Customers flew throughout 2017 for their elite benefits this year. They’ve been flying all this year on the promise of benefits they’d have for the remainder of the year (if a higher status) and next year. That’s why it’s terrible when a program takes away elite benefits during the program year.
I’d be very angry if I had just paid American Airlines $699 for Gold status, because they’ll be taking away a key benefit of Gold on September 5.
Beginning September 5, AAdvantage® Gold members will no longer receive 50% off the purchase of Main Cabin Extra seats at the time of booking. You will continue to receive complimentary access to Main Cabin Extra within 24 hours of your flight.
American Airlines has added a free drink as a benefit of sitting in extra legroom coach. And they’ll no longer allow Golds to buy into these seats at a discount.
Executive Platinum members still get a drink and a snack in economy regardless of where they’re seated. That’s nice because American’s planes have fewer and fewer Main Cabin Extra seats (the new standard 737 and Airbus A319 configuration is just 3 rows at the front of the plane plus exit rows) and I’m not always able to get Main Cabin Extra when booking close to travel.
Platinum members and above can still confirm Main Cabin Extra seats at time of booking if available for no extra charge. Golds will have to pay full price or wait until check-in. The hope there is that higher tier elites who had been occupying these seats might get upgraded freeing up an extra legroom seat for a Gold member.