American announced today that they will award miles based on the fare paid effective for flights taken on or after August 1st.
They will also copy United in adding a 75K elite tier in 2017 unimaginatively named “Platinum Pro.” American requires that Gold and Platinum members earn or purchase upgrades on flights longer than 500 miles, but Platinum Pros will receive complimentary upgrades as Executive Platinums do today.
Just as with United, base members will earn 5 miles per dollar, Golds earn 7, Platinums earn 8, Platinum Pros earn 9, and Executive Platinums earn 11.
For now, the best thing to do is to credit your flights to earn Alaska miles as they still award miles based on flight distance, though odds are that earning rates will drop there as well.
Effective in 2017 American will also require minimum spend requirements to earn elite status that will exactly mirror United’s policy. $3K for Gold, $6K for Platinum, $9K for Platinum Pro, and $12K for Executive Platinum. Delta and United have waivers of those requirements if you spend $25K on their co-brand credit card (though United won’t waive the spend requirement to earn 1K status), but American didn’t announce any waivers as of yet.
Delta and United also waive the spend requirements if you live abroad, but American didn’t announce any waivers for that either.
Million milers will be devalued as there is a new tier of elites on top of each of them that receive complimentary upgrades. Additionally next year upgrades will be prioritized by how much you have spent in the past 12 months on American flights, so million milers who don’t qualify based on spend will be pushed even further down the totem pole.
These changes, coupled with the massive devaluations that AAdvantage did earlier this year and 2 years ago when they eliminated free stopovers and their round-the-world award chart without notice takes most of the value out of the program.
I find that United has far better award availability (especially if you have their credit card), has far more generous routing rules, and still allows valuable free stopovers on awards, making them a better airline for accumulating miles. If you want to fly on American you’ll do better by focusing on partners like Alaska and British Airways for mileage accumulation and redemption.
American has managed to take the worst of USAirways and American to become a truly bumbling airline, worst overall, worst in cancelled flights, and worst in mishandled baggage:
Their mileage program was still lucrative until recently, so they’ve managed to devalue that from all sides as well.
Will American’s changes affect your preferred choice of airline to fly on or accumulate miles with? Hit the comments!