American Airlines is making it tougher to earn “gold” status under its loyalty program, but it is also giving perks for those who fall below the top tiers.
American Airlines (AAL) – Get Free Report is trying its best to put a positive face on the new update to its loyalty program, but the bottom line is it'll be tougher for some passengers to earn points following its latest change.
American Airlines AAdvantage members will need to earn 40,000 loyalty points in order to earn “gold” status starting in March of 2023, up from the 30,000 previous threshold.
“We’re creating a more meaningful travel rewards program for our AAdvantage members,” said Vasu Raja, American’s Chief Commercial Officer.
“Only our members will have access to everything American has to offer. Achieving status will unlock an even wider world of unique experiences with the airline and our partners.”
American will also jettison its MileSAAver and AAnytime awards, which were used to redeem frequent flyer miles for tickets at set minimum rates.
Now the airline will have internet sales or “web specials” that will have miles requirements that will change based on demand.
On the positive side, loyalty members will unlock the first tier of benefits after earning 15,000 points, receiving Group 5 boarding privileges. They will also get their choice of either priority check-in, security and Group 4 boarding for one trip, or five preferred seat coupons.
The airline is also removing the previous 75,000 limit on miles that a member could earn on a single ticket. It is also making it so that AAdvantage members will earn two miles per dollar spent on Basic economy fares for all tickets issued on or after January 1, 2023 for all flights starting March 1, 2023.
Delta Has Also Made Big Changes
Customers can use those SkyMiles to earn Medallion status, which comes in Diamond, Platinum, Gold or Silver tiers.
Silver Medallion status can still be obtained with $3,000. For Gold, the minimum payment is now $8,000 qualifying dollars, up from $6,000. Platinum sees a bump to $12,000 from $9,000. For Diamond, it's now $20,000 in 2023, up from $15,000.
The changes won’t impact the minimums on flight segments or miles flown.
“As Delta exits an unprecedented summer of demand for travel and navigates an evolving industry landscape, the airline remains committed to ensuring Delta SkyMiles membership and Medallion Status levels provide exclusive, earned opportunities for its most loyal customers,” the airline said in a statement.
Medallion comes with benefits such as priority boarding and check-in, and all of them except for Silver get priority security and baggage access. As you’d expect, the higher your status, the more you get.
Silver comes with bonus miles (40%), free baggage, free upgrades, priority check-in and boarding, while Gold offers free same-day flight changes, free upgrades, priority security line access, expedited baggage service.
Platinum throws in free flight changes, while Diamond, the big enchilada, also has complimentary Clear membership, three bonus benefits.