American And US Airways Award Program Changes Without Notice

Earlier I posted about American making some massive changes to their standard level AAnytime awards without any advance notice.

Overnight they basically raised the cost of standard awards from double the cost of a saver award, to in some cases almost triple the cost of a saver award. Unfortunately these changes seem to just be the beginning.

Let me say upfront that as much as I hate devaluations with a passion, I respect them as long as they’re communicated well and advance notice is provided.

There’s nothing more deceitful on the part of a loyalty program than making changes without advance notice. Members work hard to accrue miles with specific redemption goals in mind, so when you radically alter that value proposition without giving them some advance notice, it’s just plain wrong.

I’ll be the first to admit I’ve been an American cheerleader up until now. And that’s because up until now I believe they’ve genuinely approached their loyalty program with a different level of respect than other legacy carriers. And they’ve worked hard on that… until today, where they threw out years of hard work in a matter of hours.

Not that I’d ever believe the marketing bullets an airline feeds us, but please, American, explain the one below. Their theme for the merger has basically boiled down to “you can trust us, we won’t f&#@ you over.”

Trust AA

So I’m curious, American, where does making a handful of changes to your loyalty program overnight with no advance notice fit into the “trusting you” equation? The way these changes have been handled is even sleazier than anything Delta SkyMiles or United MileagePlus has done in the past year… and that takes hard work!

Here are the most recent changes, all made without any advance notice:

American Eliminates oneworld Explorer Awards

I’ve written in the past about the amazing value of American’s distance based oneworld Explorer Awards. Through these awards you can fly up to 16 segments and have as many stopovers as you’d like.

Now they’ve added the following message to the award reservation page of aa.com (bolding mine):

AAnytime Awards: Effective April 8, 2014, for tickets issued for travel starting June 1, 2014, we have updated award levels. We will continue to honor any award tickets issued on / before April 7, 2014. For award bookings after April 8 for travel between April 8 and June 1, 2014, these award mileage levels will apply.

oneworld Explorer Awards are no longer available for award booking. We will continue to honor any award tickets issued on / before April 7, 2014.

OneWorld-Explorer-Awards

So, yeah, overnight they eliminated Explorer Awards. No advance notice. Whatsoever.

American Eliminates Stopovers At Gateway Cities On Award Tickets

American’s stopover policy has long been that you can have a free stopover at your international gateway city on an award, even on a one-way.

Well, overnight it appears that’s no longer the case anymore either. You can’t have a stopover on a one-way award anymore, and if you try to change the date of an existing “stopover” segment it will price the segments separately.

US Airways Dividend Miles Award Chart Changes

Take a look at the US Airways award charts:

Notice anything interesting? Yep, they’ve changed the cost of business class award tickets between the US and North Asia from 90,000 miles t0 110,000 miles, which is the same rate American charges for travel to “Asia 2.” They’ve kept everything else the same.

Again, no advance notice.

US Airways Adds Two Standard Award Levels As Well

Not to be outdone, US Airways has also added an additional standard award level for travel starting June 1, 2014.

The Biggest Crime Here Is The Lack Of Advance Notice

Obviously these changes suck. That being said, if these are all the changes they were planning on making to their award charts (which I highly doubt), then I’d say we got off easy.

So for them to make this many changes overnight without any advance notice is absolutely disgusting. People work hard to accrue miles, and ultimately American has the right to adjust award levels, offerings, and rules. But if someone has been working towards a distance based Explorer Award, and from one day to the next no longer has the ability to book that, it’s just not right.

I’m not sure if this is what frequent flyers should expect post-merger or what. But it’s horrible, deceptive, and just not right to make such major changes without any warning. And frankly the most disappointing part of this is that I know the AAdvantage leadership team is incredibly competent, so I can’t help but wonder who thought this approach was okay.

Comments

  1. says

    Ugh, they killed Explorer Awards too? :(

    Good thing I had been hedging my bets with United. At least they had the decently to announce their devaluation in advance.

  2. John says

    Agree with you 110(k)% lucky

    Can’t believe they (US that is) did this after initiating the share miles promo. I was wondering why all the transfers were going through instantaneously…

    The AA changes suck too. I need to stop collecting miles and start using them!

    Personally, I would still be happy to “buy” biz class tickets for $1300 but it will take more work now to get to 110k and no one likes a f$%^*ing unannounced devaluation.

    Then again, there’s been so much abuse of the US routing rules and award chart in the past that I guess this is karma in a way (for some). And raising the threshold might actually give me a better chance to redeem my boatload of Oneworld miles now

  3. WW says

    Well I think because they are “competent”, they know this is the “sweet spot” from the beginning…

  4. Eric FD says

    time for a serious revolt… this is ludicrous and ridiculous!!! (recall, few years ago, the flight forum protests against United eliminating meal service on TATL flights yielded in a reversal of the policy).

    start a revolution!!!

  5. smittytabb says

    Wow, I spent the entire day of April 7 in the air (and I mean the ENTIRE day) flying from Taipei to the US on Cathy & AA. Started in the early morning, crossed the dateline and then got home around midnight. Waking up this morning and reading the unannounced devaluations is a kick in the pants. The pulling of the One World Explorer award with no notice at all is particularly deceitful. I have been loyal to this airline achieving EXP status several years running and saving my miles for one of these awards. Not happy that this and many other changes were made without any notice whatsoever. This is beyond everyone’s worst fears. Trust is gone.

  6. John says

    Lucky, kudos to you for actually writing about this before the other bloggers who are apparently sleeping (and in one case just wrote about free stopovers on AA one ways)!

  7. abby says

    was about to book a nearly year long explorer award. i never worried about it because i was sure if there were changes, there would be notice. this is what happens when competition is eliminated. this sure does have a ‘monopoly’ and collusion feel to it.

    this makes me sick.

    these trillions in printed money cannot be called back soon enough. i hope the implosion sends every one of these airlines back to bankruptcy. jesus i’m pissed.

  8. abby says

    Hilton, for gutting their program last year, gave more than ample advance notice, didn’t play games with availability, and allowed bookings 2 years out and has honoured them- something they didn’t have to do. they gutted the program, stabbed nobody in the back and did so in a way that everyone had the opportunity to redeem at the rates they had hoped for when they acquired the points.

    what the US airlines have done is basically piss on all of their customers and say, if you don’t like it- f-off. knowing with their new tri-monopoly we have nowhere to f-off to.

  9. RakSiam says

    It’s been obvious for some time now that the airlines couldn’t care less about their customers. Blame the mergers. Blame the shareholders. Blame bad management.

  10. James K. says

    Right there with you Faye — I couldn’t wait to take advantage of an Explorer award. Well, actually, I guess I did wait. And therein lay the problem…

  11. says

    In all fairness to AA (dodging spitballs), they are probably trying to avoid the situation that happened at UA, which did give ample notice to their devaluation-a flurry of mass award bookings which essentially wiped out the best premium award travel in *A for the next year.

  12. Lucas Cabral says

    Really bad move! I’m afraid about what might happen to the saver award levels…
    Sadly, I was just trying to book a ticket a few hours ago and the agent told me about the changes. I’ve my ticket on hold until I get some more miles transferred.

    Anyways, Lucky. I was trying to book the following itinerary: GRU/JFK/YVR in F (JJ and CX – same as you did few weeks ago)

    29/08 JJ8080 10:30pm – 07:10am
    30/08 CX 889 9:55pm – 12:45am

    They charged both flights separated and ended up 92.5K. The lady said anything over 4hrs is considered now a stopover. In other hand they could instead of YVR add YYZ on AA J on a 8:10pm flight for the same 62.5K…

    When I tried to argue the call got disconnected. Tried already 3 other times and the agents say the system fares the same 92.5k to YVR. Besides calling again, would you give me any consistent suggestion?

    Thanks in advance,

    Lucas

  13. says

    @ Lucas Cabral — Typically I would say call again, and ask the agent to have the rates desk look at the pricing, since that should be allowed as a published fare. That being said, it’s possible that rule has changed overnight as well, so no guarantees.

  14. says

    First it was United for me, stopped flying them after the merger and all the benefits they took away. Now this, there is no excuse to make these changes overnight and not give any lead time, just goes to show you they could care less about their customers which is not cool at all. I agree its their program and they can make changes if they like but when I spend months and years earning miles and then have them devalued without warning is BS. I stuck with US throught their first merger (used to live in Phoenix) even though everyone said they sucked, food was bad, their product was old and service was crappy. Well I guess they proved me wrong. Have to start looking at Virgin America I guess, wish they flew more places and would step up and announce a great loyalty plan that blows away the rest of the crappy domestic carriers. Looks like idiots run their program after all.

  15. Nick says

    I stopped trusting Dougie and stopped accruing to US when he tried to take away elite redeemable miles bonuses at US back in 2007. You AA flyers would do well to diversify there is more to come…

  16. ncSam says

    I guess this is what we can expect when billions of miles are printed via sign up bonuses, especially the most recent 100k mile one. Another good reminder to earn and burn.

  17. scott b says

    It appears the great value of US Air off-peak business class to Europe in Jan/Feb completely vanished… that’s incredibly disappointing.

  18. Sean says

    American is using the hashtag #flyoneworld in their twitter ads. If we’d like them to pay attention to why changes without notice are a bad idea, hit them where they’ll hear about it, by including hashtags for both them AND their partners and be sure to post why #flyoneworld is less attractive because one of their members can’t be trusted. If I’m JAL or Finnair and I’m getting tons of negative feedback because of American’s decisions, I’d sure as hell let them know they better fix it even if temporarily.

  19. Captain says

    I want to be pissed but in all seriousness who didn’t see Parker pulling these stunts as soon as he got his fat face in American Way magazine?

  20. John says

    It looks like AA is targeting “sweet spots” in the program, eliminating awards and rules that people like us leverage to get the most value out of our miles. They’re taking a calculated risk that most of their customers won’t notice or care. They’re doing it without notice to prevent us (the “mile maximizers”) from booking a bunch of the old awards during the phase-out window. I think most frequent flyers these days work hard for status, not redeemable miles, which are more or less becoming a credit card incentive. AA probably has more leeway than you think with changes to their award chart that don’t alienate the majority of their frequent flyers. Delta did it. We can get mad, but consolidation is changing the US airline business. Fares are rising and frequent flyer miles are effectively a form of discount that all the airlines are going to make harder to use.

  21. Al says

    Do you think we have a strong case with us air to request a refund of the shared miles?

  22. Curtis says

    This all SERIOUSLY sucks… VERY pissed about no advanced notice on this. I will certainly be sending a complaint in and channeling social media to make it known that AA cannot be trusted one bit now. UGH!

  23. Autolycus says

    I wish I couldn’t say this today, but my comments yesterday about AA vs. DL were based on a bad feeling I had. So now the situation is:
    1) AA just raised the cost of non-sAAver awards to as much as 3x like Delta
    2) AA has several tiers like Delta
    3) AA eliminated stopovers, which Delta does still allow–let’s hope they stay when Delta starts offering 1-way awards
    4) AA is eliminating 1st class on their newer planes
    5) AA’s newest planes with lie-flat business don’t tend to have any sAAver availability, whereas Delta does still release some.
    6) And all this changed without any notice at all

    Now I’m just hoping another shoe doesn’t drop between now and May when I need to book travel for next April. I hate to think what AAdvantage will look like if CX or BA were to cut award seat availability–of course BA might never do that, considering the YQ they’re pulling in on those already.

    I’m sure you agree with this basic principal: the airlines are businesses with very heavy capital investment requirements. When they are spending $10MMs on cabin refurbs to attract high-dollar customers away from their competition, they don’t want to give steep discounts to “non-revenue” customers using miles. The reality is that the operating costs are similar amongst the legacy 3, so ultimately their fares and mileage programs will tend toward being nearly identical.

  24. says

    Now that I see this, I really appreciate Jeffie gave advance notice so i was able to get a killer *A booking in for OZfest. I guess i picked a perfect time to start to ween myself of elite programs. Just hope AS doesnt do anytghing right away whn i still have close to half million miles left

  25. ffi says

    Be afraid, VERY afraid
    The US chart for a High 2 ECONOMY in the US is 100,000 miles, business is 150k miles !!!
    It is better on DL where with PWM you can get it for less at times for short notice flights.

  26. Jessica says

    Can they legally change the rules to awards already booked? I had booked a trip from BZE-DFW-CUN. We fly BZE-DFW in June and I currently have DFW-CUN booked for November. However, I was really hoping to change this last leg and just waiting to get everything in place. I would have booked DFW-CUN with BA miles had I known of the new changes. It would have been much cheaper in Business class. I booked this flight with the knowledge that I can change the dates at anytime with no additional cost (Cash or Miles). How can they change the rules of something I already paid for?

  27. BMW says

    This just turned my honeymoon upside-down… Was all set, waiting for 25k Dividend Miles to post and then all of a sudden I need 20k more. Okay, I get it, US is changing to become one with American, however, it was quite an overnight decision.

    Why didn’t they change their award system to being able to purchase one-ways?

    Any suggestions re: getting an easy 20K posted in a few days (I know I can buy that will cost $700) and re: getting US Airways to sell me a one-way award?

  28. Andrew says

    The no advance warning isn’t a great sign. But beyond that, am I the only one here who doesn’t really care about these changes? I was never going to touch a Standard award, the Oneworld explorer award was something that was nice in theory, but probably not a reality for another 35 years until I retire and actually have the time to do it, and the loss of the 90K awards to North Asia gets a shoulder shrug from me as well. That gravy train has been around far too long to be upset about it changing, even with no notice.

    I just don’t think the collective meltdown here and the use of adjectives like “disgusting,” “horrible,” and “massive” are warranted. This doesn’t even come close to the recent devaluations at DL and UA.

  29. says

    @ Jessica — Trying to get clarification on that now, as I wouldn’t think so, but others are saying differently.

  30. says

    @ BMW — You could try sharing miles, as that might be more cost effective. I’m sure they’d be happy to sell you a one-way award, just for the same price as a roundtrip ;-)

  31. says

    @ James — Yep, but American considers “Asia 1″ to be only Japan, Korea, and Mongolia, so somewhat limited in practice.

  32. Bgriff says

    This does suck, though as a Delta flier I must admit a little bit of schadenfreude. (At the very least, the I am glad that the temptation I have occasionally felt over the years of “maybe I should switch to AA” is gone.)

    I am most surprised at the elimination of stopovers. Since UA and DL (and US!) were already more generous than AA in that regard, that would have been the last place I would have expected AA to get stingier.

  33. says

    @Andrew But those adjectives that you bemoan are used precisely against the issue you hand-wave: no advanced notice. *That’s* the problem here. I happen to agree with you regarding the actual changes. But what this does is set a *precedent* for future changes that leaves everyone on edge. It’s the uncertainty that is the real cost here, not these award chart changes. How do we know when they’re going to do their real devaluation to align with UA/DL? This kind of uncertainty gives me an incentive to just speculatively book all sorts of crazy shit (that I can always cancel as EXP) just so I lock in the current award chart, further perpetuating the problem AA is presumably *trying* to solve.

    Uncertainly is a very, very bad thing, and American has lost our trust.

  34. Rick says

    Lucky, did you speak w/ US Air’s rates desk? I bet their agents are going to stop doing creative routing. Lack of their routing rules makes them slightly more attractive for trips w/ stopover now.

  35. says

    @ Rick — Haven’t noticed any differences with US Airways’ routing rules yet, and to be honest doubt anything will change there in the short term.

  36. Oliver says

    Well, as an Europe-based USDM-user, I’m not that involved with the current changes, but its really inappropriate to change without further notice. Are they really expect me to buy/share miles with the current bonus actions? Just to learn in a few days, that they change the rules again? The worst thing you can loose as a company is the trust of your loyal customers. And they did it within a second. How stupid!

  37. Santastico says

    Well, I guess AA hired someone from Delta and that person started working already.

  38. Josh says

    I’m most worried about AA’s ominous: “We plan to officially announce some new policies for partner airlines later today.” If United was any guide, I’m pooping myself.

  39. Justin says

    @Ben Hughes

    If you weren’t practicing earn & burn already, you were doing it wrong… this is just further proof that E&B is the only way to play this game.

  40. LarryH says

    Lucky,
    Just received the email below from AA, which mentions nothing about raising Anytime awards, only REDUCING such awards on certain routes. Thoughts about this in relation to the lack of notice?

    As we integrate our two airlines, our goal is simple: restore American Airlines to its status as the greatest airline in the world. That’s why we’re taking delivery of two new aircraft every week, have given you access to the world’s best network through a codeshare agreement, and now offer the ability to earn and redeem miles on both carriers.

    As we continue to align our business, we have a few updates to share with you about our new award travel levels and checked bag policies:

    Redeem for less. Effective today for travel starting June 1, 2014, a one way AAnytime award now starts as low as 20,000 miles plus applicable taxes and carrier–imposed fees. Plus we’ve lowered the minimum number of miles needed for AAnytime awards to popular destinations like Hawaii, the Caribbean and Europe. Our lowest AAnytime mileage levels are available for more than 50% of the year. Don’t forget we still offer MileSAAver awards that can be redeemed for as low as 12,500 miles each way, plus applicable taxes and carrier-imposed fees.

    No blackout dates! Continue to use your miles for any seat on any American Airlines flight using an AAnytime Award. Award levels vary by date and a few select dates throughout the year are now offered at higher mileage levels.

    For complete information, visit the American Airlines award chart.

  41. Ivan Y says

    This really, really blows. I have HKG-SFO-IAH award on AA (with SFO stopover being just a few days) but will need to change dates so, if I understand it correctly, it will now reprice as HKG-SFO and SFO-IAH separately. What the heck!?!?

    @ Lucky – in addition to following up on the stopover for existing tickets, could you also look into what Lucas Cabral mention about AA considering layovers 4+ hours as stopovers? That’s pretty insane and makes LM’s 8-hour rule look super-generous.

    :(

  42. Stephan says

    As per Canadian Kilometers it looks like USDM’S 90K to N. Asia is a thing of the past now too.

  43. Jessica says

    An update: As posted earlier, I currently have the following one-way booked: BZE-DFW(stop)-CUN. I wanted to change the date of the last leg (DFW-CUN) so I called AA. The representative was said that I could change the date and proceeded to help me with the it. We selected a date and she saud, “wait, it is telling me I have to redeposit you ticket. I know we just changed some of our rules so let me put you on hold for a second.” I waited on hold for 20 minutes and she come back and said it was all changed. I asked her if it was going to cost me anything and she said no. I already have my seats selected for my new flight. So, moral of the story, it seems like the system would not allow her to change the dates but they were able to override this since it was previously booked.

    Still disappointed with the lack of notice but very grateful I was able to change the dates of my existing reservation.

  44. Kelly says

    P*$$^! beyond belief? Want to start a revolt? If you haven’t done so already, make your voice heard at their Facebook and Twitter pages. Beyond that, write Doug Parker, even if you think it won’t do anything. Do it.

    Otherwise, you’re voice won’t be heard complaining here, other than to the choir and Lucky.

  45. says

    Wow! Very happy that I booked my RTW explorer award when I did. I do worry now what will happen if I need to make any changes to that itinerary.

    Any insight on that Lucky?

  46. pavel says

    knew it was coming but jeez… no advance notice is really sleazy. this was my first year qualifying AA plat and now i’m reconsidering my entire loyalty to this airline, with whom i have already spent over $15k in full-fare tickets this year.

    astonishing.

  47. Dax says

    “I’ll be the first to admit I’ve been an American cheerleader up until now.”

    Kind of like the lady who refuses to leave her abusive husband because she’s too blind to see what’s coming and she’s always shocked when the next punch comes.

    If only the husband would tell her the punch is coming she would support being beaten again and again because advance communication makes virtually anything seem fair.

    How about writing another article telling us that journalists who bash airlines are too clueless to see the amazing values being given to us points peons.

  48. says

    @ Dax — And at the end of the day I’ll continue to stand by how I view miles and points. This alters my view of the value of loyalty to an airline, but certainly not my view of signing up for a cards offering a 100K sign-up bonus and getting a business class ticket to Asia out of it.

    Earn and burn… earn and burn…

  49. eddy says

    I responded to my email announcement from American that loyalty was a two-way street and I was off to United. I doubt it will have any impact whatsoever, but if enough of us say something to American, and not just in the comments in blogs and on FlyerTalk, maybe we will give a few people some restless nights and make them think twice before pulling a stunt like this again in the future.

  50. Skye1 says

    Well said, Ben. In fact, in thinking on wording for an e-mail to AA on this, yours is perfect (so, won’t copy/paste, and will now think on a different way to say the same thing). Once trust is broken, it’s very difficult to be earned again, and comments like AA’s truly endanger my trust.

  51. Brian L. says

    “so I can’t help but wonder who thought this approach was okay.”

    Lucky, I’d bet it was DUI Dougie.

  52. Sam says

    Wow people, it’s just a small devaluation. Relax. We could solve a lot of world issues if people got this upset about things other than frequent flyer miles. And this comes from someone with over 700k AA miles who was planning two explorer awards.

  53. Chris says

    Don’t know think that you saying over and over that 90k US Airways miles to go to Asia is a bargain made them catch on to it? It’s the only thing they changed to their award chart.

    I’m not trying to hate or to troll. I’m just wondering. I’d bet that the airlines and banks have employees who read this.

  54. says

    @ Chris — And the award has been around for over four years, and I’ve been touting it all along. It’s an award cost they’re perfectly justified to change. The issue is that they did so without advance notice.

  55. Tom says

    Does anyone think it is worth complaining to our local representatives and senators about anti-consumer behavior shortly after the merger was approved? Maybe some heat on this front would make them think more about future changes.

  56. Alan says

    Much better post that Gary’s, Lucky. This sort of overnight change is terrible (I’m feeling especially hit after BA’s unannounced changes too!) – I was saving up for an Explorer award and now that’s gone as an option. The change to Asia awards is obviously annoying although I can’t believe how little extra they still want for F over C – being based in Europe they were awards I was less likely to use though. I’m off to email AAdvantage FWIW.

  57. Thanh Pham says

    @Sam: For someone with that many miles, you seem to not understand the reasons why everyone’s so upset about. Hopefully with this post, you’ll go back and see again why. I don’t think you have been in this game long enough to understand the history as well as potential of what future can bring.

  58. AH says

    Lucky, Do you foresee any other major changes that could impacts us, as in any further devaluation? I agree with you on post 78. Also what is the best time to book QR as award booking on US/AA?

  59. Kelly says

    Some have discussed ‘loyalty’ or ‘trust’ relative to this, as well as other programs. I do not think it’s lost on any of us that these are corporations that serve shareholders FIRST, not customers. They may say that customers are what keep them in business and while you and I believe it, they say it. Loyalty programs are quickly becoming smoke and mirrors types of programs to lure all of us – as consumers – into a false sense of ‘loyalty’.

    Dax above made a fair point. For me, this reminded me of Hansel & Gretel being lured by sweets into the witch’s lair.

    Any corporation that seeks a merger to become more powerful serves no one. Except shareholders. Is that who you want to be beholden to with the share of your wallet and what’s best for them, not you?

  60. Bob says

    I’ll say the say the same thing I said in a previous post: Everything Dougie touches turns to garbage.

  61. Louis says

    If I have a few transcon “placeholders” saved as leftovers from my gateway city stopovers redemptions (LAX-JFK, SFO-JFK, LAX-MIA), are they now not changeable???

  62. says

    @ Louis — I’ve heard mixed reports on this the past 12 hours. Apparently as long as the ticket was issued before today you should still be able to change it without a reprice. Apparently.

  63. says

    Great write up of the changes. Although a devaluation sometime this year was definitely not a surprise, it was not very customer friendly not to provide advance notice. At least they did not make changes to saver awards.

  64. Allen says

    Did a quick comparison… for people who use AAnytime, this constitutes the following increases in redemption miles: 21% economy, 27% in business, and 42% in first.

    Relative value to be had still redeeming economy + business to mx/carib/central america. And surprisingly, business from nam to hk. first class is horrible through and through.

    http://i.imgur.com/GTV6MGu.png

  65. Matt says

    Two words: Doug Parker

    Lucky, Look into his tenure as CEO of USAir prior to the takeover (er, merger) with American and what you will find is a poor manager and a man with dubious ethics. He reneged on USAir’s commitment to Pittsburgh area taxpayers who spent a $1B to build USAir a wonderfully-functioning hub, only to have Doug Parker decide soon thereafter to move USAir’s regional hub to PHI (arguably one of the worst laid out airports in the world).

    Oh, and see if you can get a copy of the letter he sent out to all Dividend Miles members a few years ago when USAir was forced (after receiving thousands and thousands of complaints) to BRING BACK free soft drink and water service that they had previously decided to discontinue. USAir (literally) wrote that while they were going to be reintroducing free beverage service, their customers were wrong (the implication was, stupid) to demand this, and that they were going to end up paying more to fly. To Doug Parker, a Diet Coke was more than he wished to provide his customers. And, under his watch, USAir degraded to what was (at the time of the merger) one of the least pleasant and least customer-friendly airlines around.

    What do you think he’ll do next to the new American?! I don’t know for sure, but I know it won’t be good for anyone but Doug Parker and a few shareholders.

  66. Mandrake says

    1000% agree!!
    Many words come to mind for what the new AA just pulled, not limited to ‘untrustworthy’, ‘duplicitous’, ‘arrogant’, ‘sleazy’, ‘dishonest’, etc.
    The lying, two-faced, corporate-speak minimalist email that came out of AA this morning makes it even worse.

  67. voice of reason says

    “Members work hard to accrue miles”

    LOL — as in repeatedly applying for and canceling credit cards?

  68. m henner says

    I feel cheated.

    I had intended on booking a London to Eugene, Oregon trip in September with a free stopover in New York.

    Now they say I can’t.

    The change was made with no advance notice

  69. dave says

    re American Airlines award changes:
    I knew it was just a matter of time after the United/Delta devaluation…but not to have any notice is unconscionable!
    So…I just cut my AAdvantage CITI mastercard into pieces!
    …also letting CITI know I will be cancelling their card after I use up my AA miles. (Don’t cancel before you use your miles or you will lose them – another one of AA’s tricks.)
    …if we all do this, maybe CITIbank will put enough pressure on American Airlines to reverse this and at least get us a grace period to book our awards under the rules that applied when we earned the miles – that would be the fair thing to do.

  70. ATLdreamer says

    I had finished sharing miles around earlier today JUST enough to get 2 business class tickets to North Asia at 90k and then I saw this……

    I can only laugh… and cry.

  71. traderprofit says

    Here’s the real reason why the airlines can get away with this: Because most flyers do not REALLY have a variety of choices. Mileage programs are not really loyalty programs anymore for the vast majority of travelers, and particularly for busy travelers. There aren’t that many people flying who are doing so solely for the entertainment value of traveling the World, and who can afford to choose the more expensive flight because it provides them with greater benefits. Sure, there are some, but most have to accept the cheapest routing that doesn’t interfere with their work schedule, and airlines are quite aware of this.
    Before I retired I traded mergers and acquisitions and I can tell you the loyalty program outcome was the furthest thing from the government’s mind in allowing some of these mergers that should not have been permitted because they “tend to substantially lessen competition.” The ff programs could be forgotten to be part of the service being provided in an antitrust analyisis. If you work for a big corporation (or even a small one) your boss is concerned about what HE/ SHE pays, not the benefits you might get….and we long ago reached the point where airlines had to compete for the flyers they were most likely going to get anyway.

    So, the only travelers who are hurt less are those not in hub cities, those who can afford to pay quite a bit more for award travel and are “enlightened ” enough to see that it is still a bargain when compared to the full fares flyers who MUST travel at a particular time and date are forced to pay.

    Please don’t take this the wrong way. The recent changes are not good for people who have come to expect to be able to manufacture miles and use cc bonuses without a significant outlay. When I was proved wrong by saying the government would never let US/AA merge, this situation was entirely foreseeable. Without a doubt it’s more than “tending to substantially lessen competition” and raise prices…….of award travel….and massively so.
    I am lucky enough to be able to buy the extra miles, or wait for the last minute space to open up, because I’m retired. But I represent an tiny group of travelers. That groups’s changes in travel behavior isn’t going to register on airlines’ operating statements.
    I long ago gave up complaining. I’ll just roll with the punches and spend more.
    If you want someone to blame, it’s the government for not recognizing the oligopolies and monopolies they were permitting.

  72. E says

    If we transit thru hkg to get to nrt, does it still price as a Japan award? i.e. LAX-HKG-NRT for 62.5k in F?

  73. says

    @ E — American doesn’t allow you to route from the US to Asia 1 via Asia 2, so that’s not a legal routing.

  74. says

    Why do you care if you get a advanced notice? It doesn’t change the fact that the airline can change it’s miles program when they choose to!

    Here’s a idea stop collecting miles and pay with your own money

  75. Jim says

    Ya gotta remember, many airlines were close to, or in bankruptcy. These may be some of the steps required

  76. Laura says

    Matt is 110% correct. Problem is Doug Parker as new head of AA. Don’t anyone be fooled. AA in name only. US Air all the way. Parker wasted no time in changing even AA employees & retirees flying privileges right after merger in December. Without notice he screwed people that have worked for AA many, many years like they were worth nothing. We knew he was not to be trusted when he snuck around all AA unions promising everything so they would side with him on merger. All while AA was working back from bankruptcy. AA had problems like any other company but it had best loyalty program, gave bereavement fares, etc. He has been chipping away at AA since merger final & just matter of time before Advantage program hit. Of course no notice, that’s not his style. When I saw his face in American Way magazine it made me sick !! Always felt this merger would not be good for AA, but worse than feared. The AA our family has flown for so many years no longer exits. The recent Advantage “screw you” to traveling public is last straw. Not many options now from DFW, but will try to fly other airlines whenever we can. Hopefully others will do same.

  77. Laura says

    P.S. in reference to post about stop collecting miles & pay instead.. We do. Thousands this year alone, so miles collected never free, but earned for flying certain airline. That’s why it’s called loyalty program. Please don’t assume knowledge of how people earn their miles.

  78. TOM says

    AA got the “Evil Virus” from US Airway.
    As “RoyaltyLobby” JOHN OLLILA pointed out, “This is the way US Airways have dealt with its Dividend Miles members. You have to bear in mind that the current CEO of the American Airlines is the former CEO of US Airways.”

    Delta swallowed NW, now the same, UA Airway starts supplying it’s devil blood into the whole system.

  79. Luis says

    The devaluation is annoying but expected. The elimination of Explorer rewards is DEVASTATING for those who were planning on one in the next year or so. My fiance and I have our honeymoon planned around a Explorer Reward that has been eliminated with NO NOTICE. I have written to Customer Service and would agree with others to MAKE NOISE THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA as well as filing complaints with the Bureau of Consumer Protection. http://www.ftc.gov/about-ftc/bureaus-offices/bureau-consumer-protection This is particularly important due to the merger element. I would direct all complains to the Managing Director, Customer Loyalty and Insights at AA.

  80. Shane says

    Worst. Merger. Ever.

    Nothing like being Executive Platinum then forced to fly US Airways due to route changes and you can’t even use any of your privileges.

  81. says

    Will you stop your bitching! The rewards are now different so just deal with and stop complaining like a 4 year old!

    things change policies change get over yourself!

  82. Joe says

    Can’t you still stop over for less than 24 hours, though? So, something like Europe to New York, stay over for less than 24 hours, then New York to elsewhere in the US?

  83. Ann says

    Do you have an opinion on how to hedge bets for the merger–should I continue to collect miles on AA or US–who is going to devalue most? Is there any consensus?

  84. says

    @ Ann — I doubt we’ll see any major additional changes to the programs before the merger happens, so I think either currency is equally safe.

  85. Kai says

    So glad i spent $ 800 on a promo, get double points, called rep, said I’d need 40k points to fly where I wanted, explained to her that I was new to “points” wanted to make sure I understood…..anything else I should know? Using phone, couldn’t get full screen. Nop, bought them. Screwed. No flights for 40k points when I needed to fly. Got flight elsewhere for $640. Called 20 mins after “buying points” explained to mgr at AA. Told me to read next time and goodbye. I wouldn’t fly with them now if they paid me.

  86. ron says

    Can we all schedule a date to boycott American Airlines for their actions, and teach them a lesson not to screw their loyal customers. It can be done via social media such as facebook.

  87. lucky says

    @ ron — For what it’s worth they seem to have acknowledged the issue and seem to be making changes in advance nowadays.

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