500 mile minimums and bonuses still counting for yearly EQM and RDMs.

I wonder if AA is going to tinker with the miles/points/segments needed for yearly qualification for elite statuses?
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Old May 1, 11, 6:29 am
  #644  
 
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Originally Posted by dayone View Post
Recap of Maya Leibman's remarks on the subject yesterday morning (4/29/2011) at Randy's confab, excerpted from the View from the Wing blog.
Thanks, dayone. What this tells me is that I'm still likely to hit 1 million (currently at 904,000 with a plan to hit 1 million by year end), but 2 million is probably out of the question because I don't fly enough. Their game, their rules, they can do whatever they want, but what it means is that I'll be expending a lot less energy accumulating AA miles after I hit 1K, probably won't bother transferring miles from my husband's account, etc. Bottom line- they'll lose revenue from me.
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Old May 1, 11, 7:12 am
  #645  
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Originally Posted by Athena53 View Post
Thanks, dayone. What this tells me is that I'm still likely to hit 1 million (currently at 904,000 with a plan to hit 1 million by year end), but 2 million is probably out of the question because I don't fly enough. Their game, their rules, they can do whatever they want, but what it means is that I'll be expending a lot less energy accumulating AA miles after I hit 1K, probably won't bother transferring miles from my husband's account, etc. Bottom line- they'll lose revenue from me.
But not much, it appears. You're obviously not going to stop flying AA, otherwise you wouldn't bother with the other 96K miles to get to 1M. And transferring miles from your husband's account doesn't really produce any business for AA, just some small fees, perhaps, for the transfer.
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