American has been doing a lot to incentivize paid premium cabin travel this year. Among those, American is offering both bonus elite qualifying points and bonus redeemable miles for paid first & business class travel.
Unlike Delta and United, American still has a “traditional” mileage based frequent flyer program, whereby you accrue miles based on how much you fly as opposed to how expensive your tickets are. These promotions are clearly intended to go after those who would benefit from the revenue based systems of Delta and United, which is a minority of customers.
Anyway, in past years American has published Elite Rewards. Basically they’ve offered incentives to those who over qualify for a given status level. In other words, it takes 100,000 elite qualifying miles or points to qualify for Executive Platinum status, though they offered bonuses for passing 125,000 and 150,000 elite qualifying miles or points. That’s smart, because they want to incentivize incremental travel.
They haven’t offered such a promotion last year or this year. That’s probably because:
- Planes are full and airlines are profitable anyway, so there aren’t as many incentives needed to fill seats
- Over the past decade we’ve gone from six US legacy carriers to three legacy carriers, so there’s less competition in general; people are largely choosing airlines based on route networks rather than frequent flyer programs
- Delta and United have taken so much value out of their program, that American in many ways wins by a long shot just by keeping the status quo
American is still pretty good about rewarding individual travel patterns, in particular for Executive Platinum members. Last week someone posted on FlyerTalk about emailing American to see if they’re offering any incremental incentives for over qualifying for Executive Platinum.
The part of the email which received the most attention was this glitch, suggesting that Executive Platinum will require 120,000 elite qualifying miles or points as of next year:
Please know that the new qualification for Executive Platinum status isnow at 120,000 Elite Qualifying Miles/Points in a calendar year.
This was confirmed to be a misinformed agent. Here’s the part of the email that most caught my attention, though:
If you earn a total of at least 175,000 elite points by year-end, I will add 6 more systemwide upgrades into your account. I am hopeful you can achieve this goal since you are currently at 150,895 elite points.
I’ve had a lot of paid premium cabin travel this year (thanks in no small part to some great fares to Asia), and just passed 175,000 elite qualifying points for the year:
I figured I’d send customer service an email and see if they were offering any incremental incentives this year above Executive Platinum status, and received the following response:
First, on behalf of all of us here at AAdvantage® Customer Service, thank you for being one of our valued AAdvantage Executive Platinum® members.
We’ve found that we best solve these issues via conversation.
So that we can speak with you directly, please call AAdvantage Customer Service at XXX-XXX-XXXX. We’re open Monday through Friday from 8:00-7:00 Central Time and any representative will be happy to assist you.
Outside the United States and Canada, please visit www.aa.com/phones to find the telephone number in your country or refer to the bottom of this website for instructions on how to call our United States telephone number.
Thank you for participating in the AAdvantage program. We appreciate your business.
I phoned up AAdvantage customer service today, and got a friendly agent on the line. I asked if American was offering any incremental benefits for over qualifying for Executive Platinum this year, as they had in past years with the Elite Rewards program. She offered to check on my account to see if there were any offers for me.
She put me on hold for a minute. I assumed at this point she was looking up my Eagle Rating. AAdvantage members have Eagle Ratings, whereby they’re rated on a scale of 1-5 based on their importance. This is an internal metric, and not something which impacts upgrade priority, etc. This typically only matters when it comes to having exceptions made, offering incremental benefits, etc. Now, we have no way of knowing our own Eagle Ratings, though I guess we can sort of deduce them based on what we’re offered when asking about exceptions/extra benefits.
After putting me on hold for a few minutes she said she could offer me four bonus systemwide upgrades valid through February 2017. And she even apologized for them not proactively reaching out to offer them (personally I haven’t heard of that happening, though I appreciated the sentiment).
The extra systemwide upgrades showed up in my account within minutes.
If you are an Executive Platinum member who has way over qualified for status, it could make sense to call AAdvantage customer service and see if they have any “offers” attached to your account.
I’m guessing if you earn 175,000+ EQPs they’ll throw you some sort of a bone, even with a low Eagle Rating. As you can see, my offer wasn’t as good as the person referenced in the FlyerTalk thread, though I certainly won’t complain about an extra four systemwide upgrades!
I have a good bit of paid first/business class travel coming up throughout the rest of the year, so I might give them another call if I pass 225,000 EQPs for the year.
To those over qualifying Executive Platinum members, have you called American to see if your account is eligible for any additional offer? If so, what were you offered?