American Airlines Discontinuing Soft Landings for AAdvantage Members
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Historically some airlines, like American, have given “soft landings” to elite members who didn’t quite re-qualify for their elite status. Instead of dropping these elites to the cold hard world of non-elites, they’d drop them down a level to hopefully keep them engaged and wanted to keep their business with the airline and earn back their lost status. Sometimes they’d even be able to buy back the higher status, which could be seen as a win win for the airline- keep the customer loyal and draw in new revenue instead of losing them to a competitor.
American has also been known to bump members up if they were short a few miles to their earned status, so if you flew 99,000 EQM’s instead of the required 100,000 EQM’s for Executive Platinum status, American would give you the higher status.
But not anymore!
According to this Flyertalk post, American sent out an email to some AAdvantage members saying they would no longer would be offering soft landings.
Here’s what the email says:
“Can you believe we’re almost halfway through 2013? Hopefully you’re on track to achieve your goal of elite status qualification for 2014. To check how many elite qualifying points, miles and segments you’ve earned thus far, simply log in to your account.
Previously, based on your prior year status, you benefited from an exception to receive a higher level of elite status than you actually earned. Next year, regardless of your current status, your elite status for the next membership year will be based on your elite qualifying activity in 2013.
We invite you to achieve the highest level you can to earn the greatest benefits. You can also find details about qualifying for elite status here.”
Why The Change of Heart?
American has historically been really generous with EQM promotions, running several double EQM promos and even enhancing their Elite Rewards program to reward frequent flyers who go above and beyond the basic elite requirements.
Airlines are copycats and I’m sure American looked around and realized that their major competition was no longer continuing this generous policy. Delta stopped doing soft landings after they launched Rollover Medallion Qualifying Miles in 2010. United rarely does soft landings, however they will offer MileagePlus members the chance to buy back their status if they were close and didn’t quite make it.
While this is bad news for those who may be banking on a soft landing, I think it is a wakeup call that you can’t expect the airline programs to continue their generous ways- especially as we see more consolidation and less competition. In the end these are loyalty programs, so if you aren’t loyal enough to maintain your status- do you really deserve it?
WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.