American just sent out the following email to AAdvantage members with accounts that were opened before July 1, 1989:
For more than 30 years the American Airlines AAdvantage® program has been making travel special. Thank you for your loyalty for so many years as an AAdvantage member.
In order to streamline our program, we are announcing a change to AAdvantage miles earned before July 1, 1989, also called Miles With No Expiration.
Starting November 1, 2012, these miles will automatically be converted to Miles Subject to Expiration, and because of your tenured loyalty, you will earn a 25% mileage bonus on every unredeemed mile earned prior to July 1, 1989. To have your Miles With No Expiration converted and to earn the mileage bonus, you do not need to take any action. For more information about this change, please visit AA.com/MileConversion.
Once your miles have been converted, as long as you earn or redeem AAdvantage miles at least once every 18 months, your miles will not expire. This is our normal mileage policy and more information can be found at AA.com/AAdvantageTerms.
It is easy to keep your account active! In addition to earning AAdvantage miles for travel, you can earn miles for making everyday purchases such as dining out, shopping and paying your electricity bill. Plus, you can redeem miles for hotel stays, rental cars, flight awards, and more! Find out more ways to earn and redeem miles by visiting AA.com/AAdvantage.
Finally, to receive special offers and exclusive promotions, be sure to update your account at AA.com/MyAccount and sign up for email notifications.
Thank you for your continued loyalty!
Suzanne L. Rubin
AAdvantage® Loyalty Program
If your AAdvantage account was opened before July 1, 1989, you’ll probably see that your miles without expiration are still listed separately.
Now, I was only born in 1990 so this doesn’t apply to me, though I do have several family members with “older” accounts.
On one hand it’s nice they’ll earn a 25% bonus on those miles without expiration. What I wasn’t aware of (given that I didn’t really pay attention to their mileage program of 20+ years ago), is that members with “old” miles still have access to certain better value awards, outlined here. Just to be perfectly clear, miles will continue not to expire as long as there’s at least some qualifying activity every 18 months.
Anyway, I certainly see why some people are frustrated, though I suspect 90%+ of people had no clue about the “special” award chart for “old” miles, and will appreciate the 25% mileage bonus. It’s definitely an interesting precedent, though. We’ve seen airlines get out of obligations for lifetime status through mergers, takeovers, and liquidation, but this is the first time I’ve seen an airline still in business change the terms while operating independently.