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AAdvantage MAAsacre News Continues To Trickle Out

Part 1: American Modifying AAnytime Award Chart Rates
Part 2: The Other Shoe Drops: American Eliminates Free Stopovers On Awards
Part 3: The Unannounced MAAsacre Continues
———————————————————-
The new American is at best clueless, though I’d just call it deceitful.  What a shame the government didn’t make good on their threat to block USelessAirways’ CEO Doug Parker from taking over American.

Clueless because they don’t know how to just give all the bad news in one shot.  They’ve updated different parts of their website without any announcement, leaving us to try to figure out the damage.  Just rip off the band-aid in one-shot please!

Deceitful because it’s wrong to make changes without giving prior warning.  That’s not loyalty, that’s punishment.

Deceitful because they emailed everyone this press release which makes the masses think that good things are happening.  They make everything sound great when the only mildly good news here is that the USAirways credit card will finally play catch-up and give free luggage.

The latest bad news:
-AA award ticketing fees for international tickets booked over the phone will climb from $25 to $35 per ticket. These fees are mandatory for tickets that can’t be booked online like flights on El Al and Cathay Pacific.
-AAdvantage Gold and USAirways Silver members will only get 1 free checked bag when flying AA, the same as any AA credit card holder.
-Alaska MVP members will go from having 2 free bags when flying AA to apparently not getting any free bags.
-Full fare passengers will go from having 2 free bags when flying AA to not getting any free bags.
-AAnytime award passengers (who just got hit by massive increases) will go from having 2 free bags when flying AA to not getting any free bags.
-AAdvantage Platinums flying on USAirways will go from having 3 free bags to having 2 free bags.
-USAirways Golds and Platinums flying on USAirways will go from having 3 free bags to having 2 free bags.

Unannounced changes are wrong: #AAdvantageMAAsacre

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70 Responses to “AAdvantage MAAsacre News Continues To Trickle Out”

  1. Yo Says:
    1

    Not to mention the sudden disappearance of the explorer award and the discontinuation of stopovers. They don’t even mention this on their press release. No competition= unfriendly changes.

    ReplyReply
  2. Ken Says:
    2

    #USelessAirways’CEODougParker that sums it up. Great work DOJ.

    ReplyReply
  3. Curtis Says:
    3

    Absolutely… ridiculous… Everyone needs to seriously blow up social media as much as possible over the ZERO notice of any of the changes.

    ReplyReply
  4. Al Says:
    4

    @Dan,

    Is there any increase to the egregious $25 phone fee for Reduced Mileage Awards since you cannot ticket online?

    ReplyReply
  5. Curtis Says:
    5

    @Al, I’m sure it will affect those as well…

    ReplyReply
  6. Joe Says:
    6

    “The exceptions will fall on the busiest travel days of the year. On those days, American will offer a higher award redemption option, which will be available starting at 50,000 miles one way.”

    Is this level 3 of the standard award chart?

    ReplyReply
  7. Dan Says:
    7

    @Curtis:
    #AAdvantageMAAsacre
    Light it up.

    @Al:
    Domestic is $25, international is $35.

    @Joe:
    Correct, 3 levels now in the AAnytime chart.

    ReplyReply
  8. Nun Says:
    8

    I never thought I’d say something like this, but maybe Parker will get hit by a bus.

    ReplyReply
  9. Rich Man Problems Says:
    9

    As someone who works every day and have not time to travel the world each week these changes dont really affect me. Most of us fly once in a while and most are not platinum member.

    This hurts most to the few “insiders” who worked hard getting statuses and matching and trying to get every loophole. While I feel bad for you guys it really is not a problem effecting most people.

    If they stopped giving free bags with a branded CC then that would be bad. But because they stopped giving you loopholes that does not make it a massacre.

    Again the only people affected are bizz class and status people.

    Like I alway say the rich get the best deals. Avis Chairmen get the best deals and need it the least…

    ReplyReply
  10. Dan Says:
    10

    @Rich Man Problems:
    Ridiculous.

    Elimination of 2 free stopovers only affects rich people?
    Elimination the the explorer award chart only affects rich people?
    A higher international ticketing fee only affects rich people?

    ReplyReply
  11. bltn95 Says:
    11

    This is getting out of hands! The past few months have been brutal; I think all the companies are taking their customers for granted. The only effective way of protest is to hit them on where it hurts most, their wallets!

    Perhaps there’s a way to organize a strike where for at least 3 months (maybe even 6), many of us can take a break from flying, hotel stays and applying for new “travel” cards. Obviously, there are some people who can’t; but those who can, might want to consider.

    Other than that, I can’t think of nothing else that will stop all the consumer unfriendly treatments. Anyone got a better one?

    ReplyReply
  12. scott Says:
    12

    just came across this-seems like a new chart?https://www.aa.com/i18n/disclaimers/oneworld_awards.jsp

    ReplyReply
  13. Anonymous Says:
    13

    “AA award ticketing fees for international tickets booked over the phone will climb from $25 to $35 per ticket. These fees are mandatory for tickets that can’t be booked online like flights on El Al and Cathay Pacific.”

    If it cant be booked online why mandatory phone fee? usually its the opposite logic?

    ReplyReply
  14. stbaum Says:
    14

    mAAsacre… clever… 🙂

    ReplyReply
  15. Anonymous Says:
    15

    I wouldn’t characterize these as rich man problems. But its certainly not your average flier who should be getting riled up about this, either. Obviously the ones they are hurting most are brokers and mileage junkies, who the airline may not think they need to care about (i.e. not big revenue generators). They are also hurting the frequent business travelers, but they might not care about that either (since the traveler is often not the one who pays the fare).

    ReplyReply
  16. First time poster Says:
    16

    Bltn95: was thinking along the same lines… Loyalty programs have 1 goal and that is to give good customers perks to stay loyal to you. Being that the perks are getting downgraded there’s no reason to be loyal anymore!

    ReplyReply
  17. Phil Says:
    17

    Dan – Will you need more than 45k to fly to Israel one way?

    Thanks!

    ReplyReply
  18. bubble347 Says:
    18

    Dan do you regret all the hard work you just did to accumulate all those miles with the 100,000 bonus or are there nice things left to still do with them?

    ReplyReply
  19. Citi card Says:
    19

    Im still having trouble distinguishing between MilesAAver and AAdvantage points. Are they worth the same in terms of trip value or one is more prestigious than the other? And how are AAdvatage miles earned versus my Citi card that i just got?

    ReplyReply
  20. Have an idea Says:
    20

    I don’t really have the time to do this, just an idea…. Maybe someone like dan can start a competing mileage/rewards program…. Would work something like this, you start a travel agency and start a loyalty program like dansmiles, than you go after the big companies and business people that travel a lot and convince them to book thru you. Since you’ll be buying a lot of tickets the airlines will give you much cheaper prices. And if everyone only uses dansmiles than the airlines would have to sweeten their perks to get their loyal customers back!
    Not sure if I’m explaining it well but basically the idea would be to make the noone isloyal to one specific airline…….

    ReplyReply
  21. Anonymous Says:
    21

    Dan do you think all this rush of bad news is just a precursor to the ultimate demise of points and free travel in the near future?? are you worried?

    ReplyReply
  22. RMP's Says:
    22

    @Dan:

    Rich man problems, I do not actually mean “rich people”, I am talking about those who fly alot for leisure and do not have 9-5 jobs. I believe that this affects mostly veterans of the millage shtick who use every loophole (and perhaps kill them too). Kudos for you guys taking advantage! But for normal joes like myself, I do not even have time for stopovers, we work 9-5 and have only 2 weeks vacation days, most of which are yom tov.

    So to the normal Joe out there this hardly makes a big difference. The $10 increase in phone bookings w=is bound to happen anyways. If it hurts me that much I will eat 1 less pie of pizza and recoup the $10 difference plus change.

    2 bags vs 3 bags? C’mon that is a rich man problem, it only affects those with statuses and such.

    You guys worked hard on getting these statuses but most were earned not in the intended matter. AA found a nice way to cut out or minimize what they feel are leeches.

    Upsetting for some? Maybe. A mAAsacre it is not.

    ReplyReply
  23. moshe Says:
    23

    Dan, if they change the saaver level also, would that affect ba short haul flights? Thanks!

    ReplyReply
  24. Dan Says:
    24

    @scott:
    It’s dead.

    @Anonymous:
    That’s how AA works.

    @stbaum:
    Why thank you 😀

    @Phil:
    No, MileSAAver is unchanged.

    @bubble347:
    No, MileSAAver is unchanged.

    @Citi card:
    Oy.

    @Anonymous:
    No.

    @RMP’s:
    And the cost of going on 2 week long vacations just doubled or tripled in some cases.
    Maybe you had to be in the know, but this effect regular Joes too. At least the ones who have taken the time to come to one of my seminars.

    @moshe:
    They aren’t.

    ReplyReply
  25. AASaver the Same Says:
    25

    So no Dan. No casual traveler is going to book an anytime award. Lets be real. Most casual card users use flexible scheduling, then take the time off.

    AAsaver the same for all international travel. Only a $10 booking fee increase? Still best one way F class redemption.

    US-North Asia F Partner:

    120,000 united OW
    62,500 AA OW

    Count your lucky stars they didn’t do a United screw job with partner airlines.

    MAAssacre? Sounds like lots of wAAmbulance.

    ReplyReply
  26. CHAIM Says:
    26

    dan i thing that now aa will release less seats for the MileSAAver and give more seats for the AAnytime wich means that less availability on british airways avios site,
    also one good thing in the new chart…….
    this new term.
    Anytime Awards: No blackout dates, you can use your miles for any seat on any American Airlines flight, for as low as 20,000 miles each way.

    ReplyReply
  27. Dan Says:
    27

    @AASaver the Same:
    Are you thick?

    Getting rid of free stopovers that essentially let you take 2 vacations for the price of 1 is a massacre.

    Getting rid of the lucrative RTW explorer award is a massacre.

    And AA will get to the MileSAAver chart. Just wait for it.

    @CHAIM:
    And I don’t “thing” that but time will tell.

    And that’s not a good thing, that’s a very bad thing. It can be as low as 20K but it can also be 30K or 50K.

    ReplyReply
  28. Ryan Says:
    28

    @Dan How do you know Alaska MVPs will no longer get free bags? This is a big one for me.

    ReplyReply
  29. Dan Says:
    29

    @Ryan:
    http://www.aa.com/i18n/utility/baggageExceptions.jsp

    ReplyReply
  30. AASaver the Same Says:
    30

    Complaining about a free stopover that wasn’t meant to be abused in the way it has been smells like a whole cut of wAAmbulance. Name me another program that offers that kind of perk.

    50% LESS MILES for F CLASS. Still.

    And domestic flights in NA are a joke. Only place I would ever use a stopover would be to go to HNL. The rest are bearable enough, minus transcons. Its when you get over 8 hours that economy becomes truly crap.

    No casual user uses the RTW explorer fare. Another antiquated features for FF hackers. The average joe doesn’t fly around the world.

    All in all, most casual people will see a $10 award fee increase. Big whoop.

    ReplyReply
  31. Dan's the MAn Says:
    31

    @Nun: Take it easy. He ain’t no Yasser Arafat.

    ReplyReply
  32. Dan Says:
    32

    @AASaver the Same:
    Nearly every other major program gives a free stopover that can be “abused.”

    So you would take a free trip to HNL but not ANC, LAX, MIA, SEA, or YVR?

    I’m not going to argue this with you anymore, it is a massive devaluation in my opinion. Yes, there are still great bargains without a doubt. But it’s only a matter of time until the next shoe falls, though hopefully that won’t happen until 2015.

    ReplyReply
  33. Ryan Says:
    33

    @Dan:

    Aha, so only MVPs loose out, not MVP Gold. It’s a good thing Alaska status matches to MVP Gold from United Premier Gold which can be obtained via Status match from other airlines….

    ReplyReply
  34. Tom Says:
    34

    I think it is a devaluation, and the lack of notice is terrible. I for one hate the loss of the stopovers and RTW flights…
    But we can’t have our cake and eat it to. We can’t be surprised when you cheer about getting 600k miles via 3 Citi AA Exec cards for you and a spouse by lack of controls and not even paying annual fees and then chastise the system for changing the rules on how those miles can be used. Balances have to occur somehow.

    And we can’t really use fair as an argument as the free one way’s via stop overs are using rules in a way that they were not designed, the same way as applying for 3 credit cards really isn’t truly fair (even though they let you do it). There is an element of hyprocrisy here towards the system even though I’m using an example from two separate entities.

    ReplyReply
  35. Dan Says:
    35

    @Ryan:
    Correct.

    @Tom:
    AA gets paid in full for miles sold to Citi, I fail to see any connection there.

    And I purposefully didn’t blog on and on about free one-ways, though others did. No point in beating a good thing to death.

    ReplyReply
  36. Ryan Says:
    36

    @Dan
    It’s not clear if non-elite customers travelling on the same reservation as an Alaska MVP Gold also receive free checked bags. The new policy says these people will:

    ‘Customers flying on the same reservation as an American Airlines AAdvantage Executive Platinum* or AAdvantage Platinum member or oneworld alliance Emerald* or Sapphire member regardless of frequent flyer status or fare type (not applicable to group bookings)’

    But does not mention Alaska. Previously all passengers on the MVP/MVP Gold reservation did receive this benefit.

    ReplyReply
  37. Dan Says:
    37

    @Ryan:
    AFAIK AAs system automatically gives everyone on the same PNR the benefit of the most entitled traveler.

    ReplyReply
  38. Ryan Says:
    38

    @Dan:
    Not anymore. Flying with a AA Gold or One World Ruby no longer gives free bags.

    ReplyReply
  39. Dan Says:
    39

    @Ryan:
    Based on what?

    From the exception link AA Gold doesn’t seem to get any bags, but we know that’s not true based on the elite status benefit page.

    I will be very surprised if AAs systems can suddenly disallow free bags for companions.

    ReplyReply
  40. Ryan Says:
    40

    @Dan
    Exactly, based on the exception link. But you’re right, the info about Golds and Ruby contradicts the elite benefits page and the wording in the press release.

    ReplyReply
  41. Doug Says:
    41

    @RMP’s:

    I’m with your, RMP.

    It all seems laughable getting all up in arms because the freebies are getting trimmed back by, for the most part, people who connived and exploited everything and every way to get those statuses in the first place.

    This is a mAAsacre just like those who cried that Small Business Saturday only giving $10 free for each card instead of $25 was a ma$$acre.

    ReplyReply
  42. Dan Says:
    42

    @Doug:
    Nobody called SBS a massacre.

    ReplyReply
  43. Doug Says:
    43

    @Dan:

    I didn’t say that anyone did.

    And I’m saying that neither is this–it is equivalent in that some people are getting over on the system less than they were allowed to in the past.

    Like AmEx really meant for folks to get 50 authorized user cards and collect all that money by buying gift cards from places so they have free money to spend for the rest of the year…

    ReplyReply
  44. Dan Says:
    44

    @Doug:
    You said “just like those who cried that Small Business Saturday only giving $10 free for each card instead of $25 was a ma$$acre.”

    But that’s not a here nor there.

    The surprising thing is that AMEX didn’t just make SBS primary only. If they were trying to avoid AUs why did they allow them to continue?

    Why did AA need to kill Explorer? Why did they need to hike AAnytime? Why not just make a stopover have a max duration of say 7 days? Why hurt their gold elites when there’s precious little that they give them above credit card holders?
    It’s easy to blame everything goes wrong on bloggers but the real reason is that the big airlines are down to just 3 and they can pretty much do whatever they want at this point as long as they leave enough value on the table so that people don’t close their mileage credit cards.

    ReplyReply
  45. Doug Says:
    45

    I get why you’re upset… and I don’t blame much of it at all on bloggers. Even if you work/worked the system, you’re only one person (or two, with spouse).

    I like to benefit from these kinds of things too, but I guess I always looked at it like most of it was too good to last, so I constantly expect the banks and airlines to cut back sooner or later.

    Let’s face it, all of these promotions are for the average customer, not for the miles/points hounds. We should all fully expect them to tweak the programs to benefit the average person and curtail the hounds. Sure, they could do it in a “friendlier” manner, but really, why should they?

    By doing so they’d mostly be helping the people they care about least and who abused the system the most. What exactly would you have done had you had forewarning? Most likely everyone would have thought about how they could get just a few more drops of blood out of the stone, would they not?

    -Doug

    ReplyReply
  46. Andrew Says:
    46

    This was a huge bait and switch selling off miles w matching bonuses and 100k credit cards. Citi should be upset they paid for miles that were soon after, devalued.

    ReplyReply
  47. Al Says:
    47

    @Andrew, why should Citi care about a devaluation? They opened the accounts and presumably $10k spend for each account.

    ReplyReply
  48. Citi card Says:
    48

    @Dan
    Thanks for the info! I understand you dont like spoon-feeding and you have been doing this for a long time and have “seen it all”. But if your already taking the time out of what i know is your busy day, at least answer the question. There are many blogs out that are much more understanding of the fact that not everyone has been doing this for years! And they happily answer questions when prompted.
    I see you getting hit with rough comments all the time since i started following you, but this is more friendly advice… maybe be more helpful, not everyone knows everything.

    ReplyReply
  49. HM Says:
    49

    @Citi card: You know what they say about the door.

    ReplyReply
  50. Livia Says:
    50

    If I have 90000 aa miles what can I do with them if I want too travel to israel

    ReplyReply
  51. No stop for you Says:
    51

    Dan, what if I have already made a booking with a stopover? Will the new rule prevent me from changing dates for one of my segments?

    ReplyReply
  52. Just Curious Says:
    52

    @Dan
    I am reading all over that this devaluation also very much negatively affected MilesAAver. I see you have been saying otherwise in these comments. Are they all wrong?
    Thanks

    http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/credit-card-programs/1511082-up-100k-miles-citi-executive-aadvantage-offers-read-wiki-before-posting-289.html#post22673078

    ReplyReply
  53. Carrie Dodson Says:
    53

    Dan – Just writing to say So Sorry for the AA news! I can tell you’re really bummed. Met one of your friends on a flight back from Niagara Falls who told me about your site and I’m addicted. Very much appreciate your willingness to share all your great finds!

    ReplyReply
  54. vusstitzich Says:
    54

    massacre, really ?!
    couldn’t you find a more suitable term ??

    ReplyReply
  55. Rivka Says:
    55

    I have a question about the American Airlines MasterCard. Do you still get free bags?thanks

    ReplyReply
  56. Traveler Says:
    56

    Can aa miles transfer into any other program

    ReplyReply
  57. Aron Says:
    57

    I have over 500k AA miles but to me it sounds like they are cutting out loopholes that were costing them dearly with no upside. which from a business perspective makes perfect sense.

    ReplyReply
  58. DK Says:
    58

    Just got an email from AA that alludes/hints to this info.

    ReplyReply
  59. aron Says:
    59

    Deceitful on the part of AA?! What do you call it when you use multiple browsers so the credit card company thinks you only had one inquiry, to get hundreds of thousands of miles by meeting minimum spending requirements using cash equivalents or buying refundable tickets or merchandise that are used to deceive the credit card company? And that is only the tip of the iceberg. Yes, I know that has nothing to do with AA, but righteous indignation is totally uncalled for over here. You cheat one company, the other company pulls one over on you. It’s not fun, but they are certainly playing by your rules!

    ReplyReply
  60. Anonymous Says:
    60

    @Rivka: Yes

    ReplyReply
  61. Walter W Stumpf Jr Says:
    61

    Dan-
    You got us all to switch from United’s Mileage Plus to Aegean’s program, what is your ‘find’ now to use when we have to fly American/USAir?

    ReplyReply
  62. j Says:
    62

    As an employee of a credit card company and who works with travel partners, I always thought these switches would be impactful and that the “masses” would revolt. However, while I am a deal seeker like all of of you, we are but a very small minority. Yes the modern traveller is far more sophisticated but noteven close to the majority play the miles game. Now that airlines are consolidated, its less about market share and more about profitability. This is why rich deals are being cut.. Not profitable. Unfortunately this cutting will continue.

    ReplyReply
  63. Dan's the Man Says:
    63

    @Aron: Giving you a long stopover doesn’t cost any more than a short stopover.

    ReplyReply
  64. Dan Says:
    64

    @Livia:
    You’re in luck, that’s more than enough to do so.

    @Just Curious:
    They are wrong.

    @Carrie Dodson:
    Appreciated it. Was not a fun day for anyone with a hoard of AA miles.

    @vusstitzich:
    Not massacre, MAAsacre 😉

    @Rivka:
    Yes.

    @Traveler:
    No.

    @aron:
    Thanks for the ad-hominem attack.

    No idea why you think the card companies care about 3BM. They want to sell you their cards. If they don’t want to then like Citi they shut it down and only allow 1 approval per week.
    So poor example there.

    ReplyReply
  65. vusstitzich Says:
    65

    @dan
    Gotcha!

    ReplyReply
  66. chris Says:
    66

    All smiles and good-times and smugness when all our clever methods of raking in all the, essentially, free miles and points is going strong. But when a company dares to try and adapt by putting a crimp in all our freebies, why there’s heck to pay. “Who do they think they are?!” Pretty funny (but also a little sad). We’re going to adapt either way so why not do it without the whining? Much more dignified.

    ReplyReply
  67. Dan Says:
    67

    @chris:
    You’re showing ignorance by saying the miles are free. Citibank pays American billions of dollars for their miles.

    The fact that Citi is willing to give them out for free is something the bankers have decided is worthwhile, but that doesn’t mean we can’t complain when AA make wholesale changes overnight without warning.

    ReplyReply
  68. aron Says:
    68

    did not mean to attack, just to say that it cuts both ways, and there are certainly many many tactics that, were the credit card companies given advance notice they would certainly take preemptive measures just as we might have done with AA. Bumpage is one very clear example where the cc companies are unaware of the hidden credit risk they may be taking. There are many other analogies too numerous to mention, just wanted to put this in perspective.

    ReplyReply
  69. Jack Says:
    69

    If i am a cathay pacific diamond ( one world emerald) do i still get 3 bags ??
    Thanks

    ReplyReply
  70. Leo Says:
    70

    @RMP’s: @RMP’s I take offense at being called a leech. I’ve worked d@mn hard and in the process earned a lot of miles traveling for business as well as limited leisure. I don’t milk the system, I don’t even know what half these loophole things are about, much less have time to do them. There are just as many people out here with miles who earned them fair and square. Sure I have taken advantage of bonus miles offered by AA but that doesn’t constitute leeching a system. What I did do was give my business to AA when I could easily have spread it around depending on where I was going. My market has made them the logical choice. Sometimes they were more expense, but they offered a better product and better service. To me it was worth a few dollars more for c/s and in return for them providing a better product I rewarded them with my loyalty. They made plenty of money off of me for one reason and one reason only, my loyalty. I didn’t have to offer it to them, but at the time, they acted like a respectable business and treated me well for it which made the rigors of travel just a little easier. I don’t have weeks and weeks of vacation time either. When I do get a break, it is almost always short notice because of an unforeseen change in my business schedule. Usually it is impossible to plan around. So my travel cost just probably doubled for the precious time I do get away. And this isn’t always just for so called extravagant trips around the world. My parents are elderly, I am fortunate to be able to see them more frequently because of my miles or be there to help with doctor appointments or hospitalizations. Or fly them to my home to spend time with grandchildren. I will probably be able to do that less now. Occasionally I take my friend who lives paycheck to paycheck on a weekend getaway since she is stressed to the max. We’ve been saving miles to take one last family vacation as our son starts med school because we probably won’t be able to spend time together again for quite a long time. The plans (and long amounts of personal planning time) that were just about to be ticketed are now worthless. Being blindsided and Having the rug pulled out from under you literally overnight doesn’t set well. I do a lot of good things with my miles besides be a leech and milk the system and my EP was earned BIS the hard way. The problem here is how many AA employees suffered repeated paycuts only to have their money go to ridiculous bonuses. And how many LOYAL customers went to bat for them and have repeatedly supported them in the communities. And this is how they reward you. With the exception of maybe getting on the plane 5 minutes earlier, being EP is now different to them than a first time ticket buyer.

    ReplyReply

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