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Speculation: New American AAdvantage FF Program Features (Discussion)

Speculation: New American AAdvantage FF Program Features (Discussion)

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Old Dec 1, 14, 10:53 pm   -   Wikipost
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Whatís next

We plan to bring current Dividend Miles accounts into the AAdvantage program in 2015
(date as yet unspecified - JD). That means we will combine your award mileage balances, your Million Milerô balances, and your elite-qualifying activity from both programs. In the meantime, continue to book travel and earn miles as you normally would. We will follow up with you when we begin the process of integrating accounts, but rest assured your miles and elite status are safe as we work to combine the two programs.

It will take some time to fully integrate our loyalty programs, including everything from the systems that support them to bringing our terms and conditions in line with one another. We will be sure to keep you updated as changes occur
.
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Old Jul 27, 14, 9:51 pm
  #886  
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Originally Posted by eponymous_coward View Post


Well, bankruptcy and the tremendous amount of capital destruction in the airline industry through Kilkenny cats-style competition has a bit to do with "being reduced to several large providers". I don't think that a business model that's predicated on every so often demoralizing employees through pay cuts, pension cuts, broken contracts is particularly one that's worthy of celebrating as the ideal of competition.
Excellent point that seems to be lost on a lot of people. When the FF programs were the most generous-- even to the $200 transcon ticket FFer-- the airlines were bleeding cash to the point where most had to eventually file for BK protection.
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Old Jul 29, 14, 2:59 pm
  #887  
 
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Originally Posted by newyorkgeorge View Post
FF programs are becoming devalued. Airlines will continue to fall over each other to attract the premium paid transcon and International/Long haul flyer. But for the mostly domestic business flyer or heavy leisure flyer the days of glory are fleeting fast. This is what happens when competition is reduced to several large providers. If there are any new entrants, probably unlikely, they will likely be of the Spirit and now Frontier genre.
It seems like airlines don't ever think about this, but a lot of us who are sometimes premium paid customers are sometimes cheap-o fliers too. Right now AA gets most of my airline spend, including for a decent number of long-haul business class (and occasional first class) tickets because I know that I'm going to have a generally acceptable and often pleasant experience when I'm not flying one of those expensive tickets. If AA continues to make their economy product suck more and more and then significantly dilutes the frequent flier program on top of that, like JDiver I'll just switch to using whichever airline is best for any particular flight. Fortunately these days for not that much more than a coach ticket you can usually buy some sort of premium product that gives you a reasonably tolerable coach experience and both domestic first class and international business is often sold at a reasonable premium over coach so I'd probably end up with similar experiences as when I was an AA Elite, without having to worry about what alliance or frequent flier program to use.
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Old Jul 29, 14, 5:11 pm
  #888  
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Originally Posted by jordyn View Post
It seems like airlines don't ever think about this, but a lot of us who are sometimes premium paid customers are sometimes cheap-o fliers too. Right now AA gets most of my airline spend, including for a decent number of long-haul business class (and occasional first class) tickets because I know that I'm going to have a generally acceptable and often pleasant experience when I'm not flying one of those expensive tickets. If AA continues to make their economy product suck more and more and then significantly dilutes the frequent flier program on top of that, like JDiver I'll just switch to using whichever airline is best for any particular flight. Fortunately these days for not that much more than a coach ticket you can usually buy some sort of premium product that gives you a reasonably tolerable coach experience and both domestic first class and international business is often sold at a reasonable premium over coach so I'd probably end up with similar experiences as when I was an AA Elite, without having to worry about what alliance or frequent flier program to use.
Or a much better F product for not too much more.

I have been EXP for a long time and CK for the last 5 years. I am spoiled. As is Mrs. Wjj who is PL. But I am retiring soon and CK will go by the wayside and I can extend EXP maybe another couple
of years. But after that, all I am is lifetime PL.

We have a second home in SWFL so we fly ORD/RSW a lot. So we alternate buying P fares or discounted coach and use miles to upgrade (no fee for CK). I know, some will ask why bother for a 3 hour flight, but I am 6'4" and Mrs. Wjj is....well spoiled.

Upgrades on this route are iffy even for an EXP. PL (which is what Mrs. Wjj is, is out of the question much of the time...and in a few years, that is all I will be).

So we look at DL. Recently, looking at a flight I needed to take down there, AA cheapest Y was $480 RT. AA P was just under $800. DL discounted F (equivalent to AA P) was $555. Connecting in ATL. Yes, there is a difference between non stop and a connection, but at some point, one just saves the money or miles and flies the competitor. DL has 6 to 8 flights from ATL to RSW daily depending on the time of year, so even if we miss a connection, the wait is not very long.

For purely personal and very selfish reasons, I hope the new program has a forth tier at 75k with lifetime benefits at 3 or even 4mil miles. Lifetime PL after I retire is not looking so good based on where I would be flying.
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Old Aug 3, 14, 9:39 pm
  #889  
 
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Future of off-peak TATL awards

I've tried a search on this thread, but I haven't read the whole thing, so pardon me if this has been covered.

I know it's only speculation, but what do people think of the chances that the off-peak U.S.-Europe awards at 20K each way in Economy will survive? If it's not likely (as I fear), do you think there will be a window of time when US and AA miles can be merged and this award will be available?
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Old Aug 3, 14, 10:47 pm
  #890  
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Originally Posted by rove312 View Post
I've tried a search on this thread, but I haven't read the whole thing, so pardon me if this has been covered.

I know it's only speculation, but what do people think of the chances that the off-peak U.S.-Europe awards at 20K each way in Economy will survive? If it's not likely (as I fear), do you think there will be a window of time when US and AA miles can be merged and this award will be available?
US's offpeak coach award to Europe round trip is 35K.
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Old Aug 4, 14, 7:11 am
  #891  
 
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OK, but the Jan. 15-Feb. 28 time is not very interesting to me. Do you think that's how it will wind up? I'm looking for off-peak awards valid until May 15.
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Old Aug 4, 14, 8:00 am
  #892  
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Originally Posted by rove312 View Post
Do you think that's how it will wind up?
No idea, but this would seem to indicate that US is willing to fill their offseason capacity in the form of cheap awards as well, so you can't assume that award won't be around.
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Old Dec 1, 14, 3:46 pm
  #893  
 
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Speculation: Which comes first, spend-based mileage or devaluation?

Hi all,

I'm trying to plan a mileage strategy for 2015. There are two things that the new combined AA-US could do to make their frequent flier program less valuable for travelers like me: switch from granting miles based on miles flown to miles based on spending, and increase the number of miles required for awards or upgrades. Both of these changes have already been made on other carriers and discussed at great length in this forum.

My question for the FT community is, assuming that both of these unwelcome policies are likely to be implemented eventually, which is likely to happen first? If they switch to a spend-based system before devaluing existing miles, then I should buy all my tickets next year in cash, to maximize the number of miles in my account before I lose the opportunity to accumulate them with deep-discount long-haul fares. Conversely, if they devalue miles before switching to a spend-based system, then I should seek to empty out my account now and travel on awards whenever possible, since those miles will be able to buy less travel in the future than in the present. Which do you all think would be a superior approach and why?
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Old Dec 1, 14, 5:12 pm
  #894  
 
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I think you're safe for 2015...

I think you're safe for 2015. They'll wait for the rest of us UA schmucks to move over completely and hope that inertia will keep us here when they announce the changes in 2016...

If I were marketing their FFP, I would keep the big advantage they have defining their program at the moment: miles flown = miles earned. I therefore propose that it'll be a devaluation we see first.

Last edited by DirtyDan; Dec 2, 14 at 1:28 am
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Old Dec 1, 14, 5:33 pm
  #895  
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There is no reason for AA to muck with their program in 2015. They have enough on their hands integrating the old AA and US programs and have already said that they won't change to spend-based in 2015.

It would shock me if the 2016 program does not look a lot more like UA and DL's programs. Largely because AA will need to think its EXP ranks of the former US CP's who make status flying lots of short hops because of the nature of the US domestic route system.

It is worth remembering that the vast majority of FF's don't pay attention to the program and view award tickets, upgrades and all that stuff as a bonus. While that is not apparent from FT, it's the reality. It is also worth remembering that the FT mantra that a spend-based system is bad simply wrong. It's a zero-sum game and there are many winners out there from spend-based and they are very very happy.
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Old Dec 1, 14, 6:16 pm
  #896  
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Not sure why you're worrying about such things now, rather than at this time next year when we know if there will be major changes to how miles/status are earned in the new combined AAdvantage. There were some mileage adjustments earlier this year so I wouldn't expect any major changes in the redemption side either until next year.
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Old Dec 1, 14, 6:21 pm
  #897  
 
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
...AA will need to think its EXP ranks of the former US CP's who make status flying lots of short hops because of the nature of the US domestic route system.
The counterargument goes that AA is taking care of this by increasing from 100 to 120 the number of segments needed to qualify for ExPlat.
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Old Dec 1, 14, 6:28 pm
  #898  
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First will come the complete merging of the 2 programs that will likely happen in 2015. 2016 changes? All bets are off. I do believe douggie is waiting for the merging step to complete so he can start to make the major changes of all types
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Old Dec 1, 14, 7:02 pm
  #899  
 
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Often1--I think the reason why there is a consensus that shifting to spend-based mileage and status is bad is that it concentrates the perks of travel in fewer hands. The people who will accumulate tons of miles and privileges in spend-based programs are precisely the people who can already afford to pay full sticker price for F or J. So they will wind up with a bigger share of upgrades and free flights--benefits they might simply have paid for the old way--while those of us who lack such financial resources or corporate sponsors will travel less and be stuck at the back of the plane when we do. That may well be the profit-maximizing strategy for the airlines, and we can't blame businesses for trying to make money. But I disagree that it is zero-sum for the consumer: the utility lost by people who used to buy cheap long-haul tickets for mileage and status is greater than the utility gained by the bigger spenders who will be replacing them as top-tier elites with overflowing mileage accounts.

Shareholder--I am worrying about this now because I need to decide now whether to try to redeem as many miles as I can for awards in 2015, or to continue buying cash tickets and adding more miles to my account. That decision is influenced by my expectations about both the method by which miles will be credited and how much travel they will be able to buy in 2016 and beyond.
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Old Dec 1, 14, 7:03 pm
  #900  
 
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
It would shock me if the 2016 program does not look a lot more like UA and DL's programs. Largely because AA will need to think its EXP ranks of the former US CP's who make status flying lots of short hops because of the nature of the US domestic route system.
Agree that the program will likely change for 2016 and that thinning EXP ranks will be one of the objectives.

Disagree that it will be because of former US CP. Business travelers buying expensive short hops can be very profitable. More likely cause will be all the low value elites fleeing DL/UA since cheap long haul tickets will no longer earn big miles. Changes are already being seen as AS changes their earn rates to deflect becoming the dumping ground for dis-enchanted DL flyers.
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