Maya Leibman came off confident and at ease and really genuine in her answers during her online chat with Milepoint.com members this evening.
While American has taken some heat for viewing social media as a distribution channel rather than an interactive one, her answers were anything but canned or produced. And she’s really quite funny, though I got to see that first hand at the Frequent Traveler Awards last week when she offered to Robert Wuhl to look into a “miles for sex” redemption option.
Here were key takeaways from the conversation:
- There are more than 66 million members in the AAdvantage progam
- “Last year, AAdvantage members redeemed more than 165 billion miles to claim almost 7.2 million awards.”
- Any changes to the million miler program will be done with advance notice to members
- Already earned million miler status is safe: “If we did make any changes to Million Miler the miles you’ve earned so far will still count.”
- They’re working to improve upgrades on British Airways and Iberia, they recognize the requirement to have booked an award through American in order to use American miles to upgrade is cumbersome.
- Not inclined to go to unlimited complimentary upgrades for all elites, prefer to limit that benefit to Executive Platinums
- On fuel surcharges for awards booked on British Airways, “This is BA policy.” But no explanation of why there were no fuel surcharges on British Airways awards prior to the rollout of the American/BA/Iberia joint business venture (prior to which you could book any award on British Airways except between the US and UK, but with no fuel surcharges added to the price of the award).
- Charity is clearly important to Ms. Leibman, especially American’s support for Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
- No immediate plans to offer international upgrades online or display upgrade waitlist status
- On booking partner awards online, “my hope to have this available by the end of the year.”
The chat transcript will be up at Milepoint shortly.
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