A few months ago, I wrote about Changes American Airlines Executive Platinums Would Like To See in 2014. Well, the sad part is that it will only happen in a utopian society. The harsh reality of American’s inevitable upcoming changes could be quite brutal for EXP flyers and elites across the board. Here are some grim changes that I predict could happen for 2015 requalification:
4 Tiers – Silver, Gold, Platinum, Exec Plat – Silver will be 25k, Gold 50k, Plat 75k, EXP 100k – This isn’t exactly too bad but will be in line with the competitors. I wouldn’t want to say EXP would be 125k, because AA would keep the Elite Awards rewards program for people who want to exceed over 100K.
Systemwide Upgrades – Executive Platinums currently receive 8 Systemwide Upgrades, but I predict they could diminish from 8 to 4 a year. 8 is quite a lot since I usually end up gifting them away. They could possibly give 2 SWU’s for Platinums.
Award Chart increases across the board except for Latin/South America – This will be aligned with the recent gutting of United’s Award Charts and in line with Delta’s. However, both competitors left Latin/South America untouched for whatever reasons.
Unlimited Complimentary Domestic Upgrades will not be valid LAX/SFO to JFK and vice versa on the A321T, but SWU’able. They could require 5 electronic 500-mile upgrade stickers even for Executive Platinums.
Getting rid of the ubiquitous 500-mile Electronic Sticker Upgrade system – This is currently one of the most confusing upgrade systems. I suspect Doug Parker will make it easier on everyone and provide Unlimited Complimentary Upgrades for all elite tiers.
American will partner up with Hilton Hotels – I suspect that American will be partnering up with Hilton Hotels and offer elite status. Perhaps American’s EXP’s will receive Diamond status, Platinum/Golds will receive Gold status, and Silver will receive Silver status. This is in line with the current partnerships Delta has with Starwood and United Airlines with Marriott. I believe American will partner up with Hilton because of the strong Citibank relationship.
No more free Snack and Beverage in coach – They’ve already taken away food benefits from Platinums on American Eagle (Envoy) flights. I can see with an influx of EXP’s and newly matched US Airways Chairman’s that they cannot sustain the free food and beverage model any longer. This could apply to Eagle (Envoy) and mainline AA flights.
First Class food downgrade – American might introduce snack baskets on shorter distance flights instead of “snack” meals which are usually full hot meals.
Introduction of Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQD’s) – I think American will go to a revenue based frequent flyer program just like United and Delta. Exec Plats will have to spend $10,000 on revenue flights and in addition to the regular re-qualification requirements. I suspect American will have an EQD waiver if you spend $25,000 on an AA co-branded Citi Credit Card.
Changes are inevitably coming to the American Airlines AAdvantage Program. Do you have any predictions?