American Airlines announced that earning next year’s status – normally from travel in 2021 for status valid the rest of the year and all of the following year (through January 2023) – will have lower requirements to earn, and members can get started earning now. Travel in October 2020 through December 2020 will count twice: towards earning status this year, and towards earning status next year.
In addition, American will waive the reduced spending requirements for elite status up to Platinum Pro for members spending $30,000 on cobrand cards next years. Members earning Platinum Pro and Executive Platinum status will get new choice benefits. And as previously announced elite members now receive all of their benefits on Basic Economy fares, although starting next year those fares won’t count towards earning status at all.
Starting Earning Next Year’s Elite Status Early
Delta has ‘rollover miles’ which lets a member fly this year and apply the credit towards next year’s status if they don’t need the miles to re-earn their current status. In a world where all of the airlines have extended status, that’s an especially useful feature. It ensures that any flying a member does now isn’t ‘wasted’.
American doesn’t have that as a feature of the program however they’re going to count all “base EQMs, EQSs, and EQDs earned” from flights between October 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020 towards status this year (as normal) and also towards earning status in 2021. That means 3 extra months to earn status, so any flight activity now isn’t ‘wasted’. Moreover these flights count towards next year’s requirements that have been lowered (though not lowered as much as 2020 requirements).
American Airlines Domestic First Class
2021 Has Reduced Elite Status Requirements
American is reducing elite status requirements for next year. As a customer I like this approach better than running promotions like double elite qualifying miles or qualifying dollars. The number of required miles or segments for each tier is reduced, and the amount of spending required is reduced too (though since the average fare is lower, requiring less flying should require even less spending than this in order to tie together).
An Executive Platinum member used to need 100,000 miles and $15,000 spend. Instead they’ll need just 80,000 flown miles and $12,000 spend ($12,000 was the spend requirement until last year).
|Elite qualifying dollars (EQD)
|Elite qualifying segments (EQS)
|Elite qualifying miles (EQM)
It’s good to see the lower thresholds, and lets members plan for the year ahead and see what’s achievable for them. I don’t think the requirements are quite low enough based on my expectation for limited business travel especially in the first half of 2021. On the other hand by not lowering requirements more now there’s also room for promotions later.
2021 Will Also Have A Spending Requirement Waiver
Customers who spend $30,000 or more on AAdvantage co-brand cards in 2021 will have the elite qualifying dollars requirement waived for earning status up to Platinum Pro. The spend requirement waiver will not apply to Executive Platinum, however the Barclays Aviator Silver and Barclays co-brand business card still let you earn qualifying dollars towards status based on spend (though you cannot double dip on this using both cards).
The offer is specific to spend “that post[s] to your account between January 1 – December 31, 2021” rather than spend on statements that close in 2021. And all AAdvantage co-brand cards are eligible, not just U.S. co-brand cards.
New Platinum Pro and Executive Platinum Choice Benefits
Executive Platinums who ‘overperform’ already get additional benefits (‘choice reward’). That threshold is being lowered,
Previously, members who qualified for Executive Platinum status received a choice of 1 reward upon reaching 150,000, 200,000 and 250,000 EQMs.
For 2021, we’ll adjust the levels required to earn these rewards to 120,000, 160,000 and 200,000 EQMs.
Platinum Pros will receive a choice benefit upon qualification. All American is saying now about this is that the list will include:
- a systemwide upgrade
- Admirals Club day passes
- bonus miles
- “and more”
Upgrade To International Business Class
Executive Platinums will receive choices that they can opt for in lieu of systemwide upgrades. I wrote that this was coming about six weeks ago. Members will still be able to pick 4 systemwide upgrades (the current benefit) but they will offer “the flexibility to select from a list of additional rewards.”
Based on member surveys these additional rewards might be 10,000 elite qualifying miles; a pair of headphones; giving Gold elite status to a friend; carbon offsets; a discount on mileage redemption (such as a percentage of redeemed miles rebated); travel voucher; Admirals Club membership. American hasn’t yet said what the final list of choices looks like.