I lost my Executive Platinum status and couldn’t be more thankful

As the clock struck midnight and everyone yelled “HAPPY NEW YEAR!” my heart sank a bit.  It was official.

I didn’t requalify for American Airlines Executive Platinum status.  I wasn’t even close.

I finished the year with roughly 60k elite-qualifying miles, 6500 elite-qualifying dollars, and 37 segments.  What does all that equal?  Platinum status.  Not the worst thing in the world unless you live in an American hub.  It’s especially bad if you live in a “fortress hub”, where one airline dominates an entire market.

[Note: Platinum status equates to mid-tier status on American.  I know their status tiers can be confusing, since 75% of them have the word ‘Platinum’ in them, thought I would clarify.  It’s Gold, then Platinum, then Platinum Pro (which sounds like a membership you’d buy at a car wash place), and Executive Platinum.  Then there’s the spooky/unpublished/oft-rumored ConciergeKey status, but that’s its own bundle of nonsense]

Wait.  I’m based in Dallas.  Crap.  Flying American as a Platinum out of DFW really sucks.

But wait, there’s a silver lining to all this…

I don’t care.

american airlines 787

I feel free and liberated.  American, innovating by copying Delta in every way except operational reliability and profitability, is focused on three groups: the super wealthy, the high-end corporate travelers, and one-time travelers who might sign up for a credit card.  I am none of those.  I travel for work but not as often as I used to, most of my flying, due to corporate policy, is in the back of the cabin, and I hate the credit card pitch with the fiery passion of ten-thousand burning suns.  It’s a risky move by American but the big 3 US airlines (American, Delta, and United) all pretty much agree that they don’t have to care too much about how well they do because people will end up having to fly them anyway.

American has cut benefits, by my count, upwards of 50 times since 2012.  They’ve made AAdvantage miles harder to earn.  They’ve made AAdvantage miles worth less by making awards cost more.  And, just as one last kick to the nuggets, they’re the absolute worst in the industry when it comes to award availability.  And even if you can find award availability you’re probably connecting through New Orleans and St. Louis on your way to Chicago.  Oh, they’ve also slashed the number of systemwide upgrades and made it almost impossible to confirm them at booking.

American Airlines First Class Review

“bUt ANdY ThEy aRe a BUsInEsS aNd HaVe tO m8kE a pRoFiT”

Yep, I agree with you, fingers-in-ears internet commenter.  They are a business.  And, frankly, their business isn’t worth much right now.  Their stock price lost almost half of its value last year.  Their key indicators, notably RASM, lag their competition.  They’re still blaming the merger, which was over five years ago now, for lagging issues.  But the one thing they haven’t been afraid to do is throw shade at their frequent flyers, the same ones they asked to stay with them when they announced their bankruptcy in 2012.

American has no identity.  They’re trying to do what cannot be done: be three airlines in one.  They lust after the profits of Spirit, want customer service like Southwest, and the spendy premium flyers like Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines.  An entity who wants to be three different things at the same time will end up being none of them.

Basically, here’s where American is at: after five years of being the world’s largest airline, they are so completely out of ideas that they’ve resorted to intense credit card pitches as a last resort to secure more revenue from infrequent flyers.  They’re going after big spenders but those are the most fickle customers.  The things those customers care the most about, arriving on time and a consistent customer experience, is what American struggles at the most.  American picked the exact wrong time to move in this direction, probably because some analyst on Wall Street said they should be following their competition.  Well, American followed their competition and their stock price is crap as a result.

So I’ll let them make a profit off someone else.  I’m officially a free agent.  No more ignoring an amazing $400 roundtrip to Europe for a weekend trip in the Spring just because it’s on Delta or even (gasp) United.

It’s time to fly.  I will absolutely say this: I’ve enjoyed countless flights with American Airlines and will happily fly them in the future (what can I say, I’m based in Dallas, if you want a nonstop flight somewhere you can fly any airline you want as long as it’s American or Southwest).  The benefits I once had will certainly be missed.  The more I’ve flown, though, the more I’m realizing it’s just a seat.  I want to focus on destinations more.  No more flying just to fly.

I’ve said this before but this year I’m putting my money where my mouth is: it begins next week when I fly to Africa with Delta!

I’m rooting for American.  I know many quality people who have worked for American for years and years.  They’re great at their jobs and work incredibly hard.  But maybe losing my top-tier status was the jolt of reality I needed.  I’m no longer going to go out of my way to fly American.  If American wants my business they need to fight for it like everyone else.

104 Comments

  1. Amen – I requal’d for exec plat last year so I have it this year, but it’s time I enjoy those benefits and burn my mileage balance down. I’ve already booked four award tickets to Europe and am so looking forward to shopping with my wallet.

    Reply
    • I’m doing the same thing after years of flying only AA I no longer see the point of my loyalty I qualified after flying over a million miles to remain at Gold status even if I don’t fly the miles required I went to book a flight to the Caribbean and discovered that the lowest fare $687 now has a pop up that reads note that the restrictions also apply to advantage elites as well, which means boarding last, getting your seat assigned at the airport, and paying for bags that was the last straw for me I’m in Houston so I was able to book the same flight with bags included granted on Southwest and the JetBlue for $609 round trip…goodbye AA I’m putting my money where my mouth is.

      Reply
      • I left in 2017 and went for the service and times I wanted. Cancelled my Platinum AA Citicard in 2018. Good bye to 4.1 million lifetime miles. I have not missed AA at all and I must assume they don’t miss me. Just maybe my money.

        Reply
      • I’m sitting at about 800,000 lifetime miles, and I thought for a microsecond about going for 1M and lifetime status. But I think its lifetime silver, which is basically useless anyway. Never any upgrades, and I can get most of the benefits from their credit card. So pretty sure going for the 1M miles is not worth it

        Reply
    • I have been ExPlatinum for the past 10 years and your story is almost identical!! I am more mad at myself though. I have been strongly loyal to AA even to a fault. Not even flying Southwest to Houston or Austin when flights times and convenience is much better.

      The service on AA continues to decline, it is impossible to use VIP’s and complementary upgrades are a joke. I do not wish any company had, but AA should look at who has been loyal and try and win us back, especially as we head into a recession.

      We recently retired and decided that when we fly overseas having more legroom is even more important. We have historically purchased Business Class on AA. However like you, we are free now to fly anyone. I’ve always wanted to try Emerites, Singapore or Quantus.

      We are going to Capetown this year. Maybe we will see you on that Delta flight.

      Steve B Dallas

      Reply
      • I’ll keep my eye out for you Steve!

        Reply
      • Have been an executive platinum for the last year and I am currently one. I AGREE. AMERICAN HAS TAKEN TOO MUCH FROM US AND STILL BLAME ISSUES ON THER MERGER. THEY HAVE GREAT PEOPLE WORKING FOR THEM BUT WHAT CAN THEY DO??

        Reply
      • Like you Steve, I was an EXP since the USAir merger. Before that, I was a Chairmans at USAir for over 10 years. I was treated like royalty then, and the merger hit. Suddenly I didnt feel so special. Over a short time, my loyalty to American died because of how I was treated as an EXP. I lost my EXP and as of this year, I was zero status. I do have their credit card but it’s only useful for free luggage and keeping my miles alive. I have a Delta Amex and it gives me upgrades for free. I have no airline loyalty anymore, and will fly with who ever gives me the best deal and service. I would have to say after a couple of flights on Singapore where I was upgraded to business for free on a couple of long hops, I’ll definitely fly them again. Their service was incredible! Best of luck!

        Reply
    • Having been in all the elite status levels over the past twenty-five years, I am currently Platinum and, have just flown ten family members to Punta Cana from Boston on American, I am now attempting to book a flight from Boston to Monterrey, Mexico on basic economy, which does not allow upgrades or booking seats until check in, in spite of the fact that one of the “benefits” of Platinum offers “complimentary main cabin extra and preferred seats.” BUT NOT FROM BASIC ECONOMY. I’ve had enough of American “economies.” Geoff. January 13, 2109

      Reply
    • Same for me. I am permanent gold bcause of million miler status but there are no real benefits to gold anymore other than no $75 fee for last-minute mileage booking and I can get priority boarding. Lost the ability to get priority seats an initial booking but still can get them at the time of check in.

      Reply
    • As an aside, I wrote to American Airlines about their changes and they just about blew me off by their response.. they said that their changes were being done in the best interest of all of their consumers. That is a lot of hogwash. It seems all they want are the high-end rollers. I just hope I can blow off my 500,000 miles before they go under or are bought by somebody else and I lose the miles.

      Reply
  2. I really enjoyed this post. Thank you. That’s exactly how I felt when I lost my United 1K status several years ago (NYC based here) when qualifying for status was based on butt-in-seat miles. I don’t travel for work so I’ve already accepted the fact that I’ll never be top tier status of any alliance and I’m ok with that. The past few years I’ve enjoyed travelling more and feel that I saved more $$$ as well. Enjoy being a free agent!!! (I’ll admit the first few flights of not having status made me miss having the status… but with time I got over it.)

    Reply
    • There are some other things I think I’ll need to do in order to enjoy non-status life more (dropping some weight, for one, so I fit into the seats better) but the idea is more and more exciting the more I think about it!

      Reply
  3. Great points Andy

    The heyday of 2009-2015 where the benefits you received made it easy to be loyal to American are long gone.

    I’ll take my 15k in yearly spend and spread it out from now on.

    Reply
    • I met such nice people back in those days too! Hope all is well my friend.

      Reply
    • I was Chairmans Preferred with US Air for ten years before the merger. The benefits were outstanding including free club for me (150 segments) and my wife (180) segments. We were treated like gold coin. Then Mr. Parker decided to lower the merged airlines to their lowest level of mediocrity. American has not had an original thought since the merger. They keep trying to cheap us like Delta but without the customer care. They are getting what they deserve. Too bad…. I loved US Airways.

      Reply
      • Hi Douglas,
        I have the exact same story as you. I loved those Chairmans days, made flying worthwhile. I punched out 2 years after the merger and glad now to make wise choices instead of being blindly loyal to American.
        Cheers, Andrew

        Reply
  4. Yep, totally agree. They have no identity. They do not want to differentiate themselves at all. I don’t carelessly throw around the word “greed” like some might, but I think the leadership has abandoned all cares pertinent to running a good (likable even) airline in pursuit of the never-ending race for “more”.

    Reply
    • I just think there’s a problem that their numbers cannot explain. It’s as hard to quantify as it is to solve honestly.

      Reply
  5. Perfectly said. I moved over to Delta this year. Their service and reliability far surpasses American.

    Reply
    • I’m excited about flying Delta more. I know they will have their issues just like any airline but it’ll be fun anyway I think.

      Reply
      • two years ago i had Exec Plat, 1K and Diamond at the same time and Delta FAR SURPASSED the others. no question, Delta all the way.

        Reply
  6. I had the EQDs but was 4,300 miles short on EQMs and couldn’t have cared any less about status runs or anything else to get me to Executive Platinum again. It’s hard to be loyal to an airline that is actively making everything about flying with them (except, perhaps, the long-haul J seat) worse.

    Reply
    • Yep, feel the same way, especially about how great the long-haul J seats are.

      Reply
      • My situation is almost identical to yours, Andy. When I cancelled my ASBlack card ($450 per year) the VitinGut cajoled and then threatened. Screw em! And I fly outta Nashville…just half the time now. Thanks! Look forward to seeing ya around the skies.

        Reply
        • I’m going through the same thing! Consolidating down to just a few credit cards, stay tuned for that post!

          Reply
          • Great newsletter, Andy. Would love to hear about United from you or others on United’s current service and tiered status

  7. One thing I don’t understand about airline status is that, American’s own elites aren’t eligible to use the Admirals Clubs and/or Flagship Lounges when traveling on North American itineraries. I am a OW Sapphire through Qatar Privilege Club and I am accorded lounge access that American’s own elites aren’t. I think the same thing goes for UA – United’s own elites aren’t allowed to access United Clubs on domestic itineries but me as a *A Gold through Avianca LifeMiles am. What’s the rationale behind this (imho) irrational policy?

    Reply
    • It’s entirely about space. The lounges would be too crowded if they allowed everyone with status to access the lounges on domestic itineraries. I know many flyers who will get status with British Airways so they can access American lounges (since it’s an ‘international’ flight) for free.

      Reply
      • AA/DL/UA : no lounge access but free upgrades.
        With British Airways/Air France/Lufthansa you get lounge access even domestically (see FRA lounge being too crowded as a result) but zero, null upgrades.

        Reply
        • Yep, just a matter of which is more important to you. As a low-spend Executive Platinum I didn’t get very many upgrades out of DFW anyway.

          Reply
      • One of the items there is that some OW carriers award lifetime memberships after flying 1m miles, while others don’t. That increases the potential number of eligible users. Lounge access in the USA with AA the worst over the OW network. Even if AA members get access often they have to buy their own drinks, while overseas travelers usually get coupons (international)

        Reply
  8. I predict you’ll still be happy about this a year from now. I’m a 10 minute Uber/Lyft from DCA so the odds are that I’m going to fly American at some point this year, but I don’t know when that’s going to be. My first flights are booked on DL and WN. I’m probably going to drop my Citi Exec card when the annual fee is due this spring. We’ll see.

    Reply
    • I’m definitely dropping mine. EQM benefit but no EQD like Barclays? Sorry, Citi.

      Reply
    • I couldn’t agree more with what the author wrote. I was ep then play than gold and as of Jan 31st. No status. I cannot support an airline that constantly picks away at the customer. There should actually be laws as to what they have done with the value of my 2.5 million miles

      Reply
    • Grateful for the link! I just filled out the information & will give United a try. I am frustrated with AA as well & lost my Executive Platinum this year too.
      Paid almost a 1000.00 to get platinum pro :/

      Reply
  9. To your credit-card-shilling point, I had a casual acquaintance who is an FA for AA hit me up on WhatsApp asking if I wanted “an extra 50,000 AAdvantage miles”. Not thinking anything of it, I said, “Sure. Who doesn’t.” He then immediately sent me his referral codes for the Aviator card. He’s not that desperate or socially unaware, and given he’s fairly mid-level in terms of seniority I’m presuming AA has put even MORE pressure on their FAs to hawk the cards in any way possible. Pathetic.

    Reply
    • Ew that’s kinda slimy.

      Reply
    • They probably get affirmations or even gifts for whoever opens the most cards. That’s what they did when I worked retail. ‍♀️

      Reply
      • Oops! I guess emojis don’t work on these replies!

        Reply
  10. Bravo and well said. Especially that no matter the airline you are still basically in a flying subway. And while it may be a bit deflating losing that oh so coveted status I would rather be happily unshackled and board with the rest of humanity. Just like the good old days. Just without all the smoke. Enjoy being out there

    Reply
  11. I love concierge key and I don’t even have it. It’s just an extra special perk when flying with my husband. It was especially great when we had a short layover and were met at the plane door, ushered to a black SUV next to the plane, and driven to our connecting terminal.

    Reply
    • It’s wonderful if you can get it, no doubt!

      Reply
  12. Dude! You are totally spot on. No AA status here for two yrs now and couldn’t be happier. Most of my travel is within the US. I’ve been choosing Frontier or Spirit when I can. I buy one or two additional seats in my row for less than what I was paying for one first class seat on AA. Btw, the FC seats on AA have a lot less room since they’ve reconfigured their aircraft. No loyalty ot AA any longer fir me. WooHoo!

    Reply
  13. Free Agent status here (DFW) is pointless. You are stuck with AA or WN. I am a lowly PLT on AA, and I have practically stopped flying WN all together because of some international travel on AA. I went to Europe last year on LH, which was great.

    I fly in the back. Get about 12 upgrades per year, and usually only on those odd routes like CLE->DFW or CLT->DAB. International I fly J, but even that doesnt mean much. It is all about the comfort level and I would change if I could. But living here means I have no options.

    Reply
    • Yep, although I do have at least somewhat of an option, most of my domestic work travel is to NYC and LAX (which are served nonstop from DFW by other airlines)

      Reply
  14. Delta Platinum, United Platinum and AA EXP based near PHL so a large number of flights especially international… As a small business owner I am cautious about travel expenditures so my actual spend on AA last year was only $7k. The remainder I earned through expenditure on Aviator silver Mastercard !

    With the changes to that card (only $3k EQDs at $50k expenditure) and the fact that it is almost impossible to use the systemwide upgrades on any trip planned significantly in advance I will probably not bother to allocate that expenditure elsewhere this year. Similarly I will also cancel my AAdvantage Elite Mastercard as I really have no need for the very average Admirals Clubs – especially as we now have a superb Centurion Club at PHL….

    Based on that, it is unlikely that I will equality for EXP this year. And yes I will miss the almost automatic upgrades on local flights but will probably save many thousands of dollars by NOT purchasing AA flights…

    Sorry American, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles!

    Reply
  15. Oops. Sorry about the tyupos

    Reply
  16. I remember the days of ” customer services” for many previous airlines.
    Piedmont Airlines treated EVERY passenger as ” Elite “.
    Then US Airways, very different without those hardworking and dedicated employees !
    Then moving in was the biggest airline merger with AA.
    Not much for customer first, understandiing the ever changing industry.
    Gone are those great days if feeling more than just another customer.

    Reply
  17. As a current employee, please know we feel your frustrations. We have sent thousands of emails to upper management telling them we have no goal or vision. Our product is not something we are proud of anymore (Legacy American here) and it’s become quite discouraging to say the least. We need a complete overhaul of senior management and company direction. Parker still thinks we are the best but I can tell you, when I fly for fun, it’s not on American. He had a chance to make an amazing airline with this merger and he completely failed. Please keep your emails coming to our management. We are all hoping, along with you, for the great American turn around.

    Reply
    • I really appreciate your perspective and the hard work you and your colleagues put in to make the best of the current situation!

      Reply
    • I started as an FA with Western Airlines “back in the day”. Flew for Eastern till the shut down. I was so proud to be a part of both. I was AWA>US>AA. I have seen the good and bad. I retired in 2014. Happy to be gone. My friends are struggling. AA is losing good employees and, obviously, loyal customers. Good luck to all of you.

      Reply
  18. I lost Ex Plat but don’t really think of it as a loss. I’m flying less now that I’m nearing retirement. I’m Plat for life for what that’s worth (not much). It’s odd that American no longer cares about customers who’ve spent a fair bit of their lives in their aluminum tubes. My #1 airline now is Jet Blue. Better service, friendlier staff and often enough it costs less. Seats are also much more comfortable. You’ll never get reelected if you trample your base. That doesn’t only apply to politicos.

    Reply
    • I’ve heard such wonderful things about JetBlue, looking forward to trying them this year! And it’s a great analogy about politicians.

      Reply
  19. Here is another issue that irked me when I had Chairman status with US Airways for 4 years in a row. My work situation changed and I was ‘forced’ to fly another airline for reasons of nonstnon flights etc. I went from Chairman to Silver in a heartbeat (you qualify or don’t, that simple). In reality, AA or any other major airline do not care about your past loyalty and $$. They will turn their back quickly. That made me realize it’s just a game – one way. Sad. I always felt welcome as a ChsirmCh, but that same airline is indifferent about you as the custormer once the music stops…

    Reply
    • Yep, the cessation of “soft-landing” programs really stung from a customer value standpoint.

      Reply
    • I was Chairmans at USAir for 10 years. Very happy with that. UsAir was definitely far better than American is now. American didn’t care about my years of loyalty.

      Reply
  20. I couldn’t agree with you more.

    I joined AAdvantage back in 1981, when the program was first launched, and was a top-tier AAdvantage member for 27 consecutive years – from 1990, when Gold was the highest published status, through 2017, as an Executive Platinum. I, too, finally didn’t requalify due to the rules changes when AAdvantage copied the others to become a revenue-based program.

    Sadly they didn’t copy everything … United and Delta both tiered their million miler programs to enable lifetime status through their top tiers, while American did not. So I find that as an 8 million miler on AA, the benefits of my lifetime status as a Platinum on AA is not as good as the lifetime Gold status I have on United, as a single million miler on that airline.

    So much for loyalty that spanned over a quarter of a century, through thick and thin.

    Reply
    • It’s a tough situation for everyone but American has sure seemed willing to take the bottom out of the equation while slowly lowering the ceiling as well.

      Reply
  21. I am an American that lives in Europe, and it is amazing to fly to places with budget airlines like easyjet, lot, and Wizz because I has rather spend my money at the destination. Airlines in America are a farce ripping people off. American Airlines service is worse than any of these budget airlines.

    Reply
  22. Great post: thanks for this. I also qualified at Platinum level and despise the CC pitch on EVERY flight.

    Reply
    • It’s just the worst isn’t it?!

      Reply
  23. Great article, Andy. I retired and tried to get status, traveling all over on AA just to find I wasn’t happy with the service or the level of comfort in the planes. Employees as a whole were very good and I couldn’t help but feel sorry for them. I think they are on a sinking ship. I never fly Spirit and Atlantic City airport is closest to me. It is like staying in the lowest level local hotel…..you always get your money’s worth. Next, you’ll have to chip-in for gas or dust a field on the way to FL.

    Reply
    • I’ve had some friends tell me about great experiences on Spirit, I’m going to have to try them at some point this year. I agree with the general sentiment of the AA employees though, some of them seem so ashamed of management, I feel bad for them.

      Reply
      • Spirit has actually come a long way in the past 18 months. I fly them quite a bit now – once you figure out the best way to configure the add-ons, you can get some pretty decent deals. I liken them to Kia, which, in the past, was a horrible brand but which remade itself once it figured out that people care about quality. Spirit is doing the same thing, and the improvements, overall, are quite noticable. Their planes are new (or newer), and their configuration is no worse than AA’s 737 Max’s, and the onboard service has improved a lot.

        Their FF program sucks, however.

        Reply
  24. I’ve been a member of AAdvantage for 33 years, 7 million miles and used to do mileage runs to retain exec platinum. At 2 million miles I became platinum for life – then it was the middle tier. But now it’s second from the bottom – with 3 tiers above me. I’ve traveled premium class with them for more than half my life. I bought their bankruptcy stock because I had invested so much in loyalty to them. But I don’t feel loyalty any more – because I’m second from the bottom to them. I’m also angry that people can buy 200,000 miles for $4-$8k depending on their promotions which enables the non frequent flier to get premium class tickets for half the price I was paying. I still own some stock that I bought at 50 cents but other then that – I’m a free agent now.

    Reply
    • At least you’re sitting on some awesome stock returns!

      Reply
  25. I lost executive platinum the year before and had platinum pro last year. I traveled less this year so moving down. I am going to be short 10k from 2 million miles at the end of January. I reached out to American and asked if they could give me plantinum for a couple months and customer service told me to enjoy my Gold Status until I reach either the 2 million to be platinum or earn it. So even there wonderful customer service reminds me of US Airways. Once I reach the 2 million I am going to also be a free agent.

    Reply
    • That’s annoying, just a little bit of thinking would have made for a wonderful customer story.

      Reply
  26. Andy, Thank you for highlighting the fading “glory” of airline’s status! I live near Atlanta. I had a job in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and acquired a status with Delta by flying with KLM, Air France, Saudia and Delta many times in my two year employment. We were awarded “butts in seats miles”. Now we only have benefits from our United and Delta credit cards. Currently, when it is time to fly, we check if our Delta miles are reasonable and use them. We are using three different airlines for our trip to Atlanta-DEN-HNL-LAX-Atlanta. Now for the reason we LUV Southwest! However, we have been impressed with Southwest’s sales. Last year Southwest was offering Atlanta-MSP for $79 each way. Checked them out and the last flight of the day was $49 each way!!! We have flown with these surprise airfares, three times in the past 12 months (including $79 each way Atlanta-Denver. Great way to travel! We have changed our travel plans due to health issues and Southwest makes the change with no cost, just calculating whether the new plan is more, or less expensive than our original plans. PLUS, as you know, if you cancel a trip, Southwest keeps that value on your account for 12 months! The only “pain” is checking in 24 hours prior to a 6AM flight to get a lower boarding pass! Your team can recommend checking out their airfare sales and to go online to check on surprise lower fares! I believe some airlines are charging approx. $25 to make reservations over the phone, this is not the case at Southwest! We are anxiously awaiting Southwest’s inclusion of Hawaii into their route schedule this year. I am sure others have offered this advice on seating with Southwest? We ask the gate agent if the flight is full and if there are 10-12 empty seats, we select one of the last three rows on the plane. Wife sits on the aisle and I sit by the window. We normally have the entire row to ourselves! IF someone wants the middle seat, one of us, after arm wrestling takes the middle seat and the aisle or window is available to this surprised customer!

    Reply
    • I’m definitely looking forward to flying Southwest more now!

      Reply
  27. Completely agree with everything. I also just lost my EP status, and one of the reasons I quit traveling so much is that American keeps cutting the benefits and making it harder to use them. I have over 1 million miles in my account, but I refuse to fly 4 segments and 15 hours to go from Syracuse NY to Orlando. I work in Charlotte, and American is the only way to get there direct, so I renegotiated my contract so I no longer have to travel there every week. I will still use American to get there, but I’m a free agent now for my personal travel. As Marshall says, I’m also looking at dropping my Citi cards when they are due. Perhaps I’ll try Delta for a trip and then get their card. From what I hear, their reward program is much more user friendly.

    Reply
    • If not their award program, Delta’s actual airline operation seems more user friendly.

      Reply
  28. I have life time platinum status on American. Lots of work to get to the 3 million mile threshold. This status gives me free bag checking (which is the only perk I really want). Hopefully American will leave this status alone.

    Reply
  29. I am going into my 16th consecutive year as an Exec Plat but the incentives to continue are disappearing quickly. I have to connect to DFW for all travel so System Wide Upgrades and upgrading with miles and money are worthless. My System Wide upgrades will expire worthless this year for the second year in a row. I can never confirm at ticket purchase for the longer flight only the short connection to DFW. I get complimentary upgrades for the short flight anyway and the System Wide upgrade for the longer flight from DFW never fills. It is a joke and it is the same way with upgrading with miles and money. I am not going to use 30,000 miles and $75 to upgrade just the 40 minute connection to DFW then not get an upgrade on the longer flight. Complimentary upgrades are almost impossible to get too. Upgrading is not an incentive to maintain status anymore. The only incentive is to concentrate miles with one airline so I can earn award travel but even that is becoming a joke. I have a 3 segment award trip for my wife and I booked using a MileSAAver First Class award but we can’t confirm First except on one segment. AAnytime awards have been inflated to the point they are not feasible. We are watching to see if our upgrades fill. If they don’t we will seriously question staying 100% with AA. Service keeps going down on flights, especially American Eagle. Most of the short flights are entirely spent listening to commercials for AA entertainment and credit cards. Can’t use the entertainment for the commercials.

    My wife dropped from Platinum to her permanent Gold status this year and I will likely drop a level or two next year. Will switch my credit cards to cards which have points usable on many airlines or hotels and simply buy the ticket that makes the most sense economically rather than trying to maintain status or accrue miles.

    The problem in the U.S. is there is no competition anymore. The carriers know they are going to fill the planes regardless so it is a constant race to the bottom. As soon as one carrier scrunches the seats a little closer or cuts service, or inflates awards, or makes it harder to earn miles or qualify for status, within a year all of the other carriers follow. Until the U.S. government steps in and reduces the percentage of gates that any one carrier can control at any airport and allows foreign carriers to operate domestic flights the traveling public will continue to be abused and treated with contempt.

    Reply
    • I agree with you, we need more competition in the marketplace!

      Reply
    • Amen brother – this is my third year of not using all my systemwide upgrades – never available. AA seems to also be outsourcing many international flights to OneWorld partners where our upgrade miles and certificates do nothing. Example is LAX-LHR, they are down to one flight a day and 4 flights per day on BA – but they are happy to sell you a codeshare.

      Reply
  30. Just a side note as to how lost AA has become they offered my 2 daughters Platinum Pro for free through May even though they have flown on AA one time last year to Hawaii giving them a whopping 5,000 miles. Now explain why they would give up valuable awards to non-fliers and take them away from Platinum’s and up like myself. Makes no sense.

    Reply
  31. Congratulations on your “achievement”. Like you, I’ve lost interest in AA, mostly because they have such a hard time recovering from an issue…the smallest ripple becomes a tsunami….that, along with the lack of a dependable time delivery (I got to the point that I could not schedule anything else the day of a flight, since the arrival time was so unpredictable).

    I finished my AA year with a 9 hour delAAyed flight (mechanical) on 12/28. And it was the flight I needed for my Exec Plat status (right now at 99,406 EQMs and 17K EQDs). I abandoned that flight given the delay, and so far I have not received a credit for the fare, or for the miles to achieve Exec Plat. And I’ve asked several times. Like you, I just don’t care that much about status. United has matched my EXEC PLAT status and I’ve flown 8,000 miles on them already this month. 75% upgraded and not one late flight (so far).

    Well written article—I have friends employed by AA, so I want them to be OK, so I guess I want AA to do OK too.

    Reply
  32. You are SPOT-ON! I lost my status with AA when they changed my frequent flyer ID number about 2 years ago. They issued a new number and card, but failed to transfer in my points. Apparently, my card was old (having been a client for 20 years). I have not been able to get AA to fix it. So, finding myself “freed” from my AA trap, I recently traveled to Japan with Delta. Wonderful service!

    Reply
  33. “The more I’ve flown, though, the more I’m realizing it’s just a seat.” Post that where you brush your teeth every morning; it will make the rest of your life “real”, as well. Good luck.

    Reply
  34. This post is making the rounds with the AA flight attendants. Unfortunately they agree with you on all counts. AA management has no creativity, no vision, no trustworthiness, and are so cheap with their customers and employees that it’s actually costing them opportunities to profit. AA desperately needs new management.

    Reply
    • Very interesting to hear, thanks for sharing!

      Reply
  35. Lost my exec status this year because I purchase my own tickets . I look at price but not the super cheap seats. Have plenty of miles but almost 3 grand short on money. . figure it’s not worth the money to buy up especially since last year I had a hard time using my system upgrades for Europe flights in the summer months. Plat pro will have to do. no big deal. there are always business class deals to Europe from all airlines if you hunt around. Really don’t get that much flying first class domestic. I long for the days of U S Airways . Much better for frequent flyers . I guess their management is turned to profits only now and to hell with frequent flyers

    Reply
    • That’s the crazy part to me, US Airways top-tier customers raved about Chairman Preferred benefits with this same executive team overseeing it. I think reduced capacity has definitely hurt things as well as market forces around domestic first class pricing.

      Reply
      • Chairmans was awesome. I no longer travel much, and I dont miss sitting in a tube for hours on end, but I do miss the benefits and feeling that I was valued by the USAir employees.

        Reply
  36. Amen… .

    Reply
  37. You hit the nail on the head. I’ve been eternal Platinum for the longest time, and Platinum actually meant something back before EQDs, Platinum Pro, the gutting of benefits for frequent flyers, etc. I was flying roughly 50K-70K a year for work, however I’d since changed jobs towards the end of 2018 and I couldn’t be happier saying goodbye to Platinum status (of which really means nothing anymore like it did a decade ago). You’re 100% correct when you said it’s just a seat, and a tighter one now as well. Great article.

    Reply
    • Glad you enjoyed the article and I agree with your points. Solid first name as well 🙂

      Reply
  38. I fired American as my airline of choice more than a year ago. I am much happier flying out of Dallas Love Field on Southwest.

    Reply
    • For domestic flights, definitely, love the culture of Southwest!

      Reply
  39. They also devalued Platinum when they created Platinum Pro.

    Reply
    • They also devalued Executive Platinum when they made ConciergeKey its own status tier.

      Reply
  40. What made me jump the AA shop as an EXP a couple years ago was the god awful USAir planes. They are just like an old Spirit plane. They have this low budget product but still charging premium fares. I do travel for a living. I went to United and never looked back. I split my business between United and Southwest now.

    Reply
    • Agreed, I can’t believe that the legacy US jets are still around, American is spending millions to take seatback screens out of jets and cram seats together but can’t seem to spare any money to add power to jets 6 years after the merger.

      Reply
  41. Too many people for too few seats. Look at the standby list. Most are employees wanting a free ride. This perk should be taxed as income.

    Reply
  42. Very interesting, albeit unfortunate commentary on AA. As someone who has been a member of the AAdvantage program since the early 1980s, is lifetime PLT, having over 6 million lifetime miles and re-qualified for EXP in Nov (and having been EXP for many years), I’ll be taking my first flight of 2019 on Delta and will most likely not be traveling on AA except for the transcon between LAX-JFK. I completely concur with others regarding availability of systemwides and upgrades in general. Now when I fly, I’m purchasing business or first class tickets since I am not willing to take the chance of an airport upgrade – the 100 hour window is a thing of the past, and the list for airport upgrades tends to be 20 or more people and the front cabin is already full, so without the upgrade benefit, if I have to pay for first, I’ll fly on Delta, United or whomever has the best scheduling and fare.
    Since the merger, with US Air being the surviving company, with AA being retained in name only, there has been a consistent downturn in service, equipment and general attitude. They clearly don’t seem to have the interest in keeping longtime, loyal customers.
    In 2017, AA refused to waive a $450/ticket change fee when we had to modify our travel plans and what was originally a $4,000 ticket became a $17,000 ticket, and in Nov, after requesting a flight change on a tight connection through LHR (where we were in the Concorde lounge and the BA rep offered to change the connection to a later flight, waiving the normal 500 GBP change fee) the change had to be approved by AA since they issued the ticket. Again, AA refused to waive the change fee and their fee was 750 GBP change fee. This time we said screw it – if we miss our connection, AA will have to accommodate us. Fortunately we made the connection, but this is certainly a far cry from the days when they had a car waiting to meet first class passengers in transit on International flights to take them to the next terminal/gate.
    Agreed also on the legacy US Air planes. We flew to REK this summer and the planes in both directions between LAX-DFW were these legacy aircraft with old, uncomfortable seats (on the return, had a maintenance delay of over 2 hours) no entertainment, seatback or otherwise (which I understand is how the 737MAX is configured), and the equipment between DFW-REK was the old 757s, which on the return flight had the first/business restroom go out of service.
    I find it interesting that AA is investing in the Flagship lounges and Flagship dining, the latter of which is spectacular, and a reason for continuing to fly the transcon (as well as the fact that first on the transcon is a single seat on either side of the aisle), but with this investment, AA is cutting back on the three class international service into a two class configuration, which substantially limits access into dining, which is virtually empty every time we fly.
    Based on the comments above, it seems that many, many people are dissatisfied with the new AA and are leaving or substantially reducing their AA travel. I hope that management figures this out – or management is replaced – before they completely destroy what was once an amazing airline.

    Reply
  43. I’m kind of curious…
    See, even as a Gold tier I would regularly get 1st class upgrades when flying through DFW. My flight path was ATL > DFW > SLC at the beginning of the week, and the reverse at the end of the week. Almost every week for 8 months. Between DFW and SLC I never once got an upgrade. But between DFW and ATL? About 40% of the time. When I hit platinum that increased to 80%.

    So did something change in the last couple years at DFW? Or is it just the flight path?
    Maybe I just get lucky and always end up with projects where I can fly American and get the perks. This year I hit Platinum Pro and I’m essentially seeing the same level of upgrades that I saw at Platinum. So other than not having to deal with the hassle of 500 mile upgrades, I can’t say the extra step is entirely worth it.

    Having lived in Atlanta for 6 years, I rarely flew Delta. At least with American I had a shot at getting an upgrade. And the number of miles to fly to Europe “free” was reasonable. Nothing against Delta, but they are greedy bastages when it comes to actually giving you something for your hard-earned miles. Now that I’m in SE Florida and get to pick between FLL and MIA, my choice to stay away from Delta is even easier.

    Granted, AA needs to figure out their program because they’re going in the wrong direction altogether. But I just haven’t seen many of the negative effects that so many people seem to be blogging about lately.

    Reply
  44. So I will be the one person to buck this. EXP here and have been for about as long as it existed. Most of that time has been with ATL as my home hub. Until maybe a couple of years ago, Delta was my airline of last resort. It’s gotten better, but in the same way, EXPs are a dime a dozen in DFW, so too are the Diamonds in ATL. I could have done the status switch but at least in ATL, the EXP status was good for almost certain upgrades (which is still largely true). The AA Admirals Club has some super people who all know me and my family and are wonderful every time we go through there. The World Elite Mastercard gets all of us Admirals Club access for $450 a year which is outstanding.

    No matter what, I think we all know that status matters. For all of AA’s faults (and every airline has them), there are other good things. Ever booked a flight on miles and needed to change it or cancel? As an EXP — no problem. The miles go back or the change gets made. I met a flight attendant late last year who lost her home in the California fires. AA was going out of their way to help her with flights and uniforms etc because she initially had nowhere to go. And she still managed to smile and provide wonderful service to us. This is the experience I have with AA more often than not – hard working flight attendants, great pilots, and pleasant Admirals Club staff. Maybe I’m lucky. Could I wish for retirement of the old USAir Airbuses with no in seat power or regionals that had a few less issues? Sure. Southwest is genrally great to fly. Delta has gotten a whole lot better — but I’m just not willing to walk away from the mostly good I experience with AA and the people who still largely do a decent job in spite of the nickel and diming from the top.

    Reply
  45. I’ve been lifetime Gold with AA for two decades, as a result of a million revenue miles, not credit card promos or any other gimmicks. Most of those miles were Class Y tickets, full fare purchase as required by my clients. It’s amazing that I’m now at the bottom of the elite tiers, after more than thirty years of loyalty. I should note that I’ve been elite on five airlines, four are no longer in business, so AA is the last, and I’m greatful that they made it. I still have a hard time knowing that there are dozens of electronic upgrades in my account, and many pending mileage based upgrades, that will never happen, now that I’m at the bottom of the elite heap. I’m resigned to my fate, made even more ironic by the fact that I was a top engineer with a Fortune 100 aerospace company!

    Air travel in the 21st century. I though it would be different than those days back in the ‘80s when I got the last seat because of an itinerary change. Sitting in row 33 on the 727, in the middle, no recline, with the stinky lav right behind me, three screaming enigines surrounding me on the late night trip from Dallas to DC. The folks at AA have always been great to me, but I miss the days when the FAs knew me by name, and always had a smile onwhen the asked if I wanted the rubber chicken or the green beef.

    Reply
  46. Andy,
    If I recall right, when the merger happened US Air bought American, but kept the American name for name recognition. It was the US Air management that made the changes and started reducing perks. I live between Pittsburgh and Cleveland. Had the best of both worlds. Could fly Continental or American out of Cleveland and US Air or American out of Pittsburgh. Before the merger, US Air reduced me from gold status to silver status so I flew AA more because of the better perks such as getting on the plane earlier and being assured overhead space for my carry on. When the merger happened I was grandfathered in as an EP. So far so good. Also, Continental was a good airline until United took it over. I had more problems with United with delays, cancelled flights etc. especially if I have to go though Liberty airport in NJ. Worst customer service from United and it’s employees.

    Reply
  47. Total agree. I will lose my status at the end of the month after 10 years as an EP. No note no nothing from AA. They give you extra miles for flying as and EP but it is almost impossible to get award tickets when you want to go and at a reasonable price. The cost of the Admirals clubs are going up and many of them are under construction. It has been over a year and a half at DFW that at least one of the clubs have been closed. I am actually looking forward to flying United more.

    Reply
  48. This article was great! I was feeling alone on this subject until reading it & all the great replies.
    My husband and I both lost EP status. I paid almost a thousand dollars to be bumped to Platinum Pro. Now regretting that!
    I am curious if anyone is using American Express Platinum Business to earn points & book travel with?
    I would love your feedback if so.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

BoardingArea

 

Get the latest updates daily!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

%d bloggers like this: