American Elite Rewards 2014 Coming?

@winglets747 asked me the following question on Twitter:

@OneMileataTime do you think AA will do elite rewards again? Almost at EXP for 2015.

I’m in a similar boat, I’ve actually already requalified for Executive Platinum, and have been wondering this myself.

For those of you not familiar with Elite Rewards, it’s a program American has historically offered to incentivize AAdvantage members to surpass the “traditional” status thresholds (25,000, 50,000, and 100,000 miles).

For example, for the 2013 Elite Rewards they had four “milestones,” and at each one you could choose from a variety of prizes. Last year these milestones were as follows:

Milestone 1

Qualification requirements: 40,000 miles or 40,000 points or 45 segments
Rewards: 10,000 bonus miles or three 500-mile upgrades or two Admirals Club one-day passes or free BAGS VIP luggage delivery or 10% aa.com discount

Milestone 2

Qualification requirements: 75,000 miles or 75,000 points or 80 segments
Rewards: 20,000 bonus miles or one systemwide upgrade or five 500-mile upgrades or four Admirals Club one-day passes or five single-segment wifi passes

Milestone 3

Qualification requirements: 125,000 miles or 125,000 points or 130 segments
Rewards: 30,000 bonus miles or two systemwide upgrades or gift of Gold status or Admirals Club membership or 20% aa.com discount

Milestone 4

Qualification requirements: 150,000 miles or 150,000 points or 160 segments
Rewards: 40,000 bonus miles or four systemwide upgrades or gift of Platinum status or Admirals Club membership or Global Entry fee waiver

I reached the first three milestones, and in the end that got me 60,000 bonus AAdvantage miles (10,000 for the first milestone, 20,000 for the second milestone, and 30,000 for the third milestone).

Last year’s version was more generous than that of previous years for a couple of reasons:

  • You could qualify for Elite Rewards through elite qualifying miles or elite qualifying points, while the previous year you could only qualify on elite qualifying points (meaning they were trying to encourage those booking high fares to fly more than they had to).
  • Before last year you’d only qualify for the milestones above the status level you reach at the end of the year, meaning if you were Executive Platinum you wouldn’t have been eligible for milestones one or two; last year that wasn’t the case, and everyone was eligible for all the milestones.

Anyway, the big question is whether Elite Rewards will return in 2014 for AAdvantage elite members.

And the answer is I don’t know, I haven’t heard anything one way or another. For what it’s worth, historically here’s when they’ve announced it:

So as you can see they’ve been all over the place in terms of when they’ve launched it. Will they offer it this year? I think it could go either way:

  • They could offer it since it’s ultimately encouraging incremental business, and US Airways actually offers a similar “Special Dividends” promotion
  • They might not offer it due to both the merger and how profitable they are right now, given that planes are packed; they might think they don’t have to do anything to further incentivize people

I’m certainly hoping this follows the historical trend of getting more and more generous each year, though since we’re talking about the “new” American here, I’m not convinced.

I do predict that if they offer it they’ll announce it in the next week or two…

Do you think American will bring back Elite Rewards in 2014?

Comments

  1. Just curious, why are you so sure if they offer it it will be in the next week or two (unless AA hinted it would be)? Given the range of previous year’s dates, couldn’t it be later in the summer.

  2. I am not too excited about last years elite rewards. I unfortunately chose the system wide upgrades. I can no longer find confirmable space on flights to Europe, even into January of next year!

    I missed an upgrade already, and am not enjoying the fact that you never know if you will be in business or economy until the last minute.

    I do not like the direction American Airlines is going.

    Anyhow, I would advise your readers if the elite rewards comes out to not choose the system wide upgrades, and choose the miles instead. At least they are still worth 1.1 cents that US keeps selling them at.

  3. @ Tyler — Just speculation on my part. Two years ago it was more or less an afterthought to match the competition, while in the past two years it has been intended to incentivize marginal business upfront. Given the bad press American has gotten with the unannounced changes, it would seem smart for them to announce the program soon if they intended to offer it.

  4. I contacted AAdvantage customer service with the same question earlier this month. I received a nice voice mail message from a rep who was quite candid in saying she didn’t know whether Elite Rewards will be offered again in 2014. She did say that a decision might not be made until the summer.

    As for the rewards, I strongly recommend the system-wide upgrades. I received 17 in 2013 from re-qualifying for EXP and passing all 4 milestones. That’s a very large number of business class (or business to first) upgrades from deep discount economy (or business) and I’ve managed to use all of them. Booking far in advance helps to score a confirmed award, as does checking available seats from which you can estimate whether a waitlisted award is likely to clear a few days before.

  5. Looks Like your prediction failed!!! We are on week 3+ and no announce yet. But AA Customer Service confirmed there will be a elite Rewards this year!

  6. @ Eric — Interesting, thanks for the heads up. May I ask, did you email them, or in which way did they tell you that they would be returning?

  7. I absolutely recommend the systemwide upgrades. I have routinely used them for trips between the US and China as well as various locations in Europe.

    I as well have achieved executive platinum status for this year and I am looking forward to the elite awards announcement. Does anyone have any idea when that may occur?

  8. I too cleaned up last year, hit 229K last year,
    claimed all the rewards that had SWU and got an additional 2 by calling AA.
    This year I have already passed EXP and still have at least 75K travel to go, lets hope they
    bring back the program.

  9. It’s sad that AA doesn’t have the equivalent to US’s Special Dividends any more. I became EXP when my Chairman’s status transferred earlier this year. With the old program, I enjoyed being able to give my wife Gold status (AA’s Platinum), as well as getting a free 1-year US Airways Club membership for both of us. Oh well, at least I can enjoy the free Admirals Club membership until early 2016.

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