American Airlines AAdvantage members with elite status will hold on to those benefits for an additional year. The carrier announced that change today, along with easing the qualification standards for 2020 and a few other customer-friendly moves.
We are grateful to our AAdvantage members and want to show them that loyalty is a two-way street. When people are ready to fly again, we will be there to help them reconnect with loved ones, friends and colleagues.– Bridget Blaise-Shamai, Vice President of Customer Loyalty & Insights and President of the AAdvantage program
The status extension follows what several other airlines, including Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines, announced last week. And, much like the way those carriers implemented the policy it is the other changes that are more interesting for many members.
Easier to qualify for AAdvantage status in 2020
For program members that are not elite now or who want to level up to a higher tier in 2020 the qualification rules are easier. The spend and flight requirements are reduced 30-50%, depending on the tier and metric.
For those who still manage to fly the miles beyond Executive Platinum status the threshold bonus offerings are also now easier to realize.
Systemwide upgrades and Admirals Club memberships or single-use passes are also extended at least six months.
Reduced fees for award changes
All members have access to fee-free reward redeposits for tickets issued prior to 31 May 2020 for travel through 30 September 2020. For awards issued on 1 June or later a new, variable fee structure takes effect, including free redeposits at all tiers, so long as the decision is made far enough in advance.
Making Million Miler more attainable
The unique move by American today comes from its Million Miler lifetime status program. For years a “back door” into lifetime status came from spending cash on the company’s co-branded credit card products. That dried up at the end of 2011 for most cards and the end of 2012 for one straggler. And now it is coming back.
From May to December 2020 every dollar net spent that posts to an AAdvantage account will also count towards Million Miler status.
This creative use of the loyalty scheme helps the airline, the banks and the members. It keeps the AAdvantage program front of mind in a period where few people are thinking about travel. It can help shift share of wallet on the cobranded credit card front and might even induce a few new card signups along the way.
Just extending status is a very broad move that does not necessarily impact today’s behavior, or could influence it negatively, as the status is already locked in. By coming up with something more pertinent in the interim American can push its loyalty program a little further.
More on COVID-19 and the airlines affected
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- Allegiant scores leniency from DOT in CARES Act obligations
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