Update on the American Airlines Elite Status Fast Track Promo – It Was Targeted But Should Be Honored

Aug 16, 2013

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Earlier this week, American Airlines posted what looked like a public promotion for fast-track elite status where where non-elites can earn Gold, Platinum or Executive Platinum status faster and keep it through February 28, 2015. To qualify, you only had to fly the following amount of miles:

American Airlines Elite Fast Track Table
American Airlines Elite Fast Track Table
  • Gold: 6,000 elite-qualifying miles
  • Platinum: 12,000 elite-qualifying miles
  • Executive Platinum: 30,000 elite-qualifying miles

It looked like the promotion was open to all non-elites since the airline originally posted it on its LinkedIn page, and that to apply, all you need to do was register by 11:59 p.m. (CT) on August 27, 2013, using promotion code H3TLI, then reach the mileage thresholds by flying on American or select airlines between September 1, 2013, and December 31, 2013.

Well, a lot of people hopped on the offer and got confirmation that they had been enrolled, but within hours, the promo page had been taken down by American Airlines with no explanation, making it look as though the promotion had originally been targeted but made public by accident. That made even the folks who were able to register anxious that they would not, in fact, be eligible to take the challenge.

The terms of the promo, it turns out, were too good to be true.
The terms of the promo, it turns out, were too good to be true.

In response to the uproar – especially by American’s own elites on the generous terms of the promotion that excluded them, an American Airlines representative posted the following message on the American Airlines Executive Platinum Fliers Group page (emphasis mine):

Hi Everybody – yesterday was quite a day and I greatly appreciate your feedback in all forms and fashion! As you know, from time to time we run highly targeted offers to attract high-value customers. These offers are not intended to be publicly available or dilutive to the benefits that you have earned through your loyal flying on American. We believed the offer we launched yesterday to be significantly more targeted than it was, and as such took the offer down very quickly. The eligible customers who received the offer, registered for the promotion prior to its closing and achieve the mileage requirements during the stated time period will still receive status. We apologize for any confusion and appreciate your continued loyalty.

So there are a few things to take from this. First, that it was indeed a targeted offer that was made public unintentionally. Second, that if you did manage to register before it was taken down that American says it will honor the promotion and award you with elite status if you earn those elite-qualifying miles. That’s good news for those of you who were able to sign up for it, but bad news if you weren’t targeted and weren’t able to register before it was pulled. The one sticking point may be the use of the phrase “eligible customers.” Presumably that means that if you were a non-elite and registered before the promo was pulled, but the message also says “who received the offer” which is a bit vague since it was public, so if you did register but are not sure if you were properly enrolled, you should call American Airlines customer service and see if you are indeed registered for it.

I’ve asked my contacts at American Airlines to explain what happened, but was just told the same thing in the exact same terms as the Facebook wall message. I am still trying to get answers as to who was targeted and why since, if you would have been targeted, but might not have signed up in time, then you could maybe still make your case to the airline that you should be considered for this promotion. I was told that since the promotion was not meant to alienate flyers, that if you were able to sign up and you met the criteria (ie you are a non-elite and can complete the flight requirements) then it will be honored for you whether you were one of the intended recipients or not.

On the other hand, I am wondering if any of you were able to register for the offer but later had it rescinded or were told you were ineligible. If that happened to you, share your circumstances in a comment below. For those of you who were able to register, good luck with completing the flight requirements and I hope you make it to elite status.

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