American Airlines program changes

While the American Airlines AAdvantage program may not be the most popular program in Australia, it has a core group of supporters who have seen it provide better value (to them) than they may have been able to extract from one of the local programs. Last night, American made some announcements that may effect the value of the program compared to other programs.

While some of the changes had been foreshadowed in previous announcements, the update provided firmer details and implementation dates for some of the changes.

There are basically four aspects to the change:

  • Moving to a revenue based system for calculating Miles earning
  • A new Platinum-Pro status level
  • Introduction of Elite Qualifying Dollars
  • Upgrade Priority changes

Earning Award Miles

Commencing August 1, 2016, AAdvantage will credit miles based on spend rather than by miles flown. This change was signaled in an earlier update, although the introduction date was not previously announced. The earn rate on AA flights will be as follows:

For flights marketed by partner airlines, earn rates will be
based on a percentage of the flight distance and the fare class of your
ticket. American Airlines have stated these new rates will be available by July 15.

Platinum-Pro Level

American Airlines will introduce a new Platinum Pro-status level effective from January 2017. This level slots in between Platinum and Executive Platinum, and will map to Sapphire in the OneWorld system.

Elite Qualifying Dollars

American will be removing the requirement to  have four segment on American
Airlines marketed flights to gain status. In its place, they are introducing the concept of Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQD). EQD will be calculated by:

  • Ticket price (base fare plus carrier-imposed fees, excluding any government-imposed taxes and fees) on American-marketed flights
  • Flights marketed by oneworld® carriers and Alaska Airlines will earn EQDs based on a percentage of the flight distance and the fare class purchased

This brings us to the mechanism by which status will be determined. There are basically two ways:

The qualification requirements are shown in the following table:

Qualification Executive Platinum / oneworld® EmeraldSM Platinum Pro / oneworld® SapphireSM Platinum / oneworld® SapphireSM Gold / oneworld® RubySM
EQMs 100,000 75,000 50,000 25,000
EQSs 120 90 60 30
EQDs $12,000 $9,000 $6,000 $3,000

Upgrade Priority changes

American Airlines has modified the priorities for upgrade clearance. Priority will be based on You’ll be listed according to your elite status level followed by the number of EQDs earned in the last 12 months.

If you are one of the folk that funnels your earn across to the AAdvantage program, you may need to crunch some numbers to see how these changes will affect you.

For further details on the changes, refer to the AAdvantage update page.

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