Every year for as many years as I can easily recall American Airlines announces Elite Rewards, a program where members earn extra benefits by achieving a milestone higher than their status level. It’s always been a kind of “pick me up” or “thanks” for getting partly to the next status level.
Unfortunately for me, these rewards been largely useless/unattainable. As you may know, American has a system where you earn both Elite Qualifying Miles(EQMs) and Points (EQPs) for every flight you credit to your AAdvantage account. I’ve qualified for Executive Platinum by earning 100,000 EQMs every year that I’ve achieved that status (I almost qualified with 100 segments one year, which was brutal). But, I’ve never even come close to qualifying on points.
I buy more expensive coach tickets than leisure travelers since I generally only book 2-4 weeks out. And, while those are higher coach fares, they’re generally not full fare coach tickets. Essentially all flights credited to your AAdvantage account earn 1 EQM for every mile flown. But, unless you’re buying higher priced coach fares, which constitute a few discount buckets and the full fare buckets, as well as business and first class tickets, you’re only earning half an EQP per mile flown.
In a normal year, I end up with a ratio of EQMs to EQPs that hovers above 1.5:1. That essentially means I’ve bought some tickets that earned 1 point per mile and a bunch that earned half a point per dollar.
In the past, the Elite Rewards were always tied to EQPs.
Not this year.
American has announced this year’s Elite Rewards, and they’re allowing people to qualify by miles or points, a huge change IMO.
If I’m reading it correctly, a Gold member who elevates to Executive Platinum can really hit a jackpot here. These are the tiers:
Milestone 1 (40,000 miles or points/45 segments), choose one of the following:
10,000 Bonus Miles
3 500-Mile Upgrades
2 Admirals Club One-Day Passes
Free BAGS VIP Luggage Delivery
10% aa.com Discount
Milestone 2 (75,000 miles or points/80 segments), choose one of the following:
20,000 Bonus Miles
1 Systemwide Upgrade
5 500-Mile Upgrades
4 Admirals Club One-Day Passes
5 Single Segment Wi-Fi Passes
Milestone 3 (125,000 miles or points/130 segments), choose one of the following:
30,000 Bonus Miles
2 Systemwide Upgrades
Gift of Gold Status for a Friend
Admirals Club Membership
20% aa.com Discount
Milestone 4 (150,000 miles or points/160 segments), choose one of the following:
40,000 Bonus Miles
4 Systemwide Upgrades
Gift of Platinum for a Friend
Admirals Club Membership
Global Entry Fee Sponsorship
I’m pretty psyched that as an Executive Platinum I can hit two Milestones if I get to 150,000 miles. While not 100% clear from the T&C, this portion of the FAQ seems to indicate EXPs will get to dip into the pool twice if they hit this hurdle:
I see that Admirals Club membership is listed as a reward for Milestones 3 and 4. If I pick it in Milestone 3, can I pick it again in Milestone 4?
No, Admirals Club membership can only be chosen once as a reward for the Elite Rewards 2013 program.
That’s why this is great for someone who’s Gold ascending to EXP. In theory they could dip into all 4 pools, claiming 4 pretty decent gifts.
ETA: It is entirely possible an Executive Platinum could earn in all 4 tiers, but that strikes me as an awful lot of value to give to an existing Executive Platinum. The T&C are a bit vague, IMO as it relates to the awarding of these rewards at the lower milestones. I’ll wait for others to weigh in on things I might have missed, but this adds a significant amount of incentive for me to “run up the score” on American this year if and when I hit 100,000 miles. Okay, not if, since you’ll have to pry my Executive Platinum status out of my cold, dead hands.