Finally some great frequent flier news for those that don’t spend tens of thousands of dollars. American and US Airways just released their plans to combine their frequent flier programs and guess what…they aren’t following Delta’s and United’s revenue based plans (at least, not yet). Instead they’re basically keeping the old American AAdvantage program where you earn miles based on distance and money spent.
Here’s the most important stuff from the press release they just sent me a few minutes ago (and if you want to read it from the horse’s mouth, here it is):
- American Airlines AAdvantage and US Airways Dividend Miles members will become part of the same frequent flyer program in the second quarter of 2015.
- The AAdvantage loyalty program will combine mileage balances and align elite levels and qualification criteria.
- In early 2015, members who have an account in both programs will have the opportunity to match their accounts.
AAdvantage Elite Status Membership Levels
- AAdvantage offers three levels of elite status membership – AAdvantage Executive Platinum, Platinum and Gold.
- Customers will continue to qualify for elite status based on elite-qualifying miles, points or segments.
- The current 100-segment threshold for Executive Platinum will continue until Dec. 31, 2014. On Jan. 1, 2015, the segment qualification requirement for Executive Platinum will be 120 segments for the 2016 membership year. (THIS IS A BUMMER FOR THOSE THAT FLY A LOT OF SHORT HAULS)
When the programs are combined, the four elite status levels in the Dividend Miles program will be mapped to the three elite status levels of the AAdvantage program:
Combining Accounts in the Second Quarter
- For customers who have an account in both programs and have matched their accounts early in the year, American will move their current Dividend Miles elite-qualifying activity, award mileage balances and Million Miler balances into their existing AAdvantage account in the second quarter of 2015.
- AAdvantage elite status will be based on the member’s combined elite-qualifying activity from 2014 to determine status valid through February 2016.
- At the same time, their year-to-date 2015 qualifying balances will be combined to determine status through February 2017. If combining a member’s elite qualifying balances results in their reaching a new elite status level, American will honor that status level when the programs combine.
- For Dividend Miles members who do not have an AAdvantage account, American will create one for them. Each of these members’ balances will then be transferred automatically to the new account in the second quarter of 2015.
- For AAdvantage members who do not have a Dividend Miles account, no action is needed; they will retain their existing AAdvantage number and account.
500-Mile and Complimentary Upgrade
- Once the programs combine in the second quarter of 2015, all elite members will receive complimentary, auto-requested upgrades on eligible American-marketed and operated flights less than or equal to 500 miles.
- Executive Platinum members will continue to receive complimentary upgrades on all 500-mile upgrade eligible flights, regardless of the length of the flight.
- Additionally, all complimentary upgrades will be automatically requested for each member at the time of booking. Elite member upgrade benefits will continue to work differently for American and US Airways flights initially until the airlines are on a common reservation system later in 2015.
The upgrade policy for elite members traveling on American-marketed and operated flights in eligible markets will be as follows:
Until American and US Airways share a common reservation system in late 2015, the upgrade policy for elite members traveling on US Airways-marketed and operated flights in eligible markets will be as follows:
Once American and US Airways utilize a single reservation system, all elite upgrades will follow the policy for travel on American outlined above.
- AAdvantage Executive Platinum and Dividend Miles Chairman’s Preferred members now receive a complimentary alcoholic beverage and snack item when those members travel on US Airways flights in the Main Cabin, as they receive on American.
- Starting Jan. 1, 2015, before the programs are combined, bonus miles for AAdvantage members on Business Class tickets on American and US Airways will increase from 25 to 50 percent to align with what Dividend Miles members receive today.
- Executive Platinum and Chairman’s Preferred members will also enjoy complimentary same-day flight changes on American Airlines.
- Once the programs are combined in the second quarter of 2015, AAdvantage members will be able to redeem miles for upgrades and AAnytime Awards for travel on American and US Airways flights.
- Executive Platinum members in the combined program will receive eight systemwide upgrades as they do in the current program today, and those upgrades will be valid on both American and US Airways marketed and operated flights.
Details about the 2015 AAdvantage program are available at aa.com/aadvantage2015.
Overall, it’s great news for not only American Airlines frequent fliers but the frequent flier community in general as they didn’t drop the hatchet on us like Delta and United did earlier this year. It gives a sliver of hope that they won’t go to the dark side and I think the only way they won’t is if American sees a huge influx of Delta and United passengers. If they don’t come they probably won’t leave all that money on the table as the revenue based mileage programs benefit their biggest spenders and that’s who the airlines really care about.
So tell your friends, family and colleagues to start flying American!
What Others In The Travel Industry Are Saying
- USA Today: American: Frequent-flier programs to combine this spring
- Chris McGinnis: American + US Airways combo: nothing major for now
- CrankyFlier: American’s New Upgrade Policy is a Smart Hybrid
- One Mile At A Time: New American AAdvantage Program Details
- The Points Guy: American Airlines Announces New Combined AAdvantage Program
- View From The Wing: American Just Announced Their 2015 Program and It’s REALLY Good! Here’s What You Need to Know That Isn’t On Their Website
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