Much ado about the 2015 American Airlines AAdvantage program changes…

One of the first pictures posted on Andy’s Travel Blog, an AA 767 I flew on from DFW-Madrid on my way to Tel Aviv

American stood pat for the 2015 AAdvantage program, to put it simply.  American and US Airways elite programs will combine for the 2015 year (remember, the 2015 year runs from March 1 to February 29, 2016)  If you are coming from the American Airlines side of the merger, most things will stay the same for you, the exceptions being that you will no longer need 500-mile upgrade “stickers” for flights less than 500 miles and you’ll need to fly 120 segments next year to qualify for Executive Platinum status.  What else changed, especially for US Airways members?

The large-scale changes many (including myself) were expecting, like adding a 4th status level and announcing a revenue requirement for various status levels like Delta did and United copied.  My opinion is that those changes are still coming, just not this year.

I did two posts way back when to explain AAdvantage status levels, and instead of retyping them I’ll just link to them here (I’ve gone in and updated them with the new requirements):

AAdvantage Status Explained: The Basics
AAdvantage Status Explained: AAdvanced

(American’s website has an additional guide for the 2015 program specifically, located here)

The bigger changes are for US Airways customers, who will move from 4 award tiers to three and will have a new upgrade system (there’s an in-depth post coming about this system and how it will look going forward).  The good news is that most US Airways members who have status will receive more bonus miles for their flights.  The “bad” news (if you could call it that) is the upgrade system changing, but I actually think it’s better for everyone to use the “sticker” system instead of US’s legacy auto-upgrade system.

In a time where other loyalty programs are undergoing large-scale and devastating changes (for the loyal customers), it’s good to see American play it safe.  I had previously asserted that 2014 would be the last year of the mileage run on American, but I know officially move that to 2015.  I believe 2016 will bring the large-scale change to the program once American and US Airways receive a single operating certificate and operate entirely as one airline.

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