Last week I received a call from a woman who identified herself as with American’s ‘executive liaison office’ asking about how I feel about American and AAdvantage as one of their most valued customers.
- I told them that I could abide by higher award prices (devaluation) if it meant better availability, but we’ve gotten worse saver award davailability.
- There are fewer systemwide upgrades given to 100,000 mile flyers, but we can’t use those anymore either, since January there’s not even availability to use them on domestic flights most of the time (since American switched inventory buckets from A to C for confirmed upgrades from coach to domestic first). Fewer systemwides should mean more availability not less.
- I told them that revenue requirements for earning elite status are fine if once they decide someone is a valuable customer they treat them well every time, but basic economy fares mean there’s a cash co-pay to access the benefits I’ve earned on each ticket now.
If I spend $30,000 a year but buy the cheapest tickets they offer me once on a leisure trip I don’t even get to sit next to my family? That isn’t right. She agreed emphatically with me on this. And said she’s heard similar things from other customers.
- When I needed to book travel in the past I used to just go to AA.com, which meant I might pay more and connect through Dallas when other airlines offered non-stop. American treated me well, so they got the bulk of my wallet share. I’ll still qualify for Executive Platinum this year but I’ve flown Southwest and United fairly regularly and I’ve flown Delta, Alaska, and Virgin America for my domestic travels too. I look at schedule and price now as primary determinants of my travel because AAdvantage killed loyalty.
American Airlines New York JFK
All of this will mean absolutely bupkis of course. But the woman calling claimed that,
It’s great feedback, I agree with you on these things and I’ve been told that now that we have our revenue ship righted we’re planning to distinguish ourselves from the competition again.
I don’t know the details but we’re planning to really set AAdvantage apart from other programs soon. Watch for that announcement.
Ultimately I expect that changes coming to AAdvantage won’t be significant relative to the negative changes that have been made over the last two years.
American Airlines Chicago O’Hare
The woman who called me did give me 10,000 miles as an apology and for taking the call.