Tuesday, April 14, 2020

American AAdvantage provides elite status extension, lowers qualification requirements and more

American Airlines is the last of the big 3 U.S. airlines to come out with details for the elite status portion of the AAdvantage program. Like most airline and hotel programs American is now offering extensions to those who currently hold elite status. On top of that they are providing a reduced qualifying structure to account for the lower demand in travel, extending the validity of upgrade vouchers and more.

Here are the details as provided by American:

  • 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.
Elite Status Extension
If your current elite status expires on January 31, 2021, we’ll automatically extend the expiration date until January 31, 2022.
You’ll continue to enjoy all the benefits that come with your status, and you can earn a higher status through lower elite qualification requirements this year.
Accounts will be updated by May 15, 2020.
Lowering elite qualification requirementsYou’ll be able to qualify for a higher elite status in 2020 with lower Elite Qualifying Dollar (EQD), Elite Qualifying Mile (EQM) and Elite Qualifying Segment (EQS) requirements.
Qualifying metric Gold
oneworld® Ruby
oneworld® Sapphire
Platinum Pro
oneworld® Sapphire
Executive Platinum
oneworld® Emerald
EQDs $1,500 $4,000 $6,000 $9,000
EQMs 15,000 30,000 45,000 60,000
EQSs 15 30 45 60

Extending expiration of systemwide upgrades
Any unused systemwide upgrades with an expiration date of January 31, 2021, will be automatically extended through July 31, 2021.
While we’re not awarding new systemwide upgrades with the extension of Executive Platinum status, members who qualify or re-qualify for Executive Platinum status in 2020 will receive 4 systemwide upgrades valid through January 31, 2022.
Accounts will be updated by May 15, 2020.
Promotion to reach Million Miler status
We’re introducing a limited-time promotion to help you reach Million Miler℠ status and receive benefits like elite status. For all eligible Citi / AAdvantage® and AAdvantage® Aviator products, as well as select AAdvantage® credit cards outside the U.S., every dollar spent on net purchases that post between May 1, 2020, – December 31, 2020, will count as 1 mile toward Million Miler℠ status.

Waiving award reinstatement and change fees for award bookings
Waived award reinstatement and change fees for awards booked by May 31, 2020, for travel through September 30, 2020. For award travel ticketed on or after June 1, 2020, we’ll waive change and reinstatement fees when the change is made at least 60 days before travel. A new fee structure will apply to changes made with fewer than 60 days before travel:

Elite status Change made 60 days or more before travel At least 7 days, but fewer than 60 days before travel Fewer than 7 days before travel
Executive Platinum $0 $0 $0
Platinum Pro $0 $50 $75
Platinum $0 $75 $100
Gold $0 $100 $125
Regular member $0 $125 $150

American Airlines Vacations credit
We’re giving AAdvantage® elite members another reason to look forward to a vacation. On July 1, 2020, they’ll receive a special one-time credit of up to $400 to use toward an American Airlines Vacations package.
Elite status Credit amount
Gold                               $300
Platinum and Platinum Pro                               $350
Executive Platinum                               $400
Great news for the small amount of Canadians who do hold status with American AAdvantage as you now get to have it for one full year extra and have the possibility to boost that status higher with the lowered requirements if you get the chance to fly on American later this year. For the even smaller portion of our population, there may a select few of you who hold a U.S. based American AAdvantage credit card you have an amazing opportunity to boost your run for Million Miler status by having your credit card spend from May to December count towards that status.

I'm surprised at their reinstatement fee structure - having no fees for changing 60+ days out is the good part and sure you have no change fees at all for awards booked by May 31 for travel until September 30 but still with so much uncertainty around travel in the next 6 to 12 months to have fees that will be charged for travel changes within 60 days does seem a bit ridiculous.

We also see in the news release that people who have purchased Admirals Club memberships will have those extended for 6 months.

Overall this was expected from AA seeing that their competitors have already announced their elite status extensions and the such. And most of it is great news if you hold status or know that you can now qualify for it next year with the lowered requirements.

Learn more about this announcement here.

Title image via American Airlines

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