American ending “soft landings” for elite status as of next year

For a long time American has had a generous unpublished policy whereby you get a “soft landing” of elite status if you don’t requalify for status. Through these soft landings you could never drop more than one elite tier per year. In other words, if you’re Executive Platinum and don’t do any flying, you’d still be Platinum the following year, and then Gold the year after that.

Per this FlyerTalk thread, it appears as if American has sent out an email to those that benefited from a soft landing last year:

Can you believe we’re almost halfway through 2013? Hopefully you’re on track to achieve your goal of elite status qualification for 2014. To check how many elite qualifying points, miles and segments you’ve earned thus far, simply log in to your account.

Previously, based on your prior year status, you benefited from an exception to receive a higher level of elite status than you actually earned. Next year, regardless of your current status, your elite status for the next membership year will be based on your elite qualifying activity in 2013.

We invite you to achieve the highest level you can to earn the greatest benefits. You can also find details about qualifying for elite status here.

Can’t say I’m surprised, especially with the upcoming merger where they’re probably trying to avoid swelling elite ranks too much. It’s nice of them to at least send out an email in advance saying that this unofficial policy won’t apply in the future, rather than making it a surprise at the end of the year when it’s too late for people to still qualify.


  1. Nice touch. I wonder if the early announcement comes (in part) from how active they are in social media. They are getting to know their frequent flyer community, and know that bad news is generally taken much better if it is *not* a surprise.

  2. I hope the Million Miler policy of 2MM and 1 MM is now official and not “unofficial” as in the past.

  3. Damn, I was thinking not requalifying for EXP wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. I’m only at 13k EQM!

  4. Nooo! I was hoping to get EXP this year and coast into 2015 on my soft landing PLT status. Oh well I guess i’ll put the 8 upgrades to use.

  5. I’m sure that this will be one of the more pleasant surprises that AAdavantage has in store for its elites in the next couple of years.

  6. Really quite difficult as a non-business traveler to decide what to do here. I am someone who needs to do a fairly substantial amount of MR to meet EXP levels. I’m very much tempted to chase that again later this year but this change has a chilling effect with regard to how I value other perks of status which could change. It makes me worry about SWUs on any fare (almost certain to change IMO), and it makes me worry about the AA award chart in general (67.5k Cathay F? Bye-bye!) All that I know for certain at this point is that I will be burning my AA balance in 2013-2014 + SWUs…

  7. Not a shocke as there are many elites like me due to last years gemerous status match. No reason to give us status for 3 years in a row if we dont fly AA much. OTOH we arent taking anything…

  8. They will still do it on a case-by-case basis. My co-worker qualified for EXP with only 87,000 EQMs.

    The soft landing was really just a tool to motivate people valued customers who haven’t flown as much to continue flying the Airline.

  9. What a completely rude email. I guess we can see how the “New American” is going to treat customers.
    We have flown a great deal every year except this year (Mr has always been EXP or P, I have always been P or Gold) so going back to no status due to no soft landing will make me determine flights based on price from now on.

  10. FYI, American Rep on FT just confirmed it’s going away for everyone, not just elites who have gotten soft landed in the past.

  11. Bad timing for me. I really afraid this is the beginning of the new AA look what Doug parker did to LH F award booking after selling US miles at a discount… Like J said Bye bye CX F award at 67.5K and bye bye eVIP’s with no fare restriction, and more inflight cost cutting…
    Oh well time to move to Asia,,,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

* I consent to the collection of my name, email address, and content so that One Mile at a Time may manage comments placed on this site.