American continues their race to the top.
- In April they shocked the world by bringing back the ability to spend your way to lifetime million miles elite status for the remainder of 2020.
- In August they matched United’s free tickets changes, but did it much better. They included Canada in free changes and they allowed voucher refunds when changes are made to a less expensive ticket.
- They also removed basic economy restrictions. Passengers with basic economy fares can now purchase upgrades, priority boarding, preferred or main cabin extra seating, or same day confirmed flight changes. Elite members on basic economy fares can now get free upgrades, use upgrade certificates, select free preferred or main cabin extra seating, and make same day confirmed flight changes!
- American also eliminated standby fees on all tickets, including basic economy and award tickets.
- In October they announced that they will lower elite status requirements and allow spending on their cards to replace spending on flights to help earn elite status.
- In November they announced that they would eliminated all award redeposit fees and all phone booking fees. They also paused mileage expiration is now paused through 6/30/21. American previously announced that miles won’t expire until a member hits 22.5 years old.
- They also announced last month that they’re eliminating all change fees for all flights, except basic economy, when your travel originates in North or South America.
- Last week they majorly enhanced their Platinum Pro and Executive Platinum elite levels.
And starting tomorrow, American will give priority boarding in group 6 to all AAdvantage members, even on basic economy tickets!
Of course cardholders and elites were already able to board early even on basic economy tickets, but this will help encourage more people to signup with AAdvantage.
This comes after American removed most basic economy restrictions on elite members. American used to not allow carry-ons with basic economy fares, but that restriction was lifted as well.
All you need to do is have your AAdvantage number in your reservation. Don’t forget that you can still enroll in AAdvantage and get a free gift.
A key basic economy differentiation in the future will be the inability to change tickets for free, though for now even basic economy tickets can be changed for free. American has extended their basic economy change fee waiver for tickets purchased through 1/31/21.
American’s new boarding order will be:
- Group 1 (First class, military, business class on 2 cabin planes)
- Group 2 (Business class on 3 cabin planes, Executive Platinum, OneWorld Emerald)
- Group 3 (Platinum, Platinum Pro, OneWorld Sapphire)
- Group 4 (Gold, OneWorld Ruby, Premium Economy, Main Cabin Extra, Citi AAdvantage Executive cardmembers, Travelers who bought Priority boarding)
- Group 5 (Main Cabin Extra, AAdvantage credit cardholders)
- Group 6 (AAdvantage members)
- Group 7
- Group 8
- Group 9 (Basic economy non-AAdvantage members)
It’s great to see basic economy restrictions become less onerous! United, are you paying attention?