American has long offered one of the most generous programs when it comes to million miler status. Most airlines only give you miles towards million miler status for actually flying, though American has long counted all earned miles — be it through credit card spend, transferring miles from partners, purchasing miles, etc. — towards million miler status. That meant that for spending a million dollars on one of their co-branded credit cards you would earn lifetime Gold status with them.
As I mentioned back in April, rumors have long been swirling around that they would be adjusting the million miler program to no longer count all miles towards that status.
Well, that day has finally come, or at least the date has been set.
American just announced the changes to their million miler program, which kick in on December 1, 2011.
As of that date only base miles earned through flying American or one of their airline partners will count towards million miler status (yes, that excludes elite bonus miles). Furthermore, for a “limited time” you’ll earn one mile towards lifetime status per dollar spent on the Citi WorldElite Mastercard, assuming the account is opened by December 1, 2011.
So it’s kind of funny because on one hand they’re telling us they’re “serious” about million miler status now, but at the same time obviously still trying to generate extra credit card spend thanks to their million miler program. I wouldn’t be surprised if that “limited time” offer isn’t all that limited.
The new million miler benefits will be as follows:
AAdvantage Members will enjoy the following benefits when Million Miler status is reached:
- At one million (1,000,000) Million Miler miles, AAdvantage members will receive lifetime AAdvantage Gold®status and 35,000 AAdvantage bonus miles**
- At two million (2,000,000) Million Miler miles, AAdvantage members will receive lifetime AAdvantage Platinum®status and four (4) one-way systemwide upgrades
- At each additional Million Miler mark, AAdvantage members will receive four (4) additional one-way systemwide upgrades
The major downside is that they’re making it infinitely harder to reach million miler status, but not really improving the benefits, other than the bonus miles and systemwide upgrades. For million miler you still earn lifetime Gold status, and for two million miler you still earn lifetime Platinum status. I’m guessing that’s largely a function of the number of people that have qualified for lifetime status in the past, and that they don’t want them all to have Platinum status.
For comparison purposes, United offers their million milers lifetime Premier Executive status (middle tier), while Continental offers their million milers lifetime Silver status (low tier) for them and a companion. Though I guess we should wait and see how the new million miler program looks.
So obviously if you’re very close to lifetime status it might make sense to invest a bit in order to achieve the status by December 1, 2011.
I’m not sure what I should do. I’m far from million miler, so on one hand I feel like I should transfer points from Starwood to American to at least get a bit closer to million miler status, given that I’m flying American regularly now. At the same time I feel like million miler status is largely a “gimmick” for the frequent flyer, given that we don’t know how long any of these airlines will be around, and also that I plan on maintaining my Executive Platinum status, so I don’t see any additional benefits for having lifetime status. Sure, if I lose that status it might be worth something one day, but then again, Platinum status would have real value to me, while Gold not a whole lot. I’m not saying it’s not worth anything, because it is. But I’m not sure how much of an investment it’s really worth.
So are any of you taking action because of the changes? Maybe buying miles, transferring miles, etc.? I’m sure American is going to love the extra business this will drum up…