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Monday, June 6, 2016

Official - American AAdvantage going revenue based on August 1st plus they detail some elite changes coming in 2017


We've known since last November that the American Airlines AAdvantage program was going to move to a revenue based earning system in the second half of 2016. We now know that date will be August 1st. The move places American AAdvantage to the same league as United MileagePlus and Delta SkyMiles who over the past 2 years already went revenue based. American even went so far to copy the exact earn rates for prices paid on tickets as United who in turn had copied Delta with the exact amounts. No creativity here at all nor any with any balls to at least take a chance at being more competitive in the revenue based market. That is being left to the benefits being provided to elite members who in the AAdvantage program will see some more changes coming in 2017 with today's announcement.

We detailed the major changes in the AAdvantage program back in November with the post:

American AAdvantage changes coming in 2016 - Most of it isn't good news and its worse for Canadians than our US counterparts
and won't cover all those changes again. We knew at that time about the revenue based earning coming and knew the amounts. So as of August 1st here is how many AAdvantage Miles you'll earn:
As you can see these earn rates favour elite members plus those who spend more on their tickets. For most people however the amount you earn on flights will be less than you earn now.

How does this translate to less miles on a flight? Let's look at an American Airlines flight between New York and Orlando. We took a random week day flight for the 944 mile flight which priced out at $256.60 before taxes and fees for the roundtrip.

Under the old earning rate, this flight would earn 1,888 base AAdvantage Miles but under the new system of 5 miles per dollar on the base fare it will only earn 1,283 miles. So many members will be losing out on 600 miles on this flight.

As we've seen with United and Delta, this change isn't good for most travellers.

This is even worse for Canadian AAdvantage members as our AAdvantage award flights became more expensive in the changes announced in November and already in place since Canada is no longer part of the U.S. 48 section of the award chart but rather we are now categorized with Alaska. Gone are 25,000 mile round trip flights from Canada to the U.S. as they are now 30,000 for the round trip. So more miles to redeem, less to earn just makes the AAdvantage program less appealing to those of us north of the border. In fact those flying AA may be better offer using Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan or British Airways Executive Club as their program to credit American Airlines flights.

What other changes are coming to the program? These are elite program changes that will kick in on January 1st 2017.

The first is a new mid level elite status called Platinum Pro. Think of this as a match to Air Canada Altitude's Super Elite 75K. Still AAdvantage will only 4 levels compared to AC's 5. Here are all of AA's levels and requirements for qualification:
You'll notice that there also now EQDs or Elite Qualifying Dollars required. So just like Air Canada's Altitude program you can no longer achieve AAdvantage status based on miles or segments only. You now also have to have a spend component and reach one of the other two either the miles or segments requirement. The good thing is that Alaska Airlines flights plus all oneworld flights count towards the EQD requirement. The bad thing is that both United and Delta don't put this EQD requirement on Canadians.

The final two elite changes coming in 2017 have to do with upgrading. Upgrade priority will change to:
"The way your upgrade request is prioritized will change later in 2017. You’ll be listed according to your elite status level followed by the number of EQDs earned in the last 12 months."
So the more you spend with AA the better your chances are at being upgraded. The last upgrade change coming is that Executive Platinum members will be able to "use their complimentary 500-mile upgrade benefits on AAdvantage award tickets for travel on American from Main Cabin to the next class."

That's all the changes in a nutshell! What are your thoughts? Are you a regular American Airlines flyer? We'd love to hear from you about the latest AAdvantage  changes!

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