There is a long thread on FlyerTalk (you can access it here) about an email that American Airlines has sent to some of the elite members today that may indicate the ending of AA’s soft landing policy. LoyaltyLobby reader sent me a copy of it:
“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
Currently, regardless of your elite qualifying flight activity, your AAdvantage program status could only drop by one level i.e. from Executive Platinum to Platinum or from Platinum to Gold, even if you didn’t reach the Platinum or Gold requirements.
American Airlines has offered matches to Executive Platinum status for United 1K’s and Delta Diamonds, and has also sent out number of targeted offers for various status levels in the past 12 months.
Once the pending merger with US Airways is approved, this will lead to greater number of elites and maybe AA wants to cull the numbers down a bit.
This “soft landing” has never been a published benefit of the program, but American Airlines has done it for years and it has become an unofficial one for sure.
I didn’t receive this email from American, although I matched to Executive Platinum status last year based on my 1K with United, due to my lifetime Platinum status with the airline.