Did American Quietly Improve Million Miler Benefits?

The American AAdvantage Lifetime Status Program

This page details million mile status benefits. It’s a published program now.

At 1 million miles you become Gold for life (that’s the 25,000 mile elite status). You also get 35,000 bonus miles.

Gold gets you main cabin extra (extra legroom seating) at check-in if available, a 25% bonus on flown miles, and priority airport services like check-in and boarding.

At 2 million miles you become Platinum for life (that’s the 50,000 mile elite status tier — currently mid-tier though if they went to four tiers I’d expect it to be second up from bottom). You also get (4) confirmed international upgrade certificates valid from any fare.

Platinum status means main cabin extra (extra legroom) seats confirmed at booking, a 100% bonus on flown miles (I’d expect this bonus to be downgraded at some point because it’s more generous than what others offer) and lounge access when traveling internationally.

And at each additional million miles accrued members receive another 4 systemwide confirmed international upgrades.

Lifetime Status Used to Be Easy to Earn

It used to be that miles from any source counted towards American’s million miler levels (miles from credit card bonuses, checking accounts, bonus miles from flights and not just miles flown, etc). That ended about 3 years ago.

American and US Airways Lifetime Miles Have Been Combined

American and US Airways lifetime miles were combined 1:1.

US Airways offered lifetime Silver status at a million miles. American offers their first and their second tier of status and gifts miles and international upgrades at their million mile levels. So with the merger of American and US Airways mileage programs some AAdvantage members get a boost in status (by moving over US Airways lifetime miles) and US Airways members get the chance at better lifetime rewards.

A Possible New Lifetime Status Benefit at American

JonNYC at TravelingBetter.com reports:

As we know EPs flying on their own SWUs are listed as VIP1– top of the upgrade food-chain along with UPG1. Non-EPs flying on gifted SWUs get listed as “VIP”– the bottom of the list along with UPG.

However, there’s a specific carve-out for million-milers using SWUS, and– quite unambiguously– they are listed as VIP1 as well!

If accurate, and his information generally proves to be, this would be news to me.

He’s writing that million miler AAdvantage members using confirmed systemwide upgrades receive top priority for their upgrades — above Platinum members — even if they are themselves Gold or Platinum.

Presumably within their ‘VIP1’ designation they would be:

  • Behind Executive Platinum members, if they do not also have Executive Platinum status.
  • Behind others of the same status who had requested the upgrade before them.

But this would suggest not can million milers earn systemwide upgrades, they get a boost in their ability to use those upgrades as well.

VIP systemwide upgrades can be confirmed at time of booking if space is available (on domestic flights, or for international business tickets upgrading to first class, into the ‘A’ bucket or for international economy tickets upgrading to business into the ‘C’ bucket). So this applies only to when a million miler waitlists for an upgrade.

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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 have always thought that million miler status should be a tie breaker for upgrades.

  2. As a lifetime plat under the old rules I can say for me lifetime Plat has little or no real value. Yes you double miles for flying etc. However all things considered under the new ways to qualify I can’t see it as anything of great importance. You get no operational upgrades without stickers. With American only EXP has a strong benefit year over year.

  3. Hi Gary,

    If I credit my CX flight miles to AA, will I be qualified for Executive Platinum after I fly more than 100K miles a year?


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