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American Airlines unveils 10 changes to the AAdvantage program

by Staff

American Airlines is out with another big update to its AAdvantage loyalty program.

This time, the Fort Worth-based carrier has news for both elite and casual frequent flyers. It’s offering new perks when earning Loyalty Points, the ability to use miles to upgrade with partners and much more.

Find all of the details below.

Earning elite status remains the same

American’s upcoming elite year runs from March 1, 2024, through Feb. 28, 2025. That means you’ll have 12 months to cross the different Loyalty Point thresholds needed to earn or requalify for status.

As part of the airline’s update, the carrier confirmed that elite thresholds are not changing for the upcoming program year.

“We want to make sure that whatever levels we put out there, we are able to deliver on the promise of what we’re putting out there,” Chris Isaac, American’s director of AAdvantage, said in an interview with TPG. “And when we looked at it this year, we’re meeting the thresholds and the experience that we want for our various status and Loyalty Point Reward levels. And so there was no need to change them.”

To earn elite status in 2024, you’ll need to earn the following number of Loyalty Points:

  • Gold: 40,000 Loyalty Points
  • Platinum: 75,000 Loyalty Points
  • Platinum Pro: 125,000 Loyalty Points
  • Executive Platinum: 200,000 Loyalty Points

New perk for earning Loyalty Points

In addition to earning status, American awards perks at different Loyalty Point milestones. These benefits, dubbed Loyalty Point Rewards, will remain largely unchanged in 2024, except for one key addition.

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Starting in the upcoming membership year, the airline is adding the ability to redeem a Loyalty Point Reward for additional Loyalty Points toward AAdvantage status.

You can select 1,000 bonus Loyalty Points at the 15,000 Loyalty Point Reward threshold; 5,000 bonus Loyalty Points at the 175,000 Loyalty Point threshold; and 15,000 bonus Loyalty Points at the 250,000 Loyalty Point Reward threshold.

Isaac explained that the airline added the new 1,000 Loyalty Point bonus in direct response to member feedback. Since many elites are already entitled to the benefits conferred at the 15,000 Loyalty Point Reward threshold, they asked American to offer something more meaningful for them.

This new offering — 1,000 bonus Loyalty Points — is American’s answer. “Call it a Loyalty Point headstart, if you will,” Isaac said.

As such, the Loyalty Point Reward thresholds will include these perks.

15,000 Loyalty Points

Unlock Group 5 boarding for the membership year, and you may choose one of the following:

  • Priority check-in, security and Group 4 boarding on one trip
  • Five preferred seat coupons
  • 1,000 bonus Loyalty Points

60,000 Loyalty Points

Unlock Avis Preferred Plus status and receive a 20% Loyalty Point bonus on spending with the following partners:

  • American Airlines Vacations
  • American Airlines Hotels
  • AAdvantage eShopping portal
  • AAdvantage Dining portal
  • SimplyMiles

100,000 Loyalty Points

Unlock Avis Presidents Club status and receive a 30% Loyalty Point bonus on spending with the following partners within six months of unlocking this reward:

  • American Airlines Vacations
  • American Airlines Hotels
  • eShopping portal
  • Dining portal
  • SimplyMiles

175,000 Loyalty Points

You can choose one of the following:

  • Two systemwide upgrades
  • 20,000 bonus miles (25,000 for AAdvantage credit card holders)
  • Six Admirals Club daypasses
  • $200 Trip Credit ($250 for AAdvantage credit card holders)
  • Carbon offset
  • $250 donation to one of 10 partner charities
  • 15% one-time award rebate
  • Gift of Gold status (gift to two people)
  • 35,000 miles off a Mastercard Priceless experience
  • 5,000 Loyalty Points

250,000 Loyalty Points

You can choose two of the following:

  • Two systemwide upgrades
  • 20,000 bonus miles (30,000 for AAdvantage credit card holders)
  • Six Admirals Club daypasses
  • Admirals Club individual membership (requires two choices)
  • $200 Trip Credit ($250 for AAdvantage credit card holders)
  • Carbon offset
  • $250 donation to one of 10 partner charities
  • Gift of Gold status (may gift to two people per pick)
  • Bang & Olufsen products (requires two choices)
  • One Flagship Lounge single-visit pass (two passes for AAdvantage credit card holders)
  • 35,000 miles off a Mastercard Priceless experience
  • 15,000 Loyalty Points

400,000, 550,000 and 750,000 Loyalty Points

When you cross the 400,000, 550,000 and 750,000 Loyalty Point thresholds, you’ll collect two choices from the following menu:

  • One systemwide upgrade
  • 25,000 bonus miles
  • Admirals Club individual membership (requires two choices)
  • $200 Trip Credit ($250 for AAdvantage credit card holders)
  • Carbon offset
  • Gift of Platinum status
  • Bang & Olufsen products (requires two choices)
  • Two Flagship Lounge single-visit passes
  • One Flagship First Dining visit pass
  • 40,000 miles off a Mastercard Priceless experience

1 million Loyalty Points

You can choose one of the following:

  • Four systemwide upgrades
  • Gift of Platinum Pro status
  • 100,000 mileage rebate
  • 150,000 miles off a Mastercard Priceless experience
  • Carbon offset

3 million Loyalty Points

You can choose one of the following:

  • Six systemwide upgrades
  • Gift of Executive Platinum status
  • 300,000 mileage rebate
  • 350,000 miles off a Mastercard Priceless experience
  • Carbon offset

5 million Loyalty Points

You can choose one of the following:

  • 10 systemwide upgrades
  • Gift of Executive Platinum status
  • 500,000 mileage rebate
  • 550,000 miles off a Mastercard Priceless experience
  • Carbon offset

3 new ways to earn and redeem miles

ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

American will offer three new ways to earn or redeem miles in 2024.

To start, travelers will (finally) be able to earn redeemable miles and additional Loyalty Points when they pay with cash to upgrade to a premium cabin. In recent months, American has been more aggressive about selling discounted post-purchase upgrades, but these buy-ups didn’t include any additional AAdvantage miles or Loyalty Points.

Fortunately, that will change this year (at a yet undisclosed date). You’ll earn redeemable miles and Loyalty Points for the upgrade fee, just like you’d earn for a standard paid ticket.

This move is a double-edged sword. It will likely sweeten the deal for those purchasing these discounted upgrades, but it might make it even harder for elites to enjoy complimentary upgrades on domestic flights. With more premium seats getting sold, there are simply fewer upgrades available in the days and hours leading up to departure.

Secondly, American will allow Platinum Pro, Executive Platinum and Concierge Key members to redeem miles for a visit to the Flagship First dining facility in Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) and Miami International Airport (MIA) — and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) if that outpost ever reopens from its pandemic-related closure). There’s no telling yet what the mileage rate will be.

Interestingly, this move comes a few months before American formally retires its first-class product on the Boeing 777-300ER and the Airbus A321T. Without selling first-class tickets, the airline seems to think it can still fill the facility with mileage redemptions.

Finally, American will introduce the ability to upgrade flights on select partners using AAdvantage miles later in 2024. This is a big tease from American, as the airline declined to provide any additional details about this upcoming offering.

6 changes to being an AAdvantage member

Later this year, American will make six more changes to its loyalty program for all members.

This includes giving AAdvantage members six more months to use trip credits when voluntarily canceling flights on the American website. Trip credits are usually valid for one year from the date issued, so AAdvantage members will have 18 months to use these credits.

This is a nice perk and a great way to generate loyalty sign-ups for travelers who may not have originally joined the program when making their flight reservations.

Furthermore, later this month, American will allow AAdvantage members to voluntarily cancel basic economy tickets for a partial travel trip credit for a $99 fee (that will be taken from the value of your ticket).

Previously, basic economy tickets were not changeable or refundable after the 24-hour cancellation grace period expired. Once again, this is another nice-to-have perk for joining the AAdvantage program.

American is advertising four other new member-only perks as “exclusive” to AAdvantage travelers. These four “new” benefits include:

  • Free 24-hour ticket holds
  • The ability to purchase one-day passes to the Admirals Club
  • The ability to purchase single-visit passes to the Flagship Lounge
  • Free same-day standby

Though American says these benefits will now be an exclusive perk of being an AAdvantage member, the airline used to offer all of these perks to every traveler, regardless of AAdvantage membership.

As such, American seems to be focused on growing its member base with these new benefits, and it’ll be interesting to see if the airline adds new perks and/or restricts access to other benefits for AAdvantage members only.

“Just by virtue of being a member, you now have access to certain things. Now some of those are assets that we have today, but consider this the foundation of what we’re doing to make travel better as an AAdvantage member,” Isaac said.

Bottom line

American’s AAdvantage program received a major overhaul during the pandemic with the introduction of Loyalty Points, and the perks of being loyal to the airline are improving.

In 2024, American isn’t taking away or devaluing any benefits for AAdvantage members. Of course, that could change later in the year, but the carrier’s first loyalty-focused announcement of 2024 should be all-around good news for members.

Whether this translates into more AAdvantage sign-ups is anyone’s guess, but that sure seems to be the airline’s focus right now. After all, loyalty members tend to be more engaged with the airline and more likely to sign up for the cobranded credit card — ultimately boosting the airline’s bottom line.

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