American Airlines AAdvantage Extends Status By 12 Months & Adds Other Positive Enhancements

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American Airlines finally announced AAdvantage status extension for an additional twelve months through January 31, 2022 and also reduced the qualification level for the current membership year.

As a very (maybe THE most) noteworthy improvement is that miles earned from American Airlines co-branded credit cards will once again count towards the Million Miler status.

While American has taken the longest the roll out their changes, in the spirit of fairness I’m not ashamed to say that they put a lot of effort in the measures that come alongside a simple status renewal.

Here is American Airlines announcement in form of a press release:

Download (PDF, 128KB)

As we can see through this announcement the adjustments are pretty comprehensive so let’s go through them in steps.

  • Extending elite status for AAdvantage members until Jan. 31, 2022.
  • Reducing elite status qualifications for 2020.
  • Extending Admirals Club® memberships purchased from American for 6 months.*
  • Introducing up to $400 special credits for future travel on American Airlines Vacations packages for elite members.**
  • Every dollar spent on an eligible AAdvantage co-branded credit card through the end of 2020 will count for one mile toward Million Miler℠ status.
  • Award reinstatement fees waived for travel through September 2020.

Elite Status Qualification Requirements for 2020 will be lowered as follows:

The Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQD) have been reduced by 50% to 33% depending on the status level. This will remain as the main base for status qualification in 2020.

The Elite Qualifying Miles (EQM) have been reduced by 40% across the board for this year.

Elite Qualifying Segments (EQS) have been cut by 50% for all status levels.

Those members looking for the valuable Upgrade Certificates now receive two systemwide upgrades (or other choices) per 90k/120k/150k EQM levels.

Current systemwide upgrades that are expiring on January 31, 2021, will now be extended until July 31, 2021 and it’s important to stress this date as the status itself will be valid until January 31, 2022. Make sure to remember this discrepancy and don’t let the upgrades expire!

Admirals Club Memberships also receive a goodwill extension. It includes all memberships valid as of March 1, 2020 as well as newly enrolled Admirals Club memberships purchased between March 1 and May 31, 2020 which will also be extended by six months.

Depending on how much someone plans to travel between May and November of this year it could be a nice opportunity to get an additional six months of membership. Of course it doesn’t make much sense to buy the club membership now if flight activity is likely low to none.

As highlighted above one very significant step is that American brings back Million Miler eligibility for credit card spend.

For the remainder of this year, each dollar spent on AAdvantage Credit Card purchases that post to your AA account will count towards Million Miler.

Several years ago AAvantage counted each mile no matter from what source towards Million Miler but ended that practice during a program overhaul.

American AAdvantage offers two lifetime status options

  • Lifetime Gold: 1,000,000 Miles
  • Lifetime Platinum: 2,000,000 Miles

I don’t maintain any AAdvantage card anymore personally but this is a great enhancement for the remainder of 2020.

Last but not least American will give a grace period for redepositing AAdvantage miles for cancelled awards to the account without fee but this policy is quite restrictive:

I don’t really understand why AA continues this restrictive policy of redeposit fees for a service that essentially costs them nothing. They should make it free for everybody as long as it’s done at least 14 days before departure but hey, at least they came up with something even if it’s complicated.

What annoys me the most is that for most awards you still have to call AA and actively request the redeposit instead of being able to do it all online.

Conclusion

American Airlines has put together an elaborate and solid relief package for their customers that hopefully makes it a bit easier to overcome the COVID situation. The extensions will be processed and reflected in the accounts within the next few weeks.

As I predicted they would eventually come around but they sure took their time with this one. IF it was just because they started late or because it’s such an expansive package and they wanted to do outdo their competition, only they know. They did a good job putting this together though!

 

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