American Airlines Announces 2015 AAdvantage Frequent Flyer Program Changes

By Paul Riegler on 28 October 2014
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An American Airlines jet at JFK

An American Airlines jet at JFK

American Airlines, which merged with US Airways late last year, announced it will combine the two airlines’ frequent flyer programs in the second quarter of 2015. The combined program will retain the AAdvantage name, as had been previously announced.

The program will have three elite levels, Gold, Platinum, and Executive Platinum, which are carried over from American’s current program. Silver Preferred members of US Airways’ Dividend Miles program will be given Gold status, while Gold Preferred and Platinum Preferred members will get Platinum status in the new AAdvantage program. Chairman’s Preferred, the top Dividend Miles status, will become Executive Platinum.

Members can earn status with either miles, points, or segments. Gold status will continue to require either 25,000 miles or points or 30 segments, while Platinum requires 50,000 miles or points or 60 segments. American is changing the requirement for Executive Platinum to 120 segments while leaving the miles or points requirement at 100,000.

Starting on January 1, 2015, members will earn a 50% bonus when traveling on business-class tickets on both American and US Airways, an increase from the current 25% bonus. On flights operated by American, AAdvantage members will earn 1.5 points per qualifying mile for first-class, business-class, and full-fare coach tickets. Discounted economy-class tickets will earn one point per qualifying mile and “deep discount” economy tickets will earn one-half point per qualifying mile.

Current AAdvantage members will not need to do anything to continue in the program. Those flyers who only have a Dividend Miles account will be automatically assigned an AAdvantage number in the second quarter of 2015. For flyers with membership in both programs, American will match the accounts and combine all Dividend Miles award mileage, million mile balance, and elite-qualifying activity with an existing AAdvantage account.

The two airlines’ upgrade policies will remain different for as long as the programs are operating as two separate entities. American will introduce unlimited, complimentary upgrades on flights of 500 miles or less for Gold and Platinum members (Executive Platinum members already receive unlimited complimentary upgrades). For flights over 500 miles, Gold and Platinum members can use earned or purchased 500-mile upgrades while Executive Platinum members will continue to receive an automatic upgrade based on availability. They will also receive eight system-wide upgrade certificates as will Chairman’s Preferred members when the programs are combined.

Gold, Platinum, and Executive Platinum members will receive unlimited, complimentary upgrades on US Airways flights.

Finally, Gold, Platinum, and Executive Platinum members can select “preferred seats” on American at no charge. Gold members will receive a 50% discount on Main Cabin Extra premium-economy lite seats when selected in advance, and they are free within 24 hours of departure, while Platinum and Executive Platinum members have access to these seats at no charge.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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