It could be a rough 2019 for American Airlines AAdvantage members as some changes are on the horizon that could impact the redemption ability of members significantly.
Card members of the Barclaycard Aviator products and now apparently also the will no longer earn 10% of their redeemed miles back (up to 10,000 each year) and now Citibank has removed the perk as well.
The rebate for AAdvantage credit card holder of the Barclaycard and Citibank (U.S. issued) products was good for 10% off up to a total value of 10,000 miles per year. This has benefited members the most who redeemed 100,000 or more miles per year in order to max out that discount.
Barclaycard has removed the 10% Discount from the card benefits and so now did Citibank. Apparently existing Aviator cardholders can utilize that benefit until May 1st 2019 and then the party is over.
The other potential whopper regarding AA Partnerships concerns their relationship with Etihad, which has grown into a very popular redemption partner over the past few years, with many AAdvantage members redeeming their miles for the excellent Etihad First Class Apartments.
You can access American Airlines AAdvantage here to find details about their Etihad partnership.
The description on AA’s website indeed doesn’t say anything about a potential limitation to their partnership with Etihad.
Lucky from OMAAT (see his article here) now wrote that there are internal rumors that “very soon Etihad will be cutting ties with American, and will announce a new partnership with United instead. “
The discussion continues on Flyertalk and a variety of other online platforms but without any hard evidence this is indeed a thing still in the making. For AA customers that would be a blow, while United Mileage Plus members would definitely profit from this change. All that with a huge “IF” this ever comes to fruition.
American AAdvantage appears to be losing partners every left and right without adding new ones to the affect where members can earn/redeem their miles. On top of all that AAdvantage has become too restrictive and may I say unrewarding as a primary loyalty program. Even as a lifetime status member I stopped flying them, respectively using AAdvantage to collect miles from flights years ago.
American has been extremely vocal against the ME3 carriers and back in 2017 cancelled their codeshare agreements, leaving only the AAdvantage partnership (and oneWorld connection in the case of QR) alive. None of these partners is really happy with the other and Qatar has made half hearted threats to leave oneWorld on several occasions. Maybe at some point they should all put their money where their mouth is and do whatever they fancy doing.