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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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What’s 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 Miler™ 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 Dec 1, 14, 7:30 pm
  #901  
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Originally Posted by cooberp View Post
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.
I'd argue that they've already increased the number of miles required for awards or upgrades.

Oh, sure the mileage chart for the Saaver awards may look the same, but there's way less availability than there used to be. Add the multi-tier AAnytime awards and the near-complete absence of non-surcharged premium awards to Europe, and your award travel is likely costing you more miles or cash than it did just a few years ago. If that's not devaluation, I don't know what is.
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Old Dec 1, 14, 8:07 pm
  #902  
 
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Swag, I've actually found that for my main routes--NYC to the West Coast, Caribbean, South America, and Europe--SAAver awards are still reasonably accessible. I've done open-jaw roundtrips between Europe and the US the last two years in coach for 40,000 miles + $90 (really 36,000 miles since I get 10% back with the credit card), and just reserved a one-way Business SAAver from VCP to JFK direct for January 9th for 50,000 miles + $55. Maybe I've been lucky, but there have alson been plenty more times that there's been a tempting SAAver award that I've passed up, because I needed to buy the ticket in cash in order to generate the miles to requalify for PLT status. I know that SAAver availability isn't what it used to be, but so far I've managed to dodge the bullet.
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Old Dec 1, 14, 8:25 pm
  #903  
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Originally Posted by cooberp View Post
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.
What you are describing seems to be exactly what the airlines should be striving for imo; people travelling in the cabin in which they are booked and better splitting the award miles towards those spending more on the product
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Old Dec 2, 14, 12:43 am
  #904  
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Originally Posted by cooberp View Post
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?
I think asking a board about something we have less than no collective clue on (since none of us work for AA, and even if we did, giving away the store on future program changes would be a career limiting move to say the least) doesn't really make sense. You might as well consult a Ouija board.

Originally Posted by cooberp View Post
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.
Miles are a depreciating asset, no matter which program you're in. It's quite possible AA could announce a new award chart sometime in 2015, or they could give it a miss until merger dust settles. They could announce a new chart AND a new earning style at the same time. It's all up in the air.

I'd point out that AA charges less miles for business TATL (50k o/w) than DL (62.5k o/w) or UA (57.5k o/w), so it's a near-certain lock the miles for awards you use will go up.

So... why do you want the shiny 2016 AA Platinum card? What value do you place on it in dollars and cents? That valuation probably should give you your answer.
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Old Dec 2, 14, 5:57 am
  #905  
 
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Originally Posted by cooberp View Post
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.
Hoarding / collecting in ANY points-based program is a 100% losing proposition. The current value of your miles / points will always be greater than the future value. There are no programs (at least that I'm aware of!) that are making award redemptions easier / cheaper (less points / miles required to redeem) across the board. If you are viewing AAdvantage miles as some sort of investment you will be disappointed.
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Old Dec 2, 14, 6:12 am
  #906  
 
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Originally Posted by swag View Post
I'd argue that they've already increased the number of miles required for awards or upgrades.

Oh, sure the mileage chart for the Saaver awards may look the same, but there's way less availability than there used to be. Add the multi-tier AAnytime awards and the near-complete absence of non-surcharged premium awards to Europe, and your award travel is likely costing you more miles or cash than it did just a few years ago. If that's not devaluation, I don't know what is.
I echo that sentiment - once they "connected" the networks using codeshares from January to March, the next thing they did is implement a different structure with 5 levels of awards - on both sides - supposedly to synchronize the programs and they removed some very neat features of AAdvantage - no more free stopover on NA awards - I loved that. And the oneworld explorer awards - which I never used but can see how they could have been useful. Also, DM members still had to redeem for round-trip travel even if they didn't necessarily want to. They chose not to align that in the programs. So, clearly a devaluation already took place in both programs. Thus, I've parked quite a lot of miles in Dividend Miles and am waiting for them to become AAdvantage miles to use on one-way awards. And am currently working on depleting my AA miles. I have a huge exposure to any further devaluation of the programs as my combined balance will be over 400,000 miles, which will take a while to use up.
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Old Dec 2, 14, 6:52 am
  #907  
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Originally Posted by cooberp View Post
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?
As we already have a very active speculation thread regarding AAdvantage, I'm going to merge this in.

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Old Dec 6, 14, 1:06 am
  #908  
 
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Originally Posted by swag View Post
I'd argue that they've already increased the number of miles required for awards or upgrades.

Oh, sure the mileage chart for the Saaver awards may look the same, but there's way less availability than there used to be. Add the multi-tier AAnytime awards and the near-complete absence of non-surcharged premium awards to Europe, and your award travel is likely costing you more miles or cash than it did just a few years ago. If that's not devaluation, I don't know what is.
^ +1

I'm having a difficult time finding 'Low' redemption for J or F CONUS-EU for spring 2015. ESPECIALLY on partners, which I prefer when traveling TATL/TPAC redemption.

We all must realize those J and F partner redemptions have been costing the airlines a fortune, and now we're seeing the availability narrow and a 'quiet push' towards AA/US-owned metal in an effort (presumably) to reduce the cost to redeem. I haven't a clue what the airlines actually pay one another for J or F award seats, but this last spring I sure had a doozy of an itinerary for two in J. I'm sure the cost was NOWHERE near cheap for the airline; HOME-ORD-YYZ-ZRH/ZRH-NRT-ICN-SFO-HOME all on *A partners via USDM - 110k p/p.
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Old Dec 6, 14, 1:06 pm
  #909  
 
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Originally Posted by coastalguy View Post
^ +1

I'm having a difficult time finding 'Low' redemption for J or F CONUS-EU for spring 2015. ESPECIALLY on partners, which I prefer when traveling TATL/TPAC redemption.

We all must realize those J and F partner redemptions have been costing the airlines a fortune, and now we're seeing the availability narrow and a 'quiet push' towards AA/US-owned metal in an effort (presumably) to reduce the cost to redeem. I haven't a clue what the airlines actually pay one another for J or F award seats, but this last spring I sure had a doozy of an itinerary for two in J. I'm sure the cost was NOWHERE near cheap for the airline; HOME-ORD-YYZ-ZRH/ZRH-NRT-ICN-SFO-HOME all on *A partners via USDM - 110k p/p.
We've seen some numbers leaked for the star alliance in the past, and it was actually pretty trivial (at or below cost of the) for everyone but Lufthansa.

I'd imagine AA would be more lIkely to add YQ than jack up the prices to UA levels, especially since we already have them with BA. My prediction for mIles needed would be incremental increases, not a big jump.
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Old Dec 6, 14, 1:51 pm
  #910  
 
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Will my bonus offers from US and AA cards combine in the second quarter 2015 when they complete the merger? I just got approved for the 50k US and 50k AA cards, I assume this 100k total will become one account AND put me at EXPLAT level?

(first post, hope this where to ask it)
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Old Dec 6, 14, 1:54 pm
  #911  
 
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Originally Posted by jasonzid View Post
Will my bonus offers from US and AA cards combine in the second quarter 2015 when they complete the merger? I just got approved for the 50k US and 50k AA cards, I assume this 100k total will become one account AND put me at EXPLAT level?

(first post, hope this where to ask it)
lol, if it was that easy. None of these miles count towards status.
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Old Dec 6, 14, 1:56 pm
  #912  
 
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i figured as much....thanks for the response
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Old Dec 6, 14, 4:30 pm
  #913  
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Originally Posted by Bttc View Post
We've seen some numbers leaked for the star alliance in the past, and it was actually pretty trivial (at or below cost of the) for everyone but Lufthansa.

I'd imagine AA would be more lIkely to add YQ than jack up the prices to UA levels, especially since we already have them with BA. My prediction for mIles needed would be incremental increases, not a big jump.
Bite your tongue!

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Old Dec 6, 14, 9:43 pm
  #914  
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Originally Posted by coastalguy View Post
...I'm having a difficult time finding 'Low' redemption for J or F CONUS-EU for spring 2015. ESPECIALLY on partners...
Just to be clear, there is only one level for AAdv airline partners.
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Old Dec 7, 14, 3:55 pm
  #915  
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
It's a zero-sum game and there are many winners out there from spend-based and they are very very happy.
This would be true only if PRASM was normally distributed (which it is not) and the breakeven point of the spend based system is where average PRASM is now (which it is not at UA/DL, the breakeven points there are higher than average PRASM, therefore, more losers than winners.)
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