American Airlines shares a new program they’re introducing called Enhance with Miles.
Once a member earns 40,000 Loyalty Points (status qualifying points) in a year, they’ll be eligible for new experiential redemptions which grow in value at higher levels of points earned.
As members reach certain Loyalty Point Thresholds, they can redeem miles for customized experiences such as AAdvantage Executive Platinum® status for a day or the gift of status for a day to another AAdvantage® member.
As the program evolves, American will continue to add new Enhance with Miles opportunities. Unlocking the Enhance with Miles options is based on the member’s Loyalty Point threshold.
These will be available in a member’s account and they’ll notify members of eligibility by email. In this initial example they’ve laid out two things,
- Upgrade your own status for the day
- Gift someone else status for a day
At each status you achieve (e.g. Gold at 40,000 Loyalty Points, Platinum at 75,000 Loyalty Points, etc.) you unlock the ability to redeem miles for that status level, plus you can redeem for Executive Platinum status for a day as well. You can redeem twice per unlocked level.
You need to apply status for a day at least 7 days in advance, and if the member gaining status has already paid for things like seat assignments or checked bags those will not be refunded. The status also can’t be used for benefits with partner airlines, and status-based discounts on Admirals Club membership don’t apply.
I have questions out to American about the pricing of these status for a day redemptions, and about how they work with respect to claiming benefits for the day with status in advance (e.g. elite seat benefits and upgrades clearing in advance of the day of travel). (Update: upgrades will clear based on elite window for travel on the day someone has this gifted status.)
Ultimately though I’ve been arguing that airlines should offer the opportunities to gift status to friends and family for a single trip. An interesting take here is to do that and also to let you upgrade your own status for a trip – including to be a temporary Executive Platinum.
Loyalty isn’t primarily about points or benefits. It isn’t transactional. It’s about building a relationship based on taking care of customers and building trust. That’s difficult to do in a mass way, even with elite benefits because that group can number in the tens of thousands (for top elites) to the seven figures (for lowest level).
A program systematizes how guests are cared for. Benefits are part of doing that. In formulating a set of benefits it’s most important to understand what matters most to the customers that matter most. That’s often how a travel brand cares for the people the member cares most about.
The reason my wife has an authorized user card on my Amex Platinum card is so that if she’s traveling without me she’ll have access to Centurion lounges and Delta Sky Clubs (if flying Delta) and it gives her hotel and car rental status, too. I want her trips to be as smooth as possible when I can’t be there to ensure it.
At the same time the quickest way to lose a customer is to treat the people who are important to them badly. That doesn’t just hit a loyal member more than a single instance of bad treatment for themselves, it embarrasses them as well for the loyalty choice they’ve made (“I can’t believe you are loyal to ____, they are such a bad company”) in front of someone whose opinion really matters to them.
Air Canada has done a great job with their ‘status pass’. Hyatt lets Globalists confer their status for a single stay when redeeming their points for someone else. It’s great to see American build that into the AAdvantage program.
Yet another American scAAm. They took all my 500 mile upgrades and force converted them to “loyalty points” for a near-immediate expiration and a total loss. They keep doing everything they can to make decades-long loyal customers insolvent with miles they have or unable to redeem them, while going out of their way to bait-and-switch unsuspecting gullible young new customers. AA knows absolutely nothing about building trust with customers, as they go out of their way to do quite the opposite.
Very interesting Gary, thanks for the heads up on this potentially intriguing new enhancement.
To clarify a bit, If I gift Ms. DH EP status on April 1, does that mean any flights she books *on April 1* will allow instant booking into MCP seats? That would be a nice perk if she wouldn’t be booted out once her daylong status ended.
What a silly idea. AA really is scraping the bottom of the barrel. How about fixing their absolutely terrible app, making changes/cancellations/refunds online easier, and rebuilding their moribund international route network.
United shortly after the CO merger had inadvertently allowed you to confer your status to those who you gifted award ticket travel to. Managed to get quite a few free checked bags and E+ seat selections out of it before they plugged that loophole using my family’s 1K accounts.
Didn’t get any upgrades as award tickets weren’t eligible for upgrades at the time.
The changes keep on coming. How does anyone keep up with them? Many carriers do this. Thanks for the info.
Why not go the other way and invite AAdvantage Executive Platinum®, AAdvantage Platinum Pro®, AAdvantage Platinum®, and AAdvantage Gold® to downgrade themselves for a day and earn money back on a future ticket? A self-downgrade could open up elite space for the low-status AAdvantage customers.
Exec P is toilet water. Why would you want to announce to the world you are a dumpster person? This is like saying you have scabies for the day and you got it from making it with a dude in a dumpster.
@SCAAMED I realized last month that I had lost 43 500-mile upgrades they used to charge $40 a piece for, and, in exchange, gave me several thousand loyalty points that resulted in absolutely no difference to my status last year or this year. The more I think about it, the angrier I get. At the very least, we should have had the option of converting them to real miles and not these phantom business inducers.
I’m an EXP and playing by the rules with American’s new “loyalty” program. I booked an overpriced hotel through the AAHotels site, with a check out date of 3/2/23 so that the Loyalty points would be credited to THIS year’s account. Instead they credited them to LAST year, which I did not need, and here’s the kicker. They refuse to correct their own system error! For someone that’s been EXP for over 10 years. I’m not asking for money, just for them to put the 29K LP into the correct year. No skin off anyone’s back, but they refuse to do it. I have all my documentation to show the check out in this status year, but now they won’t even respond back to me when I tell them it is still incorrect. So much for loyalty!!