Wayfarer TV: American Airlines relaunches AAdvantage program with easier upgrades

by James Wilkinson

American Airlines has launched its reimagined AAdvantage program, which the carrier says is “designed to reward members with enhanced benefits, more ways to earn status and the easiest way to unlock a world-class customer experience”.

American’s Chief Customer Officer, Alison Taylor, said at the centre of this innovative approach is Loyalty Points, the only metric that, starting March 1, AAdvantage members need to track to earn status.

This single-point system, in which one qualifying AAdvantage mile earned equals one Loyalty Point, positions the AAdvantage program as the largest airline loyalty program that will not require members to track miles, dollars and/or flight segments to earn status, according to Taylor.

“The past few years have taught us that loyalty is not one-size-fits all — it comes in different forms,” she said.

“We recognise the path to earning status is different for each individual, which is why we’re giving members more ways to earn Loyalty Points — whether by flying, shopping or using an AAdvantage credit card.

“We want to make it easier for our customers to achieve status wherever they may be in their travel journey,” Taylor said.

According to American Airlines, in March, AAdvantage members will have access to an updated online AAdvantage Status Estimator to help project their status qualification from flying and shopping.

For every qualifying AAdvantage mile earned, members receive one Loyalty Point. Members have been accruing Loyalty Points since Jan. 1.

Also, in March, members will see their progress toward status with Loyalty Points within their AAdvantage account on aa.com and the American Airlines app.

To elevate the travel experience for all status members, American is expanding complimentary upgrade access for AAdvantage Gold and AAdvantage Platinum members to include all flights on American within North America regardless of the flight distance.

For travel starting March 2, an upgrade will automatically be requested if everyone in the reservation is eligible for a complimentary upgrade.

Members will only need to use 500-mile upgrades if they want to upgrade travel companions who do not hold AAdvantage status.

Later this year, American will extend complimentary upgrades to one companion traveling on the same flight as the status member.

At that time, all existing 500-mile upgrades in members’ accounts will each convert to 250 Loyalty Points toward the 2022 status qualification period.