American Airlines Announces 2012 Elite Rewards

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Many airlines offer special perks for going above and beyond elite stats requirements. They do this to incentivize flyers to stay loyal, even after they achieve the highest echelons of elite status. For example, some people may try to achieve status in another alliance once they hit top tier, which can be a smart way to diversify one’s mileage and travel strategy.

American Airlines has historically offered a program called Elite Rewards and they use elite qualifying points, not miles as qualification. This makes it much harder to achieve, especially since they ran the double EQM promotion in January, but elite qualifying points were not doubled. For example, I currently have 94,000 Elite Qualifying Miles, but only 38,500 Elite Qualifying Points.

The difference between an elite qualifying mile and point is that almost all fares earn 100% EQMs, however deeply discounted coach only earns .5 points per mile flown, normal coach 1 point per mile flown and full-fare/business/first is 1.5 points per mile. While most airlines just give an EQM bonus for full fare/business, AA has this separate point system, which I personally think is confusing.

AA Elite Qualifying Point Chart

If you can get to 125,000 EQPs by December 31, 2012, there are some good rewards. You can choose two of the following:

  • 35,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles
  • Two (2) one-way Systemwide Upgrades
  • One (1) one-year Admirals Club® membership (may be chosen only once)
  • One (1) AA.com® 20% Discount Promotion Code for future systemwide travel on American^
  • Gift of AAdvantage Gold® status for a friend

I’d probably choose the 35,000 miles and two one-way upgrades, but it’s highly unlikely I will be hitting 125,000 EQPs this year unless someone wants to start paying me to fly in AA first class all around the world!

The airline is also offering rewards to Platinum and Gold elite members who go above the earning thresholds but don’t quite make it into the next tier.

Platinum members who earn between 75,000-99,999 EQP’s can select from the following:

  • 25,000 AAdvantage bonus miles
  • Eight (8) 500-mile electronic upgrades
  • Four (4) Admirals Club one-day passes
  • Gift of Gold status for a friend
  • One (1) 15%  AA.com discount code for future systemwide travel on American Airlines

Gold members who fly between 40,000-49,999 get to choose from:

  • 15,000 bonus AAdvantage miles
  • Four (4) 500-mile electronic upgrades
  • Two (2) Admirals Club one-day passes
  • One (1) 10%  AA.com discount code for future systemwide travel on American Airlines

To participate in Elite Rewards, you must login and register prior to December 15, 2012 using promotion code ELTA2.

Why Not Rollover?
Other airlines offer similar incentives to elite flyers who don’t quite reach the next level of status. For instance, Delta lets elite flyers select mileage bonuses and gifting Medallion status to a friend if they surpass their elite thresholds by significant amounts. Far more valuable in my opinion, however, is Delta’s option to rollover the miles you have above the highest threshold of elite status you reach for a year into your qualifying activity for the next year. So in my case, rather than making a last-minute dash to maintain Diamond status last year, I rolled over 33,593 miles into 2012 so I’m well on my way to higher-level elite status again.

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