Delta has minimum spending requirements in addition to minimum flying requirements to earn what has become revenue-based elite status.
- You basically have to spend a minimum of 12 cents per flown mile to earn status ($3000 for 25,000 mile status, $6000 for 50,000 mile status, and so on). That’s less than average airfares, so inconvenient to some but not to most.
United has the same approach, basically aping Delta’s approach exactly.
Elite programs manage their costs and also the number of people at each tier so they can consistently deliver promised benefits. With planes full, Delta sees themselves as having had too many elites (their marketing approach was ‘when everyone’s elite, no one is’). But United’s business is difference so it’s unlikely that it actually makes sense to have the exact same requirements as Delta in order to get the same manageable elite tiers.
It’s been striking that American hasn’t gone to revenue-based elite status. Except that they have, and in fact they were first.
American shows how happy their premium customers are.
For several years American has offered three separate ways to earn status:
- Miles flown
- Segments flown
- “Points” which are miles adjusted up or down based on fare class. Expensive fares earn more points, cheapest fares earn fewer.
The key point is these are separate. Unlike earning bonus qualifying miles for premium fares, which get your mileage total up faster, someone who flies on a mix of expensive and inexpensive tickets doesn’t necessarily get to status faster. But someone who flies exclusively on paid premium fares can earn top status without actually flying as many miles.
American just announced that in 2015 they’re accelerating points-earning on premium fares.
That’s a great approach, and it remains separate from earning status based on miles which does not change.
Here’s the bonus earning formula
The bonus points-earning applies to American and US Airways flights, and to their codeshare flights on British Airways, Iberia, Finnair, Qantas and Japan Airlines (i.e. joint venture partners).
This is an add-on to American’s 2015 bonus-miles earning for premium cabin fares.
American is offering add on bonuses for business and first class tickets, now both in redeemable mileage-earning and for elite qualification, instead of replacing their program with a revenue-based one.
I like this approach, and hope that it works well for American and AAdvantage so that it remains attractive going forward.