Why Qualifying for AA Executive Platinum is Still Worth It
As many people have already heard, American Airlines is making some rather drastic changes to the Aadvantage program. They announced the devaluation of award miles along with changes to the way members can earn elite status. Below is a chart from The Points Guy:
|Travel from US to:||Off-Peak Coach (Old)||Off-Peak Coach (New)||Coach (Old)||Coach (New)||Business (Old)||Business (New)||First (Old)||First (New)|
|Contiguous 48 US states||N/A||N/A||12,500||12,500||25,000||25,000||32,500||50,000|
|Domestic < 500 miles||N/A||N/A||N/A||7,500||N/A||15,000||N/A||N/A|
|Canada & Alaska||N/A||N/A||12,500||15,000||25,000||30,000||32,500||55,000|
|South America Region 1||15,000||17,500||17,500||20,000||30,000||30,000||40,000||55,000|
|South America Region 2||20,000||N/A||30,000||30,000||50,000||57,500||62,500||85,000|
|Asia Region 1||25,000||32,500||32,500||35,000||50,000||60,000||62,500||80,000|
|Asia Region 2||N/A||32,500||35,000||35,000||55,000||70,000||67,500||110,000|
The devaluation is definitely pretty substantial. The First class award to Asia Region 2 is definitely the worst as there was decent availability in CX F (JL F wasn’t bad either). There are still some good areas of the chart, such as most of the business class awards.
The way to earn elite status has also changed. The short of it is that it is still 120 segments, but points has been eliminated and combined into EQM. All discount coach flights earns 1 EQM on AA metal (same as before) but now full fare coach/discount business/first is 2 EQM, Full fare Business/First is 3 EQM. This will make it easier for some premium class travelers to hit a higher elite status.
American Airlines is also changing the way members are earning miles while flying with American. It will be based on revenue and it will start in Mid 2016 (AA did not mention when). Here is the chart from The Points Guy:
|AAdvantage Member Level||General Member||Gold||Platinum||Executive Platinum|
|Miles / USD||5||7||8||11|
|Delta (Equiv. status level)||5||7||8||11|
|United (Equiv. status level)||5||7||8||11|
- 200k AA miles
- 4 SWU
When you qualify for EXP in 2016 before mid 2016, you lose 4 SWU but almost everything will stay the same. Again, qualifying for EXP the cheapest way will net you 200k RDM so that is a huge plus. 4 SWU is valued at about $1000, whereas 150k miles (what you stand to miss out on with the new RDM chart) is worth above $1500. I value the miles more than SWU if push came to shove.
Here are two different ways to qualify for EXP:
- Spend ~6000 to fly 100k miles in coach. That is about 6CPM, which is pretty realistic unless you have some vacation time to use up and can fly during the weekdays.
- 200k AA miles (if you are Platinum or Executive Platinum)
- 4 SWU
- Spend ~6000 to fly 50k miles in business. There are some business class flights on AA metal that were going for about 10CPM. (Business on partner airlines only earn 1.5 EQM, but on AA metal it is 2 EQM per mile) Here is what you would get:
- 100k AA miles (if you are Platinum or Executive Platinum)
- 4 SWU
You can see that earning it in business class nets you less redeemable miles but with the new revenue earning system, you would be earning about the same. This is the main reason why the revenue earning system works to reward higher spending members.
The above two examples are the reason why Aadvantage program was so lucrative and why there were still mileage runners on AA but not on any other US airline. This will surely change with the new revenue based earning program. I already booked all my flights for 2016 so either way I’m getting EXP again next year. How about you? Will you change your flying habits because of the change?