American Airlines is formally launching its AAdvantage Million Miler scheme on December 1, offering benefits including lifetime elite tier status, albeit with stricter eligibility rules than the unofficial programme it is replacing.
AA is one of several US carriers that have over the years offered unofficial benefits for their most loyal customers reaching mileage milestones. Rewards include lifetime AAdvantage Gold status for those members earning one million miles, and lifetime Platinum status for those reaching two million miles.
The carrier is now formalising these benefits under the Million Miler programme, but frequent travellers will spot that AA has made changes to the rules, making it harder to reach the mileage landmarks.
Presently all miles earned under the AAdvantage programme count towards million mile status, including those obtained through branded credit card purchases, bonus miles, and those earned through promotional offers.
But from December 1, only base miles earned by flying on American Airlines, American Eagle, AmericanConnection or any eligible AAdvantage programme participating airline will count towards Million Miler status.
The move has prompted extensive discussion of the changes on airline forums including flyertalk.com, where one topic has been titled “The great AA Mileage Race to D-Day”. Until November 30, all miles ever earned by a AAdvantage member will count towards to their Million Milers beginning balance, which will then be displayed separately to other account activity on members’ online accounts from December 1.
In an attempt to assuage members disgruntled with the rule changes, AA has launched a promotional offer, where one mile for every dollar spent on eligible purchases using the new Citi Executive / AAdvantage World Elite MasterCard credit card will count toward Million Miler status, providing the purchases are posted to billing statements by the end of December 2012.
Published benefits of the formalised Million Miler scheme include:
- At one million Million Miler miles, AAdvantage members will receive lifetime AAdvantage Gold status and 35,000 AAdvantage bonus miles
- At two million Million Miler miles, AAdvantage members will receive lifetime AAdvantage Platinum status and four one-way systemwide upgrades
- At each additional Million Miler mark, AAdvantage members will receive four additional one-way systemwide upgrades
To have your say about the changes, visit the Business Traveller forum. Regular readers will be aware of rumours concerning changes to the Executive Club scheme of AA’s transatlantic joint venture partner British Airways, likely to take place around the same time as these changes to the AA programme – to join in the discussion click here.
For more information visit aa.com.
Report by Mark Caswell