American Reveals Revenue-Based Earning Date and Changes to Elite Status

American AAdvantage has too many elite members after their merger with US Airways, and now that they bonus premium cabin fares with extra elite qualifying miles.

They’ve also been the only major US program without an elite tier between 50,000 and 100,000 qualifying miles.

American is announcing several changes to their elite program today that go into effect next year. And they’ve announced the date on which American will start awarding miles based on the cost of a ticket rather than distance flown — a change that Delta and United already made.

I spoke with AAdvantage’s Bridget Blaise-Shamai this morning about the changes they’re making.

Revenue-Based Mileage Earning Goes Into Effect August 1

Back in November American announced that they would mimic Delta and United with mileage-earning for flights based on cost of your ticket instead of miles flown in “late 2016.” That was subsequently revised in future communications to be ‘the second half’ of 2016.

At this time 500 mile minimum redeemable miles earning (but not elite qualifying miles earning) for elites will go away.

The actual change goes into effect for travel (not tickets purchased) August 1 onward. American-marketed flights, whether on American-issued tickets or partner-issued tickets, will earn based on the price of the ticket (inclusive of fare and surcharges, but not taxes).

We’ll know soon enough how good American’s IT is in tracking ticket prices booked through corporate booking sites and including partners on the same ticket. United had real teething problems with this.

The change to mileage-earning for flights doesn’t affect credit card earning, or any of the 6 in 10 AAdvantage miles earned for things other than flying

And it doesn’t change anything for flights marketed by partners, those still earn based on distance and class of service (although American has reduced earning for discount classes of service for many partners). It also doesn’t affect American tickets sold with vacation packages, bulk fare tickets, or student tickets.

American’s website will start showing miles and elite-qualifying credits earned from different itineraries in the booking path. (It would be nice if they’d finally show how many qualifying miles were earned for each trip in a member’s account summary.)

Last month I said this wouldn’t happen July 1, and that we’d get about two months’ notice. Both of those predictions are bearing out.

However I wasn’t prepared to bet on August 1 because coming changes to Basic Economy will also require significant updates to American’s booking path in order to upsell customers. I’d have expected Basic Economy to take priority for IT resources. Nonetheless, rumblings for awhile have been that this change was coming sooner than later (and I wasn’t ever convinced by the folks saying they had credible reason to believe it wouldn’t be until October 1.

Here’s how revenue-based earning may affect you.

New 75k Elite Tier

In February word leaked that AAdvantage would introduce a new elite tier.

The first four-tier elite program in the U.S. came about through the US Airways acquisition of America West. America West has a 75,000 mile top tier. US Airways had a 100,000 mile top tier. Why make any of your customers unhappy?

Then when Delta and Northwest merged, they each had 75,000 mile top tiers, but the combined airline became at the time the largest in the world. So they kept their 25,000, 50,000, and 75,000 mile levels and added a new 125,000 mile level on top.

United and Continental merged. They each had three levels, with Continental’s top tier at 75,000 and United’s at 100,000. So they kept all four tiers — just like US Airways had done — and offered 25,000, 50,000, 75,000 and 100,000 mile levels.

American took a different path. Since they basically moved US Airways Dividend Miles onto the AAdvantage platform, and made as few changes as they could to get as smooth an integration as possible, they were left with 3 tiers and a very big gap between 50,000 and 100,000 qualifying miles.

That will change in 2017. Next year they’ll offer a Platinum Pro level which can be earned starting January 1, 2017 (for the 2018 elite year which runs through January 31, 2019).

  • Platinum Pro will be oneworld Sapphire just like Platinum elites.

  • It will earn 9 miles per dollar psent on tickets (compared to 8 for Platinums and 11 for Executive Platinums). Interestingly, this 80% bonus compared to base member earning is still less than the 100% bonus on miles flown regular Platinums earn today.

  • Platinum pros will receive complimentary domestic upgrades starting 72 hours from travel. They will no longer need to spend 500 mile upgrade certificates.

  • Companion upgrades will work in a similar fashion to companions for Executive Platinums. Platinum Pro members will not earn 500 mile upgrade certificates.

New Minimum Revenue Requirement for Elite Status

Like Delta and United, American will be requiring minimum spend for elite status in additional to qualifying miles-earned starting in 2017 (for earning of 2018 status).

And like Delta and United, the minimum spend requirement will be 12 cents per mile. This is actually much lower than average revenue per mile at the airline, so the median customer won’t see a change. But the lower-spending customers will have a hard time earning status. In fact, the customer spending $5000 a year and flying 100,000 miles to become an Executive Platinum now will get busted down to Gold.

Here’s the spending and mileage requirements for each status level starting next year:

This applies to all members worldwide and not just to US-based members like competitor programs have done. Unlike other airlines with minimum spend requirements for status, American will award elite qualifying dollars for partner flights. If the flight has an American Airlines code, it earns based on the cost of the ticket. If it has a partner flight code (and the partner earns qualifying miles, not all do) then elite qualifying dollars will be awarded bsaed on distance and fare class (with new charts for this expected to be released in mid-July).

None of this affects the status you’re earning this year and will be able to enjoy next year as a result.

They are “still working through options” for waivers of the spending requirement for elite status for co-brand credit card holders. Delta waives the spend requirement for status with $25,000 in spend on a Delta American Express card in a year. United waives the spend requirement for status up to the Platinum level with $25,000 in spend on a United co-brand in a year as well.

American may have news on this front later, but doesn’t have anything to commit to today. Of course they’re in the midst of re-upping their credit card co-brand deal as well. It would be surprising to me if at some point the eventual winning bank doesn’t insist on adding a component like this at least.

AAdvantage elite ranks were swelled by premium cabin bonuses towards status (first ‘elite qualifying point’ bonuses and now multiples of qualifying miles on premium fares. As the world’s largest airline with a much more comprehensive route network it’s also far easier for a customer to stay on one airline now and earn status.

More Elites Mean More Elites in Coach More Often

On net Bridget tells me their modeling suggests that there will be ‘very modest declines’ in the number of elites compared to before bonuses towards status kicked in 18 months ago.

Bridget also tells me that in the next month or so elite member accounts will also start showing detailed histories of elite qualifying activity — not simply the year-to-date total that they show today — so that’s great news at least.

Changes to Upgrade Priority

“Later in 2017” American is going to change upgrade priority. Currently upgrades are sorted based on elite status and time of upgrade request.

That is going to change to sorting upgrades based on elite status and “12-month rolling EQD total” — so the amount you’ve spent on American tickets will determine your place in the upgrade order.

The change affects both domestic and international upgrade priority. It doesn’t affect other wait lists.

Although there won’t be too many occasions where two passengers on the upgrade list have the same elite status and same exact trailing spend, Bridget reports that “booking code and time of request” will be tie-breakers after rolling elite qualifying dollars.

American isn’t following the path of prioritizing full fare on given ticket over status, but since Delta has walked away from that it’s no surprise American isn’t doing it either.

Instead they’re directly rewarding higher spend elites with a better shot at upgrades, and taking upgrades away from lower spending customers.

Previously Concierge Key — American’s revenue-based recognition program — didn’t provide official upgrade priority. But Concierge Key members earning their status via spending will now have priority for upgrades for Executive Platinums who aren’t spending enough to become Concierge Key.

This change also really devalues lifetime elite status. A lifetime Gold or Platinum who isn’t flying regularly and continuing to spend as much with American will always be at the bottom of the upgrade queue.

AAdvantage though points out that their lifetime customers remain “fairly active” and they see it as “consistent with how the industry has evolved” and that it’s the “right to be doing for finite benefits, where there is more demand than supply.”

AAdvantage is still “waiting on IT to get a go-live date for this” change.

Upgrades on Domestic Awards for Executive Platinums

Also “later in 2017” Executive Platinum (and Concierge Key) members will become eligible for complimentary upgrades from economy to business class when redeeming miles for coach tickets on domestic upgrade routes.

This is available for one cabin upgrades on coach tickets, it does not offer upgrades on business class awards to first class on three cabin aircraft.

Upgrades will be prioritized within status tier, but below all other revenue tickets.

Executive Platinum companions will be eligible for upgrades as well, under the same standards as revenue tickets.

It’s strange in a way that they’re introducing upgrades on $0 fares just before they’re expected to announce ‘Basic Economy’ lowest fares that exclude elite upgrades. You’ll be able to upgrade if your ticket price is $0 but not if your ticket price is low but still above $0.

American is Increasingly Like Everyone Else

On net the winners here are:

  • 75,000-99,999 mile flyers with average spend and above who get a new tier above Platinum with upgrade priority and closer to previous mileage-eanring
  • Big spenders overall as a result of reduced competition within their status tiers and prioritizing of their upgrades.

Those who retain Gold and Executive Platinum will also have a higher bonus miles earning percentage compared to general members than they do today (regardless of whether they’re earning more or fewer miles than under distance-based earning).

Of course these members already took it on the chin with the award chart devaluation in March (so the miles they earn are worth less). So it’s not all sunshine and unicorns even for high spending frequent flyers.

American is putting out a quote from Andrew Nocella, American’s Chief Marketing Officer (who the President of AAdvantage reprots up to), that “American Airlines is evolving AAdvantage to continue our tradition of having the best loyalty program in the world by rewarding our most loyal customers with the benefits they value the most.” I find evolving to continue their tradition to be rather off in this case.

They’ve introduced revenue-based mileage-earning, just like Delta and United. They’re introducing 4 elite tiers with minimum spend of 12 cents a mile, just like Delta and United. They’ve devalued their award chart, just like United (Delta hides theirs, but keeps devaluing it too).

Their 75,000 mile elite tier and some form of upgrades on domeestic award tickets also follows Delta and United.

Delta President Glen Hauenstein and American President Scott Kirby are both outspoken that they want customers to get the product they’re paying for, and pay for the product they want. And when you do that, you buy that product from whomever has the best schedule for it at the lowest price. That means less of an emphasis on loyalty — the loyalty program because less of a reason for customers to choose an airline when that airline is less convenient or more expensive.

American continues to move in lock-step with the industry which isn’t at all surprising. If you want to know what either United or American will do, there’s no better guide than looking at what Deltais already doing.

That said, I asked Bridget what distinguishes the program going forward. She pointed to “the great things we’re doing as an airline, building out the network with ever more services out of LA, massive capital investment with aircraft (one coming every week), inflight product and lounges..” She also pointed to “Executive Platinum status as a point of distinction, with [Systemwide upgrades] still on any booking code, transferable, with the opportunity for customers to earn additional [Systemwide upgrades].”

Finally, their message is that AAdvantage is “continuing to build upon a platform of great success, engaging our customers, and ensuring our most loyal customers are getting the best rewards and best access.”

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. Will AA give lifetime 75K status? For how many miles? And what additional benefits come at the 75K level?

  2. Wow some of these changes are TERRIBLE. Once my Plat status runs out at end of 2017, I’m done with AA.

  3. Pretty much as expected, actually. The key missing element–and one of the most important–is a credit card waiver for the spend requirement. Waiting for that with anticipation.

  4. So, basically, if you earn your EXP primarily flying premium cabins on OW partner airlines on the partner airline’s code, you should see little change to how you qualify for elite status and how many miles you earn. Is that a fair statement?

  5. August 1st will be the last date I’ll fly AA after 40 years of being a loyal monthly flyer. No one who is not an Elite flyer and is paying attention would continue when receiving only 750 miles for the same flight that now gets 2800.

    But then that explains why they’re getting away with it. The vast majority of the flying masses who only fly occasionally don’t pay any attention to the miles they earn, or don’t even collect them. They don’t take the time to follow this, shop around to see that Jetblue will now be giving 1 extra mile per dollar, or try to figure out how to do all their flying via Alaska which is the lone holdout to give actual mileage flown.

    This is very similar to the way that ignorant voters gave away almost the entire middle class by voting for elitist economic policy that benefitted and grew only the richest’s share, just so they could continue to stew in ignorant racism. It’s so bad now that just to satisfy their hate ya-ya’s they may vote for a transparent con man and racist as craven as they are.

    The fault for these deprecations small and large is not in the stars, it is in ourselves. It remains to be seen no longer if we are an ignorant people, but whether we are the most ignorant people on earth.

  6. Gary – do we know how AA will go about miles from RTW tickets? If ticketed AA, will it be equivalent to the ticket cost, even if I have only on sector flown AA metal? And if tocketed by another OW partner, subject to distance charts? Thanks

  7. Timing is perfect for me to bow out of the EXP game now that my spouse works for one of the big 3 carriers. It won’t be won’t be worth it anymore. Bye AA, it was a nice ride over the past decade. Hope you get your you know what handed to you during the next recession…

  8. I have the same question as Carol. Given that AA has gone the way of UA and DL with revenue requirements, earning, and tiers, can we also expect them to add lifetime “Platinim Pro” at 3MM. It only seems reasonable. Personally, I wouldn’t hit it for some time, but t would be nice to have as a goal.

  9. @Travis there hasn’t been any mention of a new higher lifetime elite tier. US Airways only had Silver as their top lifetime offering, and they were late at introducing even that. Still, could certainly come in the future. But here we are seeing lifetime status become worth less, so more generous lifetime tiers doesn’t seem the direction they are headed. How much have you spent lately (in the trailing 12 months)?

  10. @Burg tickets on AA-coded flights will earn based on ticket price, tickets on partner-coded flights will earn based on distance and fare class.

  11. With these changes, I’m finally done with AA. The advantage program was the only thing that kept me loyal. Out DFW/Love, there’s simply better options with a better product now. These changes are a good reason to finally cut bait.

  12. @Ryan we cannot say that quite yet because we do not know what the charts will look like for partner flights. As a rough approximation that’s a reasonable guess, subject to revision when the charts come out sometime next month.

  13. @Carol additional benefits at the 75k level are complimentary domestic upgrades, higher priority in the upgrade queue, and more miles earned per dollar spent on tickets.

    There’s no indication of a Platinum Pro lifetime elite tier.

  14. Maybe a dumb question, but EQMs are still based on distance/fare class correct? And then there’s just an additional revenue component for 2017?

  15. @Ryan
    you would need to meet the minimum spend. This is AA’s way to force you to fly them, I guess.

  16. thanks Gary and a good feature provided it is a reasonable formula, as we don’t know how that will be accounted for as per AA’s website yet
    “Flights marketed by oneworld® carriers and Alaska Airlines will earn EQDs based on a percentage of the flight distance and the fare class purchased”

  17. Can’t wait for another round of bankruptcies. Wipe out the pensions and hang ’em high!

  18. I’m not a high frequency business traveler so not the target for this, though I have spent more thank 3K on AA flights. Nonetheless the benefits are not significant enough to engender loyalty.

    Just like airlines are are making decisions based on revenue, I will make decisions based on cost. Loyalty will not enter the picture.

  19. @Greg — I can understand while you’re unhappy with these changes — heck, I’ve enjoyed earning thousands of miles on $99 transcons for years — but the reality is that “loyalty” doesn’t make sense for the airline. Airlines are businesses: they are in business to make money. Everyone can be a Monday Morning Quarterback and claim the airlines CAN make more money with overly-generous loyalty schemes, but my money is on the airline execs who think it’s better to give frugal travelers less (especially since, as you’ve observed, the vast majority of the public is clueless about this stuff).

    BTW, I think it is very wrong to equate these reasonable business decisions with the current Presidential election. I think it’s reasonable to believe that Americans should be “pickier” and wiser in selecting their political leaders (and that goes for both major parties). But should travelers demand better frequent flyer programs? I don’t know: those $99 transcons seem like a pretty freakin’ good deal to me. It’s sure a better value that what most folks seem to spend their money on. Even with the resurgence of the industry, airline profits are not higher than that of other industries that seem to engender less hate.

  20. @Gary, I’ve always wondered what they might do to encourage lifetime members to increase their spend, and I guess they’ve found their way. Although to be frank, it’s not like many of my upgrades are clearing with the current Platinum priority. 🙂 Anyway, my spend is probably about $3,000-$4,000 at this point.

    Admittedly there’s a selfish angle here, but think that adding 3MM is a positive additional approach to encourage spend, as it gives lifetime folks something more to shoot for (beyond the SWUs) as well, and their rolling spend requirement would ensure we didn’t get in the way of big spenders if we did not have strong years.

    Travis @ 2.652MM 🙂

  21. Wall Street strikes again! Having flooded the programs with billions of sign-up bonuses (and making the airlines more dependent on their buying miles for cc users than we actual flyers), we’ve seen first the devaluation of the charts, and now the decimation of the award programs themselves for those who fly the most (and thus are elites). Given it’s the Corporate Elite who are flying on premium fares, it’s the 99% who are once again the losers.

    It will be interesting to see what AA flights will be earning in OW partner programs in the next few months.

    Since I’m heading into the final stretch towards 70, my flying was going to taper off anyhow. Can’t complain about the benefits and flights taken over three decades of these programs. 2017 was to be my final year as an ExecPlat, lifetime Gold doesn’t mean much any more but at least Priority Pass and Amex lounges will make airports bearable.

    Suppose we should all break out into a chorus of: “It’s the end of the world as we know it…”.

  22. @iahphx
    it has already been established that you work for one of the big 3 and you are attack chihuahua for them, so most likely your comments on this forum will not have a positive impact
    I am done with AA and if will need to fly them will credit to alaska program for full mileage…
    you are wrong ion giving credit to your bosses as they are shortsighted

  23. Welp, it seems American is now back to being like the other two carriers, so I’ll probably shift most of my flights back to UA (since I’m near SFO and they have a lot more E+ on their planes). Oh well, I guess we knew it was coming. It’s so annoying how identical all the programs become, no longer helps actually pick an airline.

  24. @DavidB it was the airlines that flooded the market with miles, not the banks or wall street. Take your idiotic classwarfare soundbites and retire to some place where only the deaf can be witness to your soapbox politics

  25. Booking partner marketed flights for travel from Aug 1 is quite the black box from an RDM perspective until July 15. They could have just plug and played with the current rates, but since there are clearly going to be new rates, we can safely assume they will be worse than the current rates.

    Thoughts on whether EQM for partner marketed flights is likely to change as well on July 15? As Gary said, they already cut EQM and RDM on partners earlier, but that is clearly not going to stop them from doing it again.

    The 2017 EQD formula is also unknown for OW & AS marketed flights. No EQD for EY marketed flights.

  26. I understand the comments of those justifying the airlines’ cutbacks in frequent flyer programs on the grounds that they are simply making sound business decisions. BUT those sound business decisions are being made in the context of an oligopoly. Restore more competition and we’d be seeing more robust FF programs as well as fewer cutbacks and perhaps even better benefits in other areas. But, having achieved their oligopoly, the big US airlines will continue to block real competition.

  27. I will need to see what AA does to the Advantage program and the benefits once they announce basic economy fares. If Basic Economy fares and the “regular” economy fare above it aren’t in my best interests then it will be time to move on.

    The changes are indeed negative for frequent flyers unless you’re a high spender. Having a co-brand CC spend waiver for the $12K spend will help as I’m not sure I can do $12K annually in airline spend.

    Biggest winner out of this may very well be Southwest and Alaska.

  28. For this year, would EQM earning be based on distance traveled while Award miles earned be based on money spent?

    I booked a flight CMH-DFW-SFO-DFW-CMH a month ago for $250 which is in late August.
    Given I’m Platinum, is my assumption right that I would earn 250×8= 2000 Award miles while my EQM would be still 4780?

    Can someone confirm this please?

  29. Lucky, being younger and possibly less diplomatic than you, has put it the best: AA offers the worst FF program now (by a small margin), in addition to the the worst in flying experience (by a big margin) which it always did.

    I don’t feel any hostility towards AA, nothing like “I’ll never fly them again”, etc. However from 2017 onwards, I am more likely to resemble a free agent than loyal to any carrier.

    Which is good: There are many interesting carriers out there that have intrigued me but I never flew them. All because I wanted to remain on track with EXP, AA RDMs, etc. Hello, new friends!

  30. @AKTCHI I don’t think that’s right. Delta has a better and more reliable flight product. There are certain elements of SkyMiles that are equal to or better than AAdvantage once these changes go into effect but I don’t think that SkyMiles will be better across the board. I think there are some modest pluses to MileagePlus (routing rules and number of partners allowing for better availability) but it’s not clear United is a better inflight product than American is.

    These changes significantly reduce the variance between the programs.

  31. The way I read the announcement, tickets purchased before late June, even if for travel after Aug 1st, still earn miles based miles.

    But now it appears they removed this statement.

  32. Would have been a little more palatable had AA also announced Plat Pro lifetime status at 3 million miles. Would have not cost much for such an olive branch given the fact that upgrades will now be prioritized by EQD spend. Little incentive to fly past 2 million mark or , for some, to try for 2 million. Platinum a lot less valuable with the reduced upgrade window of 48 hours and a new tier with unlimited free upgrades at 72 hours.

  33. The airlines have all forgotten the reason to have a FF program; OPM. Other People’s Money. When flying on business, many of us have a choice, but are spending our company’s/client’s money. Therefore by creating personal incentives with a great Frequent Flyer program, they can drive more business.

    I don’t understand what the possible attraction in losing that benefit could be. US airlines are terrible compared to international options. The only reason to ever choose them on an international trip is either when flying to Africa, or due to Frequent Flyer Program.

  34. Gary, any idea when “later in 2017” means regarding upgrade priority changes? If it’s much earlier than 7/1, I might as well stop trying for EXP again now. I’m probably among the lowest EQD ExPlats out ther, buying sub $500 (and lately, sub $350) Lax-Mia RTs. Certainly the RDMs would be better credited to AS if possible.

    I don’t suppose you can get EQMs on AA metal and somehow get RDMs on AS for the same flight, can you?

  35. @beachfan AAdvantage says they don’t have guidance from IT yet on timing for changes. No, you can’t get elite qualifying miles on American while earning redeemable miles for the flight in a Mileage Plan account.

  36. @Max I agree that would have been great (even at 4 million!). However the clear trend here is ‘how much revenue have you given me lately’ (12 month trailing spend) not lifetime loyalty. And remember that US Airways was late to offer lifetime elite status and only offered lifetime silver.

  37. After 9 years as an EXP, my flying on AA dipped a bit in 2015. Now, I am just a 2MM lifetime Platinum. I have still flown AA in 2016, but have credited those flights to AS. I anticipate that AS will lower RDM/EQM earnings on lower AA fares to the levels they award on discounted DL fares. As long as the AS/DL partnership lasts, I plan to fly DL instead of AA.

  38. @Randy it is absolutely based on travel date not purchase date. And it was clear from the original announcement too I think..?

  39. @Doug — I don’t work for any airline company, but I do have investments that will rise in value if airlines make money (well, that’s debatable: right now, the record profits in the airline industry have been very bad for airline shareholders — perhaps you should take your wrath out on Wall St?). I’m also a very frequent flyer who has spent decades “gaming the system,” so I kind of see both sides of the coin.

    There is no doubt in my mind that there have been low-revenue travelers who have taken advantage of “the system” to gain outsized rewards from the airlines. Myself included. I could whine about it, but it’s “just business” when the airlines adjust their policies to reward higher revenue travelers (aka, the passengers who actually make them money).

    I know that it’s very hard to see the other side of the argument (where the other guy is coming from), but it’s a very useful skill. I recommend you try it sometime, instead of just calling people names.

  40. @IAHPHX
    I am very much in favor of companies making money, it is a valid argument, but your arguments consistently (in previous articles) where about defending the “smart airline executives”
    If I though that this move would generate more revenue to AA I would , as you say, see the other side of the argument, but you also need to respect the opinions of many that claim this will backfire as people will exodus in masses, so perhaps short term the planes will be full anyway, but long term they are alienating their best customers, opening the door for clients to status match and join other programs, choose on price, etc etc, and that’s never good, in any industry
    It is not just me saying this, it is many many people, much smarter than I am

  41. @Doug — You do realize that AA is simply COPYING the revenue frequent flyer program model of DL and UA, right? I mean, if moving to a revenue model was so unsuccessful and caused a mass exodus of customers, we’d probably know it by now. True?

    I really don’t know of any other industry that rewards loyalty without regard to customer spend. Heck, I think even Starbucks started adjusting loyalty credits to how expensive your beverage is (you don’t get the same number of loyalty points for buying a cheap coffee as you do buying an expensive concoction). Low rollers in Vegas don’t get the same comps as high rollers. This is just the way commerce works, and nobody starting a frequent flyer program these days would structure it like it’s 1981. Executives like Doug Parker aren’t stupid and mean. They’re just businessmen. As I say, it’s useful to see the other side.

  42. @IAHPHX
    I am not implying he is mean or stupid, all I am saying (and many others) is that long term this is not a wise business decision, and that is my and others, opinion
    In regards to people leaving, you can see in this post that gary is rightfully assuming that many folks today asked for status match with alaska airlines, people do leave, and they don’t always come back, and if you assume that gary is right by saying that airlines award more miles through credit cards than through flying, then the loss of revenue might, long term be ‘greater than the savings
    AA is copying as you say, and by being the last one, they are throwing away the last piece that made their program the absolute best, they have the right to do it, and I have the right to do what I think is best for me, and in my particular case for example, that will be flying LAN/DELTA /AEROMEXICO, to all the destinations I flew with american, and credit the miles to alaska program, after I get a status match, and if alaska changes, I will then find another solution…
    happy flying

  43. Gary, didn’t you say it’s likely AA will not allow Alaska to give full miles for AA flights credited to Alaska? Is that their decision to make? I see that Delta only gets a portion of their miles credited.

    Will you please consider a chart showing comparative benefits of each FF program, even for us lowly non-elites?

    So far it appears besides Alaska (which also has no close-in FF booking fees) that the most miles given for non-status flights is 6 per dollar from JetBlue, the guys with the 34″ seat pitch. SW has just devalued to where I thought their chart was wrong. Who else is attractive for us?


  44. I find the SWU based on rolling the last 12-months spend not necessarily practical. Well for me anyway. I am re-qualifying early this year for Exec Plat, so I could take more time to figure what my plan for next year will be.

    But if I haven’t flown in 9 months (part this year and early next) my spend will be low, which is frustrating cause I’m willing to spend the money. It’s almost like, “spend it all up front” so I can have a shot at an upgrade.

    Time will tell, but willing to wait a bit to see how this all plays out.

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