AAdvantage

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AAdvantage logo

AAdvantage is the frequent flyer program of American Airlines. Launched May 1, 1981, it was the second such loyalty program in the world (after the first at Texas International Airlines in 1979), and remains the largest with more than 67 million members as of October 2011.[1][2]

Miles accumulated in the program allow members to redeem tickets, upgrade service class, or obtain free or discounted car rentals, hotel stays, merchandise, or other products and services through partners. The most active members, based on the amount and price of travel booked, are designated AAdvantage Gold, AAdvantage Platinum, AAdvantage Platinum Pro, and AAdvantage Executive Platinum elite members, with privileges such as separate check-in, priority upgrade and standby processing, or free upgrades. They also receive similar privileges from AA's partner airlines, particularly those in oneworld.[3] AAdvantage co-branded credit cards are also available and offer other benefits. These cards are issued by CitiCards, subsidiary of Citigroup in the United States, by MBNA in the United Kingdom and by Butterfield Bank and Scotiabank in the Caribbean.

AAdvantage allows one-way redemption, starting at 5,000 miles.[4]

History[edit]

Increased competition following the 1978 Airline Deregulation Act prompted airline marketing professionals to develop ways to reward repeat customers and build brand loyalty. The first idea at American, a special "loyalty fare", was modified and expanded to offer free first class tickets and upgrades to first class for companions, or discounted coach tickets. Membership was seeded by searching AA's SABRE computer reservations system for recurring phone numbers. The 130,000 most frequent flyers, plus an additional 60,000 members of AA's Admirals Club were pre-enrolled and sent letters with their new account numbers. The name was selected by AA's advertising agency, and is consistent with other American Airlines programs featuring "AA" in the name and logo. The logo was designed by Massimo Vignelli.[5]

Less than a week later, rival United Airlines launched its MileagePlus program; other airlines followed in the ensuing months and years. The rapid appearance of competition changed the nature of the program, and as airlines began to compete on the features of their frequent flyer programs, AAdvantage liberalized its rules, established partnerships with hotel and rental car agencies, and offered promotions such as extra free beverages. In 1982 AAdvantage also became the first program to cooperate with an international carrier; members could accrue and redeem miles on British Airways flights to Europe.[6]

In 2005 American Airlines joined other major U.S. carriers in introducing an online shopping portal allowing shoppers to earn AAdvantage miles when shopping online.

Membership tiers[edit]

There are five membership tiers in AAdvantage: standard, Gold, Platinum, Platinum Pro and Executive Platinum.[7]

Gold status requires 25,000 flown elite qualifying miles or 30 flown elite qualifying segments plus $3,000 elite qualifying dollars. Gold status confers priority boarding, expedited security, complimentary same-day standby, discounted Admirals Club membership, and ability to earn and redeem 500-mile upgrades. All fares receive one free checked bag. Gold status also confers a 40% mileage bonus to all flown segments, a 500-mile minimum on each segment, complimentary auto-requested upgrades on flights 500 miles or less, complimentary preferred seats, 50% off Main Cabin Extra seats (complimentary at check-in), 24-hour upgrade window for flights over 500 miles with ability to upgrade one companion traveling on the same flight with 500-mile upgrades. Gold status provides oneworld Ruby status when flying a oneworld partner airline.

Platinum status requires 50,000 flown elite qualifying miles or 60 flown elite qualifying segments plus $6,000 elite qualifying dollars. Platinum status confers priority boarding, expedited security, priority baggage delivery, complimentary same-day standby, discounted Admirals Club membership, and ability to earn and redeem 500-mile upgrades. All fares receive two free checked bags. Platinum status also confers a 60% mileage bonus to all flown segments, a 500-mile minimum on each segment, complimentary auto-requested upgrades on flights 500 miles or less, complimentary preferred seats, complimentary Main Cabin Extra seats, 48-hour upgrade window for flights over 500 miles with ability to upgrade one companion traveling on the same flight with 500-mile upgrades. It also confers a greater standing on upgrade lists and a special phone line. Platinum status provides oneworld Sapphire status when flying a oneworld partner airline.

Platinum Pro status requires 75,000 flown elite qualifying miles or 90 flown elite qualifying segments plus $9,000 elite qualifying dollars. Platinum Pro status confers priority boarding, expedited security, priority baggage delivery, complimentary same-day standby, discounted Admirals Club membership, and unlimited, auto-requested complimentary upgrades on flights regardless of number of miles. All fares receive two free checked bags. Platinum status also confers a 80% mileage bonus to all flown segments, a 500-mile minimum on each segment, complimentary preferred seats, complimentary Main Cabin Extra seats, 72-hour upgrade window for flights with ability to upgrade one companion traveling on the same flight with 500-mile upgrades. It also confers a greater standing on upgrade lists and a special phone line. Platinum Pro status provides oneworld Sapphire status when flying a oneworld partner airline.

Executive Platinum status requires 100,000 flown elite qualifying miles or 120 flown elite qualifying segments plus $12,000 elite qualifying dollars. Executive Platinum status confers priority boarding, expedited security, priority baggage delivery, complimentary same-day standby, complimentary same-day flight change, discounted Admirals Club membership, unlimited, auto-requested complimentary upgrades on flights regardless of number of miles, waived ticket service change, guaranteed availability in the Main Cabin, waitlist priority for purchased First or Business Class, complimentary alcoholic beverage and snack in Main Cabin. All fares receive three free checked bags. Executive Platinum status also confers a 120% mileage bonus to all flown segments, a 500-mile minimum on each segment, complimentary preferred seats, complimentary Main Cabin Extra seats, 100-hour upgrade window for flights with ability to upgrade one companion traveling on the same flight with 500-mile upgrades. It also confers a greater standing on upgrade lists and a special phone line. Executive Platinum status provides oneworld Emerald status when flying a oneworld partner airline.

Individuals who accumulate 1,000,000 miles earned on American receive lifetime Gold status. Individuals who accumulate 2,000,000 miles earned on American receive lifetime Platinum status.[8]

Beginning January 1, 2016, elite qualifying points were removed from AAdvantage's tier qualification system, while elite qualifying miles and flown segments will continue to be used to determine tier status and qualification. Beginning January 1, 2017, elite qualifying dollars were added to AAdvantage's tier qualification status.[9]

Partnerships[edit]

In addition to its oneworld and American Eagle partnerships, American Airlines offers frequent flier partnerships with the following airlines:[10]

Airlines

Miles expiration[edit]

Miles credited to AAdvantage originally had no expiration. In 1989, miles expired if there was no account activity for three years.[11] In 2012, miles expired if there was no activity for 18 months. Miles that were considered to have no expiration were subject to a 25% bonus but were then subject to the expiration policy.[12][11][13]

The AAdvantage program has an expiration policy that if no miles are gained or used during an 18-month period, the miles expire.[14] Expired miles cannot be used for award travel. To reactivate the previously earned miles, the AAdvantage plan ask members to pay from $200–$600.[15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ David M Rowell (August 13, 2010). "A History of US Airline Deregulation Part 4 : 1979 – 2010 : The Effects of Deregulation – Lower Fares, More Travel, Frequent Flier Programs". The Travel Insider. Archived from the original on August 16, 2010. Retrieved September 21, 2010. 
  2. ^ "American Airlines AAdvantage Program Details". Aa.com. Archived from the original on March 3, 2009. Retrieved May 28, 2009. 
  3. ^ oneworld Alliance. Aa.com (2010-10-01). Retrieved on November 4, 2010.
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ "Poster". Vignelli.com. Retrieved 2016-09-11. 
  6. ^ "The Big 2–5 – Celebrating 25 Years of Frequent Flyer Programs". Insideflyer.com. Frequent Flyer Network. Archived from the original on January 26, 2013. Retrieved June 28, 2011. 
  7. ^ https://www.aa.com/i18n/aadvantage-program/aadvantage-program-updates.jsp
  8. ^ "AAdvantage Elite Program" (JSP). Aa.com. Retrieved July 2, 2011. 
  9. ^ "AAdvantage Program Updates" (JSP). Aa.com. Retrieved January 26, 2017. 
  10. ^ "AAdvantage Partners And Mileage Programs" (JSP). Aa.com. Retrieved November 17, 2010. 
  11. ^ a b Ollila, John (2012-07-15). "American Airlines' No Expiration Miles & Award Chart Promise Lasted for 23 Years". LoyaltyLobby.com. Retrieved 2016-09-09. 
  12. ^ Terry Maxon (2012-07-13). "American Airlines to do away with non-expiring AAdvantage miles | | Dallas Morning News". Aviationblog.dallasnews.com. Retrieved 2016-09-09. 
  13. ^ [2][dead link]
  14. ^ "AAdvantage Miles Expiration" (JSP). Aa.com. Retrieved December 3, 2015. 
  15. ^ "Reactivate AAdvantage Miles" (JSP). Aa.com. Retrieved December 3, 2015.