Changes coming to elite status on American

I received an email earlier this month about some coming changes to elite status on American. They kick in starting January 1, 2017, so they won’t really impact status for most of us for quite a few months after that. Full details are available from American. However, here are some of the things which stand out to me:

  • Concierge Key has always been a thing, although now they have made it more explicit on their web site with a connection to Executive Platinum status. This matters little for those of us who don’t direct corporate travel departments, but is still interesting.
  • American has added Platinum Pro, a new elite status between Platinum and Executive Platinum. There was always a big difference in qualification tiers between Platinum (50,000 EQM) and Ex Plat (100,000), so splitting the difference will be nice for those who can’t quite get there.
  • American seems to be moving in the same direction as the rest of the industry with the addition of Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQD), meaning, you have to spend a set amount to qualify for each elite status. Thresholds are $3000 for Gold and go up by $3000 for each higher level. Airline imposed taxes and fees count, but government fees and taxes on your tickets do not count toward this minimum.
  • Directly tied to the notion of EQD is a significant change in credit card strategy. American inherited Barclaycard customers from U.S. Airways and let them keep their cards, but to date has exclusively focused on marketing the Citibank cards. That will change on January 1, although it is a weird setup with the Citi cards being marketed online and the Barclay cards in the airport. The Barclay cards will, among other benefits, qualify for EQD at higher spending levels and may be worth a look for some existing Citi customers. I have the Citi Aadvantage Executive card and use it to pay all of my bills and for my every day spending. Its principal advantage is the Admiral’s Club membership, although I might just pay for that to get the EQD and higher rate of redeemable miles from the Barclay product.

My first flight under the new qualifying rules is CGK (Jakarta) to NRT (Narita) on January 1, although that is an award flight. I have a revenue flight from NRT to DFW and onward to MAF on January 3, so happily will make quick progress to meeting the new standards.

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