It’s been a 12 months and a half since American Airlines launched Loyalty Points, a wholly completely different approach to qualify for AAdvantage elite standing. Instead of solely crediting standing based mostly on flight exercise, American flyers can additionally earn standing by way of non-flight actions resembling staying at motels, spending on cobranded bank cards and utilizing the airline’s buying portal.
When Loyalty Points have been launched final 12 months, there have been ample alternatives to earn on on a regular basis purchases. But throughout the TPG staff, we’re disheartened by the slashed Loyalty Points-earning candy spots, lackluster flight accruals and underwhelming SimplyMiles presents. Many American elite members are feeling just like the enjoyable spirit of Loyalty Points is gone.
Now, with Delta Air Lines poised to make large modifications to Medallion qualification subsequent 12 months, American has an actual alternative to choose up these disaffected elite members whereas concurrently energizing its current members.
Here’s how American Airlines may improve Loyalty Points.
1 mile, 1 Loyalty Point — for actual
When American launched Loyalty Points, it claimed it will “simplify the way members earn status” by crediting a Loyalty Point for each redeemable mile earned.
While “one mile earned, one Loyalty Point earned” stays the premise of this system, loads of transactions earn miles however do not earn Loyalty Points — or earn miles and Loyalty Points at completely different charges. For instance, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® (see charges and costs) earns 4 miles per greenback on eligible American Airlines purchases; nevertheless, you earn simply 1 Loyalty Point per greenback on these expenses.
Select partner-issued tickets are additionally ineligible for Loyalty Points. I lately traveled to Fiji on a Fiji Airways ticket that I credited to my AAdvantage account. Despite incomes miles, Fiji Airways-issued tickets do not earn Loyalty Points.
Likewise, you do not earn Loyalty Points on Bask Bank’s high-yield financial savings accounts that earn miles as an alternative of curiosity.
These are among the many the reason why senior author Katie Genter is not feeling the love from American. Just a few months in the past, she printed an article on why top-tier American Airlines Executive Platinum standing is not a should for her, citing a number of pitfalls of this system, together with the lengthy highway to Loyalty Choice Rewards, disappointing Loyalty Points-earning alternatives and little incentive to pursue Executive Platinum over Platinum Pro standing.
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American may improve loyalty by following by way of on the declare to simplify this system by crediting 1 Loyalty Point per 1 mile earned.
Related: American revamps AAdvantage program with new advantages, some devaluations
Bring again earlier Rocketmiles incomes charges
Earlier this 12 months, I printed an article on how AAdvantage members may earn over 75,000 miles and Loyalty Points on a seven-night Rocketmiles resort keep, subsequently locking in mid-tier Platinum standing (and being effectively on the way in which to larger elite tiers of this system). Although that sounds nice, reserving Rocketmiles stays means forgoing resort elite standing as you usually can’t earn resort factors or elite nights, along with not with the ability to obtain your customary resort elite standing advantages by reserving this manner.
Without discover, American massively devalued the Rocketmiles portal over the summer time by slashing incomes charges by over 90%. Now, there’s minimal worth in reserving Rocketmiles stays with AAdvantage. So you are usually higher off crediting Rocketmiles bookings to different helpful airline applications like Air Canada Aeroplan and Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan.
Our managing editor, Clint Henderson, examined out American’s resort portal, which was revamped across the identical time the airline devalued Rocketmiles. In addition to providing far fewer redeemable miles than Rocketmiles, Clint discovered American would not provide status-qualifying Loyalty Points if you add miles at checkout.
On the opposite hand, Rocketmiles supplied Loyalty Points (along with redeemable miles) if you chosen this feature at checkout.
Related: We examined incomes American Airlines miles for 3 completely different resort stays — here is what we discovered
Improve flight exercise accruals
This is a giant space of alternative.
There’s plenty of variation round how American credit flight exercise, particularly after it introduced it will be transferring to revenue-based mileage incomes on British Airways and Iberia.
But even if you’re touring on American metallic, the airline has room to improve. Since you earn Loyalty Points for flights based mostly in your present standing, it is troublesome for non-status members to qualify for standing. Here’s a have a look at the potential rewards on a $1,500 ticket:
|General member (5 LPs per base greenback)||7,500 Loyalty Points|
|Gold (7 LPs per base greenback)||10,500 Loyalty Points|
|Platinum (8 LPs per base greenback)||12,000 Loyalty Points|
|Platinum Pro (9 LPs per base greenback)||13,500 Loyalty Points|
|Executive Platinum (11 LPs per base greenback)||16,500 Loyalty Points|
My focus remained on incomes at the very least AAdvantage Platinum final 12 months since incomes 8 Loyalty Points per greenback makes it a lot simpler to retain or improve standing. It would not really feel proper for top-tier American members to earn Loyalty Points 120% sooner than common members, as this system is at present designed. It’s disheartening for freshmen and finally hinders loyalty.
There’s additionally room for enchancment for accruals on the lately enhanced partnership with Alaska Airlines. Clint and I each love how American elite members usually obtain the royal therapy on Alaska Airlines, however American is stingy in the way it credit Alaska-issued tickets, with as few as 10% base miles earned. Since the 2 airways are arguably the closest companions, it will make sense to have an incomes chart to encourage reciprocal enterprise.
Related: Earn American AAdvantage standing and Loyalty Points rapidly with Oneworld accomplice flights
Enhance Hyatt earnings
You’re eligible for twin accrual should you maintain Hyatt and American elite standing. By linking your accounts, you may earn 1 Hyatt level for each eligible greenback spent on qualifying American Airlines flights and 1 AAdvantage mile and Loyalty Point for each eligible greenback spent on qualifying Hyatt stays and experiences.
Best of all, that is along with customary American and Hyatt accruals.
Katie observes that there is room to reinforce this partnership, nevertheless. Hyatt may credit score greater than 1 mile/Loyalty Point per greenback spent on stays, or American may add Hyatt to its buying portal. Other main resort manufacturers, together with Marriott, Hilton, IHG, Choice, Radisson and Best Western, are at present on the American buying portal.
If American needs to ship its prospects to Hyatt, together with Hyatt on the buying portal would make sense.
Related: What is World of Hyatt elite standing value?
Transfer/present Loyalty Points
TPG Senior Vice President of Content Jamie Page and Director of Content Operations Andrea Rotondo maintain American Platinum Pro standing. They’d each like to have the ability to present or switch Loyalty Points much like the way in which American helps you to switch miles to a different member.
Although you might be able to present standing as a Loyalty Choice Reward, Jamie observes that if somebody is inside 5,000 Loyalty Points of reaching their subsequent standing, she’d welcome the flexibility to switch extra Loyalty Points to them.
Related: How (and why) you need to earn transferable factors in 2023
Boost Loyalty Points alternatives on lackluster incomes applications
Finally, when American launched Loyalty Points, the airline gave its members a laundry checklist of how to earn them. These embody AA Cruises, AA Vacations, AAdvantage Dining and SimplyMiles.
Last 12 months, I earned over 8,000 miles and Loyalty Points with SimplyMiles (a portal that allows you to earn miles and Loyalty Points when buying in-store and on-line) largely as a consequence of its beneficiant Uber and Uber Eats promotions. But this system hasn’t supplied the identical advantageous incomes alternatives it supplied final 12 months. Most TPG staffers have solely obtained presents for second-tier retailers and lackluster incomes charges.
Similarly, the general perspective is that incomes charges ought to be higher on its cruise, trip and eating portals.
For reference, Delta Air Lines lately enhanced incomes charges and redemption values in its Delta Vacations portal.
As Clint instructed me, “I’d love to see earnings like we saw when Loyalty Points first rolled out.”
Related: How to e-book a cruise utilizing factors and miles
American Airlines’ Loyalty Points program has misplaced its attraction for a lot of members as a consequence of slashed incomes charges, restricted alternatives and inconsistencies in crediting factors. To improve this system and regain enthusiasm, American ought to look arduous at discovering methods to raised drive worth for its members.
There’s an actual alternative right here with the continuing frustration from Delta vacationers over how the service will change its elite standing qualification metrics in 2024. By addressing these points, American Airlines can renew loyalty, improve the general member expertise and regain the belief and enthusiasm of its loyal prospects — all whereas capturing vacationers who’re instantly available in the market for a brand new main airline.