American Airlines is addressing 2020 and 2021 Elite status requirements. After waiting a week or more longer than other major airlines, American Airlines is awarding elites with an extension to current status through January 31, 2022. In addition, for those who do decided to fly in 2020, American is making status easier to attain. American Airlines will also extend Admiral club membership by 6 months. Trying to address all questions at once, American has put together a comprehensive plan for frequent flyers.
Today’s announcement covers the following:
- Extending elite status for AAdvantage members until Jan. 31, 2022.
- Reducing elite status qualifications for 2020.
- Extending Admirals Club® memberships purchased from American for 6 months.*
- Introducing up to $400 special credits for future travel on American Airlines Vacations packages for elite members.**
- Every dollar spent on an eligible AAdvantage co-branded credit card through the end of 2020 will count for one mile toward Million Miler℠ status.
- Award reinstatement fees waived for travel through September 2020.
“We are grateful to our AAdvantage members and want to show them that loyalty is a two-way street,” said Bridget Blaise-Shamai, Vice President of Customer Loyalty & Insights and President of the AAdvantage program. “When people are ready to fly again, we will be there to help them reconnect with loved ones, friends and colleagues.”
Extended AAdvantage Elite Status
Like almost every other program American is extending status. American Airlines AAdvantage members will automatically receive an extension of their current elite status through Jan. 31, 2022. These updates will be reflected in member accounts in a few weeks. This is quickly becoming the new norm. Southwest Airlines is the only remaining major US airline that has not made a similar move.
Admirals Club Membership Extension
Admirals Club memberships and One-Day Passes purchased from the airline will be automatically extended for 6 months beyond their expiration date as part of American’s effort to care for customers. This is exactly the same decision that Delta, United and Alaska made.
American Airlines Vacations credit
Unique to American Airlines, American is offering Elites a special bonus offer! Elite members will receive a special credit up to $400 to use toward an American Airlines Vacations package. The idea is to give customers something to look forward to when travel resumes. Customers can receive the credit when they call American Airlines Vacations to book a trip. More information will be available from American Airlines in the near future.
Lowered Elite Qualification Requirements
The airline has lowered AAdvantage elite qualification requirements for all of 2020. AAdvantage members will achieve status more easily during the current elite qualifying year through lower Elite Qualifying Dollar (EQD), Elite Qualifying Mile (EQM) and Elite Qualifying Segment (EQS) requirements.
Previous and new elite qualifications
|Gold||Platinum||Platinum Pro||Executive Platinum|
Reduced Qualifications for Executive Platinum Rewards
Members who qualify for Executive Platinum status previously received a choice of one reward upon reaching 150,000, 200,000 and 250,000 EQMs. Lowered EQM requirements in 2020 will now make these rewards more attainable. Someone who makes it to 90K EQM, could earn 6 System wide upgrades (SWU)! This is amazing since in non-pandamic years, someone who flies 90,000 EQM would not even earn one SWU!
|90,000 EQMs||120,000 & 150,000 EQMs|
|2 systemwide upgrades||2 systemwide upgrades|
|40,000 bonus miles||40,000 bonus miles|
|Gift of AAdvantage Gold status||Gift of AAdvantage Platinum status|
Credit Card Spend Counts Towards Million Miler
Unique to American Airlines, now credit card spending will count again towards Million Miler status. We haven’t seen this in years! From May through December, every $1 spent on eligible AAdvantage credit cards equals 1 mile toward Million Miler status! From what I understand, credit card bonus miles/sign up miles do not count towards million miler status.
Making Travel More flexible
The airline is also giving members more flexibility with waived reinstatement and change charges for awards booked by May 31, 2020 for travel through September 30, 2020. This in addition to other change fees waiver and flexibility already announced my American.
Award travel ticketed on or after June 1, 2020 will include free changes if made at least 60 days in advance. A new variable fee structure based on elite status and days before departure will apply to any changes made fewer than 60 days in advance:
|60 days or more||At least 7 days, but fewer than 60||Fewer than 7 days|
I think the changes are great, although I think the waiver shouldn’t be only for 60 days out. The world is rapidly changing. American Airlines should consider reducing this to 14 days or 30.
American Airlines Elite Approach
Although many people may argue that American Airlines was slow to come to the table with their plan for frequent flyers, I would argue American Airlines did it right. They not only are addressing current and future elite status requirements, but they are even looking after the less frequent traveler. American Airlines did this by addressing change fees for even award tickets for those with no status. They also added a unique spin on Million Miler status by allowing Credit Card points count towards status. Earn miles from the ground! Finally, many airlines have said they will have unique options throughout the year, but instead of waiting, American is already announcing those promos. For example, those who do somehow travel 90K miles can earn additional awards such as system wide upgrades or bonus miles.
Way to go American Airlines, I think you really hit the ball out of park with this announcement. What do you think of American’s announcement?