Amol and I each reviewed the new changes to American Airlines’ AAdvantage program when they were announced on Wednesday. Although there’s some overlap, I took the approach of discussing what those changes mean for existing US Airways customers.
To give you a better idea of exactly what’s changing, I though it would be useful to draw up key points and display them side-by-side. This is similar to my existing loyalty program comparison tables but drilled down to the basics. It’s also not as pretty. 😛 I’m testing out a new table plug-in that may be useful for other projects in the future, like sorting lists of Fifth Freedom flights or comparing award prices for the same route booked with different programs.
In any case, here are the major changes you can look forward to when the programs merge to create the new American AAdvantage. Remember that this won’t happen until the second quarter of 2015. The exact date is still not known. Until then, the existing benefits of either program will apply.
|American Airlines Gold||US Airways Silver Preferred||NEW American Airlines Gold|
|Elite Qualifying Miles||25,000||25,000||25,000|
|Bonus Award Miles||25%||25%||25%|
|Free Checked Bags||2 (50 lbs)||1 (50 lbs)||2 (50 lbs)|
|Domestic Upgrades||500-mile credits||Unlimited||500-mile creditsbut free < 500 miles|
|Same Day Standby||Free||Free||Free|
|Same Day Confirmed Change||$75||Free w/in 6 hours||$75|
Takeaway: American Airlines customers will gain some free upgrades while US Airways customers will lose most free upgrades and also the ability to perform a free same-day change. (Although one has to ask how many flights were getting upgraded to begin with with such low status?) US Airways customers will gain more free checked bags — I’m assuming here that the checked baggage benefit for AA will prevail.
|American Airlines Platinum||US Airways Gold Preferred||US Airways Platinum Preferred||NEW American Airlines Platinum|
|Elite Qualifying Miles||50,000||50,000||75,000||50,000|
|Bonus Award Miles||100%||50%||75%||100%|
|Domestic Upgrades||500-mile credits||Unlimited||Unlimited||500-mile creditsbut free < 500 miles|
|Free Checked Bags||2 (50 lbs)||2 (50 lbs)||3 (50 lbs)||2 (50 lbs)|
|Same Day Standby||Free||Free||Free||Free|
|Same Day Confirmed Change||$75||Free w/in 6 hours||Free w/in 6 hours||$75|
Takeaway: American Airlines customers will gain some free upgrades while US Airways customers will lose some from upgrades and also the ability to perform a free same-day change. (It’s more likely that US Gold and Platinum members are actually getting upgraded today, so this is a bigger loss.) US Airways customers will gain a much larger bonus on award miles, US Platinum members will lose one of their free checked bags.
|American Airlines Executive Platinum||US Airways Chairman's Preferred||NEW American Airlines Executive Platinum|
|Elite Qualifying Miles||100,000||100,000||100,000|
|Bonus Award Miles||100%||100%||100%|
|Free Checked Bags||3 (70 lbs)||3 (50 lbs)||3 (70 lbs)|
|Same Day Standby||Free||Free||Free|
|Same Day Confirmed Change||$75||Free w/in 6 hours||Free|
Takeaway: American Airlines customers will see no change to their upgrade benefits while US Airways customers will gain considerably by getting more international upgrade instruments. Checked baggage benefits will improve slightly for US Airways customers owing to a larger maximum weight pre bag, while American Airlines customers will see tougher benefits for earning status with segments. Both groups will see major improvements in the same-day change policies: They will finally be free for AA customers while US customers will find greater flexibility in making their request at any time during the same calendar day.