American Airlines Announces Elite Status Extension and Other AAdvantage Updates
Well, the news is finally here on AA elite status extension news. People have been waiting for some time to hear what American Airlines was going to do for elite status holders in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic that is greatly limiting people’s travel. Delta Air Lines was the first major American carrier to announce they were extending status for elite members. United followed behind Delta. Now, AA is the trifecta of the three large carriers to take this action.
Here are the major takeaways (more details below):
- Extend AAdvantage® elite status through January 2022
- Lower elite qualification thresholds for 2020
- Admirals Club extension
- Extend the expiration date for systemwide upgrades
- Lower EQM thresholds for Executive Platinum rewards for 2020
- Introduce a promotion to reach Million Miler℠ status
- Waive award reinstatement and change fees for award bookings
- Add a new American Airlines Vacations offer for AAdvantage® elite status members
Lower 2020 Elite Status Qualification Levels:
American Airlines announced they are going to lower the thresholds for earning status in 2020. This gives you the opportunity to earn additional SWUs if you get to Executive Platinum. It also makes it a little easier for people in the lower category of elite status to possibly enhance and move up to the next level. These new qualification levels will take effect by May 15, 2020.
Keep in mind, with the status extension you will not earn systemwide upgrades (SWU). You only receive new SWU if you qualify or re-qualify for Executive Platinum Status in 2020.
Here is the new chart that AA posted:
Systemwide Upgrade (SWU) Extension:
AA also announced they will extending SWUs expiration dates. Any SWUs that expire on January 31, 2021 will now expire on July 31, 2021.
Accounts will be updated by May 15, 2020 to reflect this change.
Admirals Club memberships and One-Day Passes purchased from the airline will be automatically extended for 6 months beyond their expiration date as part of American’s effort to care for customers. The membership extension applies to all members as of March 1, 2020. New memberships purchased between March 1 and May 31, 20202 will also be extended by 6 months.
Enhancing Million Miler Earning Potential:
Another interesting change AA is offering gives you the opportunity to increase your Million Miler balance through credit card spend, putting you closer to Million Miler status levels that award you lifetime elite status. All purchases on Citi/AAdvantage and AAdvantage Aviator products between May 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020 will count as one mile toward Million Miler status on AA.
As a reminder, 1,00,000 Million Miler miles gives you Gold Status for life and 35,000 bonus miles. At 2,000,000 miles you get Platinum Status for life and four one-way systemwide upgrades. After you earn an additional million miles past 2,000,000, you earn four one-way systemwide upgrades.
American Airlines Vacation Credit:
On July 1, 2020, American Airlines will also be given elite members a credit for use with AA Vacations. The amount of the credit will be based on the status you hold as of June 30, 2020. Here is the credit amount by status level:
- Gold: $300
- Platinum and Platinum Pro: $350
- Executive Platinum: $400
There are a few terms and conditions, but the main points to keep in mind to use the credit are:
- You must spend a minimum of $2,500;
- The travel must commence by December 20, 2021; and
- The package must include roundtrip airfare and hotels.
While in the interim this looks pretty good, I am a little worried about what the future may look like once things generally start to bounce back where travel opens up and people hit the road again. There is always the possibility this relatively good news could turn into bad news next year with changes to the program.
This may merely be putting major changes aside that would have taken place had the pandemic not hit when it did. I can’t say that changes would have occurred for sure, but we know United announced changes to their program in October 2019 before all of the COVID-19 news and changes to flying occurred.