Update: American has now published the rewards for earning at least 125,000 loyalty points and flying on 30 flight segments.
Update: American tells me that miles earned from Bask Bank will not count as loyalty points. I suppose that would have made earning elite status too easy, though I wonder if American is complicating the loyalty points scheme by having eligible (like credit card spending and SimplyMiles) and ineligible (like Bask Bank or transferring Marriott points) partners?
In other news, flying Brazil’s GOL Airlines will count for earning loyalty points.
American will announce the choice reward benefit thresholds in January.
Originally posted on 10/26:
EQMs and EQDs will be a thing of the past. Starting on 1/1/22, you will need loyalty points to earn status.
American is moving the elite qualifying year from a calendar year based system, to March through February, with status expiring on 3/31.
However in 2022, you can earn loyalty points based on earnings in January or February to help qualify for status in 2021 and in 2022, with those loyalty points counting for both 2021 and 2022 elite status qualification.
In 2023 you would need to earn loyalty points between 3/1/23-2/29/24 to earn status from when you qualify through 3/31/25.
American is also extending status for current elites through 3/31/22 so that they have time to requalify in the beginning of next year and carry those loyalty points forward for 2023 status.
You can earn loyalty points from flights, credit card spending, stays at partner hotels when crediting the points to American, AAdvantage Dining, SimplyMiles, eShopping, and select other sources of American miles that are still being hammered out. Purchased and transferred miles don’t earn loyalty points.
You’ll need to earn 30K loyalty points for Gold, 75K for Platinum, 125K for Platinum Pro, and 200K for Executive Platinum.
American awards 5 miles per dollar spend on flights. Gold members earn a 40% mileage bonus when flying American, JetBlue, and OneWorld partners, Platinum gets 60%, Platinum Pro 80%, and Executive Platinum earns 120% bonus miles. Those bonuses count towards loyalty points. That means a non-elite member on a $500 ticket would earn 2,500 redeemable miles and 2,500 loyalty points. An Executive Platinum member on a $500 ticket would earn 5,500 redeemable miles and 5,500 loyalty points after the 120% bonus.
Interestingly, American will award full loyalty points on basic economy tickets. Currently they don’t award EQMs and EQDs on those tickets as that was stripped away when American started allowing upgrades on basic economy tickets. However those will remain upgradable and will now count for earning elite status.
You’ll earn 1 loyalty point per dollar spent on most Citi, Barclays, and other AA credit cards. That includes cards like:
- The CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum World Mastercard is offering 65,000 AA miles for opening the card and spending $4,000 in 4 months.
- The Citi AAdvantage Platinum World Elite Consumer Mastercard is offering 50,000 AA miles for opening the card and spending $2,500 in 3 months.
- The Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Consumer Mastercard is offering 50,000 AA miles for opening the card and spending $5,000 in 3 months.
- The Citi AAdvantage MileUp Consumer Mastercard is offering 10,000 AA miles and a $50 statement credit for opening the card and spending $500 in 3 months.
Cards like Aviator Silver and Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Consumer Mastercard will offer Loyalty Points as threshold bonuses instead of EQMs/EQDs.
Note that signup bonuses and category bonuses don’t earn loyalty points. That means that while you earn 2 redeemable miles per dollar on groceries on the Citi AAdvantage MileUp Consumer Mastercard, you will earn one loyalty point per dollar.
In other words if you don’t fly at all, you can spend $30K on your AA cards for Gold, $75K for Platinum, $125K for Platinum Pro, and $200K for top-tier Executive Platinum.
Of course there’s an opportunity cost there. If you value AA miles at 1.3 cents each and spending on a card like Citi Double Cash Card at a minimum value of 2 cents, then spending $200K on an AA card would cost you $1,400. That formula will vary based on how you value AA miles and how you value other points. It will also change if you spend in categories that earn bonus AA miles.
Unfortunately, you’ll only earn loyalty choice rewards, such as Systemwide Upgrades, when qualifying for Platinum Pro or Executive Platinum with at least 30 flight segments on American, JetBlue, and OneWorld airlines that year. You can earn more bonus rewards at 350K, 550K, and 750K loyalty points.
In other words, American is willing to give you flight perks for spending, such as Group 1 boarding, upgrades on Alaska and American, main cabin extra seating, 3 free checked bags, OneWorld Emerald status with first class checkin and lounge access, 120% bonus miles, free food and drink in coach, free confirmed same day flight changes, expanded award space, and more. But they won’t give Systemwide Upgrades unless you fly.
However you won’t need to pay to fly. You can also meet the 30 flight segment minimum by flying on American marketed award travel. Booking awards with multiple stops may become the new mileage running.
So why are miles called miles anymore? For now, American will still award Million Miler miles based on the actual distance flown, though American’s Million Miler program is a sad joke compared to United or Delta’s program.
For now, American’s awards charts live for another day. That’s a big plus over Delta and United.
I think American did a nice job in threading the needle here to encourage more credit card spending, while still rewarding flyers with perks like Systemwide Upgrades. Plus it’s a whole lot simpler than United’s elite program. If Delta follows American’s lead here, United will likely be forced to match as well.
What do you think of these changes? Will you spend your way to elite status?