More Details Revealed About American AAdvantage Program 2015

I asked American for clarification on a few things that readers wanted to know about the new AAdvantage program, when Dividend Miles gets integrated into AAdvantage during the second quarter of 2015.

The new program will keep American’s “stickers” or e-upgrades for domestic travel. Top tier elite members get unlimited complimentary upgrades, while Gold and Platinum elites get unlimited complimentary upgrades on flights up to 500 miles and will earn free upgrades based on their flying for use on longer flights.

Historically there’s been a ‘grace period’ so that flyers wouldn’t have to use an extra certificate for ‘going over’. It’s been discussed that the grace period goes away, and American confirms this.

I asked Whether 500 mile e-upgrades will no longer have a “buffer” (a 508 mile flight will require 2 certificates) and whether this new requirement may have already even been implemented?

Any “buffer” that may have existed will no longer be there when we introduce the new upgrade policy sometime in second quarter 2015.

I wanted to know, because a few readers have asked, whether the combination of American and US Airways miles would — in and of itself — extend the expiration of an AAdvantage account.

I asked Whether moving US Airways miles to American with the integration resets the “activity date” for an American account and extends expiration or whether original activity dates get carried over?

When an AAdvantage & DM account are merged (for matched accounts), the Last Activity Date on the merged-to AADV account will be the most recent activity date in either account. So, for example, if the DM activity date was 9/15/14 and the AADV last activity date was 1/1/2014, the AADV account activity date will be updated to the DM date (9/15/14) at merge in second quarter 2015.

Several readers wanted to know, since there’s going to be both a Barclaycard-issued and a Citibank-issued co-brand credit card offering the option to earn elite qualifying miles based on spend, whether it’s going to be possible to earn elite qualifying miles via both cards on an ongoing basis.

I asked Whether it will be possible to earn up to 10,000 elite qualifying miles from each of the Citibank and Barclays premium American Airlines credit cards (so 20k total EQMs)?

Yes, this is possible. If a member has both credit cards, all EQMs will be combined into a single AAdvantage account sometime in second quarter 2015.

The new Barclaycard US Airways card that will earn elite qualifying miles is currently by invitation only.

We know that it will only be possible to apply for the US Airways card until the two programs merge — and once the programs merge, existing cardholders will be transitioned over to an American Airlines card issued by Barclays. So presumably if you want the US Airways premium card that will earn elite qualifying miles with American, you’ll need to get the basic version in under the wire.

That’s why I’m keeping my US Airways card open. I want to have the option of earning elite qualifying miles via spend from both a Citibank and from a Barclaycard credit card, to retain my American AAdvantage status even in a year that I may not fly as much.

Related: Here are the winners and losers when the two programs combine.

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. good to know.

    Any insight into how the annual miles-redeemed rebate (the get 10% of miles used back) will work if you hold both a Citi and Barclays card? Do we get to double dip or is it redundant and a capped-per-AA-account benefit?

  2. They are gonna be sticklers about 500 mile upgrades. I asked about a flight being 1503 miles and was told 4 upgrades would be needed. Ouch.

  3. Gary, I am sure this was discussed elsewhere but I had not read it clearly. What is the priority in which first class seats are given? To be precise, who gets priority when an Exec Plat and a Plat with stickers are going for the one open seat? or Am I not understanding the sticker business clearly?

  4. Great info thanks! I think it is huge for a lot of travelers that would otherwise not normally have gold status that you can earn 20k EQM (10k from each card) and only have to fly 5k to reach gold.

  5. So if I am following correct it sounds like by having both cards (again assuming getting the US Air card before the merge) one can earn 20k EQM/year if spend levels hit in perpetuity?

  6. @Mo …

    Connecting passenger
    Full fare or not
    Time of request

    Exec Plat always trunmps Plat for a complimentary upgrade [outside of irregular operations]

  7. Do AA Exec Plats have to request the complimentary upgrades, or does it happen automatically like is done with US today?

  8. @AJK – I believe I wrote in the original post on the change that we will not have the ability to transfer points back and forth prior to the programs being combined.

  9. Hi Gary,

    Are they going to amend AA’s harsh routing rules to be more flexible? That is allow USA to Australia via HKG or even Etihad from Australia to Europe as one award.


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