American Airlines has avoided pretty much all the pitfalls other airlines have seen in major mergers of the past. They’ve done so by employing a slow and steady strategy, with no massive “cutover” date where a large number of changes happen, opting instead for lots of smaller milestones. And, when the largest complaint thus far revolves around catering changes, I’ve gotta imagine that’s a “win” for the new American.
I wrote late last year that I thought March 1st would start a period where things could get rocky, and I wasn’t sure how I’d proceed with my own status. You see, American said they would combine EQMs (elite qualifying miles) from both American and US Airways activity in 2014 to determine status in the AAdvantage program in 2015 (Dividend Miles is going away).
The catch? They likely wouldn’t have this in place until the second quarter of 2015, months after status from 2014 would go away at the end of February. Here we sit as the calendar turns to March and I’m not sure what tomorrow will bring. Admittedly, I’ll be flying AA a bit less until the status reconciliation, as I only have enough EQMs to qualify for Platinum status. That would mean a lower upgrade percentage and the potential need to buy upgrade certificates for domestic flights.
First world problems for sure, and I’ll absolutely be pushing all the business I can back to American once this piece is completed. But, there will likely be customers who are uninformed and may grow Restless, maybe not even aware they have a higher combined level of status on the way.
Momentum is a tricky thing with frequent flyers. Most won’t motivate to change airlines because it means starting over on the path to elite status. But, if the merger timing leads to that downgrade they may no longer be in “status captivity”.
I’ll be interested to see how things play out.
Are your travel plans/status impacted by the latest chapter in the American/US Airways merger?