American Airlines Rapping Flight Attendant Celebrates Passenger’s Million Mile Status

American Airlines used to count miles from all sources – credit cards, online shopping, everything – towards lifetime status. As a result there are plenty of people not just with 7 figure lifetime miles totals with AAdvantage, but 8 figure totals. In the fictional book Up in the Air Great West Airlines counted all miles towards lifetime status and Ryan Bingham was on a quest for 1 million miles. He was being tracked by the airline along his quest and they celebrated his achievement when he reached it.

In the film version, George Clooney’s Bingham was an American Airlines flyer and on a quest for 10 million miles. Here he describes that when you hit 10 million “lifetime executive status, you get to meet the chief pilot Maynard Finch, and they put your name on the side of a plane.”

Here’s Clooney actually crossing 10 million miles inflight, and being recognized by the airline.

In real life most customers don’t get any special fanfare on American Airlines when hitting 1 million, 2 million, or subsequent million mile thresholds. Some time later members get notified of their benefits.

  • One Million Miles. Lifetime gold (“for the life of the program”) and 35,000 miles.
  • Two Million Miles. Lifetime platinum and four systemwide upgrades
  • Each subsequent million. Four more systemwide upgrades

Now that American has introduced a 75,000 mile elite tier and has made revenue-based ConciergeKey as the actual top elite tier, Platinum went from mid-tier to second from bottom. And now that upgrades are prioritized based on recent spent, mere lifetime elites no longer flying as much are at the bottom of the upgrade queue for their status level. So lifetime status with American is less of an achievement to celebrate than it once was.

American Airlines in Phoenix

Reportedly American is looking at ways to improve its million mile recognition in light of the challenge that so many members earned so many miles that counted towards lifetime status before the airline started counting only flight miles seven years ago.

Customers still get excited about it. One million miles is an achievement in its own right, even where benefits are less than what’s offered by Delta or United. Customers regularly take to social media to celebrate it.

Sometimes American Airlines will recognize the milestone live. This usually comes when you’ve pestered their social media team about it in advance, are someone with a decent following to get their attention. However there are reports of it happening.

While I didn’t receive any special recognition at one million, two million, or three million miles and don’t expect any when I hit four million, I wasn’t surprised either to see a passenger recognized on a Phoenix – London flight for crossing one million miles. The rapping crewmember here is awesome (so is the background dancer), and so simply is that the passenger was given a bottle of champagne at the end.

However this came about, I love the American Airlines crew that did this. One million miles is a special achievement even if loyalty program recognition isn’t quite what Jason Reitman’s Up in the Air made it out to be.

(HT: One Mile at a Time)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I was super lucky cuz my friend who works inside Willis Tower helped orchestrate my celebration – one my 1MM crossover flight, which happens to be a 8000-mile TPAC flight on a 777, the captain personally came over and handed me of hardcover book of UA’s history, signed by full crew of the flight.

    And 1MM was super hard for me to attain considering I’m not a business consultant and only occasionally does business travel. Took 24 years.

  2. Love these stories and these crews! My first flight was with AA when I was 6 months old. I don’t think I will ever hit it with a single carrier, but 450K with AA/USAir/TWA/Ozark and 400K with DL/NWA/Republic and 75 w/ UA/CO. . . love the celebrations.

    My Dad flew a lot in his working days. We have plaques from UA and TWA for hitting 100K in the 60’s which is a big deal back then. Also recognized by PAN AM for his crossing to Europe in the 50’s. I have the plaques in my office now. Inspiration for when I retired to get the next 500 K with AA.

  3. Ugh. Hopefully they don’t do anything like this for me when I cross my MM. How embarrassing – I don’t need to be called out in front of the entire plane. And I hate rap.

    Best way to recognize me: leave me alone to enjoy the flight in peace.

  4. The flight I crossed the MM mark, AA left my bag behind in Dallas. Honestly, that’s about what I expect from them now.

  5. I’ve got 5.2 million with fewer than 200,000 from non-flight sources. Never recognized by flight attendant, gate, or ticket agent. This year I’m Plat Pro; now I’m just baggage. First year EXP gets the seats and the perks.

  6. 1,000,000 miles at 500 miles per hour means 2,000 hours in an airplane, plus probably another 500 hours on the tarmac. That’s basically a working man’s entire year.

    Somehow I hope this is something I never achieve. But I much prefer to get where I’m going and stay as long as I can. Long ago I realized that I will never be able to “see” everything.

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