If You Have Status American Airlines No Longer Considers You “Elite”

According to internal American Airlines documentation issued to coincide with the official launch of ‘Loyalty Points’ as the new way that frequent flyer tier status is earned, customers will no longer be called elite. Instead “[t]he term “Status” replaces Elite.”

Changing the nomenclature around frequent flyer status tiers seems a bit of a strange thing to fixate on, but the airline notes that they expect people that aren’t exactly frequent flyers to have status, now that status can be earned by sending flowers, buying Bonsai trees or just by buying a set of tickets to the Super Bowl.

As they explain,

With these changes we expect to see more status customers that may not be as travel savvy as our traditional road warriors, so many of them may not be as familiar with the benefits tied to their status. Hence, a good opportunity to “show we care” about their journey, regardless of
how status was earned.

The elimination of 500 mile upgrade certificates for Gold and Platinum members made sense, since those were earned in the past based on elite qualifying miles and elite qualifying miles have gone away. But this also makes sense because asking people that have done some online shopping to understand the E-Upgrade system may not make sense. Understanding the notion of upgrade inventory and priority lists will be hard enough!

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. Team Tempe continues their gutting of a formerly great airline. So sad to watch.

  2. I agree with Alan.

    American airlines should have placed a limited number of segments on each status tier.

  3. So apparently AA finally realized they created a monster. Surprised it only took ’em 6 days! /s

  4. It’s to make airline employees and customers to get the message that customers should not feel as entitled because the customers aren’t “elites”. The customers are henceforth to be more commonly recognized as just plebes with whatever status the airline wants to assign to the plebes for the day.

  5. @Courtney:

    “American airlines should have placed a limited number of segments on each status tier.”

    They did. To get the benefits of elite, I mean status, you have to fly 30 segments on AA. I fly 250K a year (pre-COVID), mostly long-haul. I have never done 30-segments on a single airline so AA status is now meaningless to me.

    Iberia, here I come.

  6. No big deal so all quit the AA bashing. They already have assigned boarding groups for each tier so doesn’t matter what they are called. Long time EP and now Platinum for life since retired. I can’t remember them ever using the term “elite” with respect to a flight (for example first is group 1, EP is group 2 etc and called to board by group not status)so absolutely no changes.

    Please get over any reason to bash AA – I fly all of them and very little real difference.

  7. @1KBrad – you are wrong. Unlike UA there is no minimum flight requirement and you can hit EP totally on spend

  8. Given the above it will be hard to status match after this year.
    I have already taken the offer from Delta. And will consider United for good measure.
    Also, how will AA treat elite customers from partners such Alaska Air or the One World Alliance?

  9. @ Gary — Well, nothing about American is elite anymore, so this change is wholly appropriate.

  10. @AC: Enjoy those systemwide upgrades that you won’t receive without the 30-segments.

  11. I always thought the use of the term elite in this context was a little chav-ish as they say.

  12. American is not an airline anymore, now it’s a bank that gives you some perks. After being a loyalty customer for over 20 years, now my platinum status has been taken away. So my flying will be at other airlines that actually appreciate loyalty.

  13. @Earl, Give your business to Delta, Alaska… but stay away from United. 6 domestic from the beginning of 2022, and NONE (yes, none) a single upgrade confirmed. United will match your status, but trust me, everyone else is also holding the same or higher status than yours, so upgrade will not happen even in your dream. Flight attendants are rude. They responded “uh huh” and walk away while you talk (politely) to them. Ticket prices are ALWAYS higher than others. Oh and sometimes, you’d connect through one of their hubs, Newark, which is always holding the worst airport title (just Google for Newark airport). If I were you, I’d avoid United at all cost.

  14. Unless you are CK at AA, all other tiers mean nothing. ExPlat = Gold in the mind of AA. After almost 4 million miles and a decade of ExPlat I bolted for UA 1K and never regretted it.

  15. Oh no!!!! You mean you might actually have to pay your own way instead of playing pretty princess and expecting the rest of us to do so for you? How will you survive!!!!! Waaaaaaa!!!!!

  16. Zack above talks about the radical left.and injects his right wing politics into discussion . Most likely he’s one of the radical racists who admires men who grab women by their genitals and make mocks the disabled

  17. I, for one, will be happy to see all the whiners here go, increases my chance of an upgrade. The 30 segments is easy, that’s an average of only 2.5 segments a month. If you live in flyover country, one round trip is usually 4 segments, so one RT every seven weeks gets me there. I enjoy my upgrades, but as long as I get my free MCE at booking, I’m okay if I don’t get one. The two free bags per person with priority handling and fast check-in is coming in handy too.

    Now to plot out my Oneworld transatlantic business class flights at 50-66% off – you just have to find the seams in the system.

  18. The interesting thing is that upgrades are based on rolling loyalty points… it does NOT take into account flights, milage, or segments at all in the upgrade calculations.
    I’m at 86,000 Loyalty Points so far…
    I look forward to ya folks walking past me while I’m seated up front in Domestic, or when I turn left when boarding International.
    The game changes, and if you want to play, you play by the new rules.

  19. Well it is true the US Airways leadership who took over legacy American Airlines has ran it to the ground so there’s no surprise they continue to inject their low budget no service philosophy into the customer experience while belittling employees who voice concern. 30 segments is effortless I don’t see what that argument is about honestly. Someone flying 250K on average is flying more than 30 segments – its possible they don’t understand what segments mean. last year i flew around 450K over 160 segments.
    I contend to American that their seat on metal loyal customers versus those who by flowers and occasionally fly aren’t the same and drastic separation should occur between groups. I also contend American need to demonstrate their loyalty to millions milers by starting the loyalty points at the status they have hold out platinum. maybe there can be some metrics for this perk if they want like aa segment minimum to stay off next qualifying year with 75,000 loyalty points or not because they are already platinum. AA you have to do better and treat your customers you are actually loyal to your existence better. Executive Platinum is a regular customer these days for real lol unbelievable.

  20. Anyone who is actually worried about not being designated as “elite” please raise your hand.

    All others having a secure self-image, let’s move on.

  21. Republicans during the Trump admin: “Wow, its really pathetic the kind of mental gymnastics that people will do to blame trump for everything. Orange man bad!! As if he controls gas prices?!?!”

    Republicans during the Biden admin: “I blame Biden for rising gas prices. Also I smashed my head in a car door 8000 times so that my brain was capable of producing thoughts this stupid, and here we go: ‘[the article posted] Sounds like appeasement to the radical left. People have status, their are not elite.'”

    Literal peak Gary’s commenting section here.

  22. @Reidy: LAX-LHR-LAX is two segments. LAX-HKG-LAX is two segments.

    I fly a lot of miles, but few segments.

  23. @ Reidy ” I also contend American need to demonstrate their loyalty to millions milers by starting the loyalty points at the status they have hold out platinum.”

    Good luck with that. As a Delta million miler, I’ve been trying to get them + Amex to change. Not yet and don’t expect it either. Frankly, as long as I don’t pay baggage fees, label me what you want. Status/Elites mean nothing. IMO it’s what you pay for a ticket counts more on the upgrade scale than is told. I know that from upgrade experience on Delta and coming out of ATL.

  24. @1K Brad- trying to understand how you could fly 250K miles per year and not hit the 30 segments. Even if you took one of the longest flight in the world at 8000 miles that would still mean 31 segments. But it is almost impossible to do that because it would mean flying that 2.5 times per month. Even if you took only international trips of an average of 4000 miles, you would have 62 segments. Assuming that you do a mix of domestic and international trips, I find it hard to believe that at 250K miles you could not do 30 segments with one airline unless you were just achieving high status on 2 or more airlines

  25. Not all my flying is on AA, e.g., HKG/TYO-LHR. AA doesn’t quite fly everywhere.

  26. @1KBrad – you were wrong on earning status. Can get EO w no flying. Sure you need the 30 segments for systemwide upgrades but I haven’t gotten those in years (retired 3 years ago and falling back on lifetime Platinum). Frankly I don’t miss them or find them that valuable.

    I fly whoever I want since lifetime on AA and DL. For example hitting United since status matches to Platinum and flying IcelandAir first (not lay flat I know) and Emirates business class.

    If you fly AA simply for the system wide upgrades and somehow think that makes you “special” or “elite” I feel sorry for you!

    Seriously has AA EVER used the term “elite” when speaking w you? I haven’t heard it in 39 years w then and the boarding groups don’t change and are based on status.

    In other words get over yourself and worry about something. That actually matters. SMH!!!

  27. @AC: What an arrogant, obnoxious, ignorant idiot you are.

    Don’t pretend you know what I do or why I do it. It is beyond your obvious level of comprehension.

  28. Sorry posted too soon – I also historically regularly flew 200-250k and would not hit 30 segments so it’s common on all long haul or TATL from hub to hub.

    LPs will work out well for me (hopefully) as I already more than requalled for EXP on AA card spend in Jan and Feb. The complexion of “status” flyers will change and I never got much out of the SWUs anyway.

  29. As long as I continue to be upgraded, I don’t care what it’s called. A comfortable seat is all that matters in the deal for me. I don’t care about sandwiches and hot towels either.

  30. Why is everyone so hung up on what it is called? As long as the benefits I want are there, I couldn’t care less about what names they use.

  31. I just flew jetBlue for the first time with the Northeast Alliance in full swing, ORH-JFK-MCO. As I purchased the Even More seat on both segments, I found myself in Boarding Group A. When Mosaics were announced to board first, the phrasing was “Mosaic Members and American Airlines Elite Members”. You have piqued my curiosity to encounter this again in the near future with the new verbiage. Parenthetically, we had 3 American elites board ahead of my at ORH and 12 at JFK

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