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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard
I’ve said all along that I didn’t think American would simply copy what United and Delta are doing in terms of moving to a revenue-based frequent flyer program. American was the first frequent flyer program and they’ve got a top-notch team, so I think they’re watching closely as flyers react to what I perceive as many negative changes over at United and Delta.
Just this past weekend we answered the question of a TPG reader asking if they should switch from Delta to American and we got tons of feedback on Facebook, blog comments and email that many TPG readers have switched to American and couldn’t be happier. While no program is perfect for everyone, I think American is taking an interesting approach with the introduction of their premium class promotion in December where you can earn up to 12,000 bonus miles per leg and today American announced a Double Elite Qualifying Point Promotion. By doing this, American is rewarding top tier customers, while not completely cutting back on leisure and discount fare customers.
This promotion is clearly another way to entice people to book those expensive fares, though as much as I am an American Airlines fan (and Executive Platinum), I actually detest the EQP system for a couple reasons:
1) I spend enough to get EQMs on my AAdvantage Aviator Silver and Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard cards, though they’re worthless if I qualify on points since you can only qualify on either EQPs or EQMs. This promotion means nothing to those who qualify on the latter.
2) I like using my hard earned EVIPs (systemwide upgrades) from achieving Executive Platinum and they’re most valuable on upgrading cheap economy fares to business class, like I’m doing later this week on a NY to Sao Paulo trip. However, cheap economy fares are .5 points per mile, so you’re penalized for earning those upgrade certificates.
3) It is confusing. Not knowing whether you’ll qualify on EQPs or EQMs makes it hard to plan for the year, including whether to hit the spend requirements on the credit cards.
This promotion will also water down the elite ranks with those who otherwise wouldn’t have made Executive Platinum, so I can see a lot of people (myself included) who make Executive Platinum the “hard way” annoyed at new ranks of top tier elites- especially since all US Airways Chairmen Elite members became Executive Platinum just a couple weeks ago.
Promotions like these that reward premium flyers are still better than going to completely revenue based programs. While I don’t see a huge deal with revenue based mileage earning (I may actually benefit from it because I buy last minute airfare often on short routes), they worry me because the next logical step is revenue-based “dynamic” award pricing- pegging the value of redemptions to the cost of the ticket, which would be the death knell of aspirational frequent flyer programs.
However, until then, I’m going to support the programs that allow me to earn valuable miles and travel the world in style like flying JAL First Class to Tokyo, Emirates First from Dubai and Lufthansa First from Munich – three amazing flights, all for an out of pocket total of $426.07.
With some great bonus categories, the American Express Gold Card has a lot going for it. The card offers 4x points at US restaurants, at US supermarkets (up to $25,000; then 1x), and 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or through amextravel.com. It is currently offering a welcome bonus of 35,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 in the first three months.
- Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $2,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months.
- Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. restaurants. Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X).
- Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
- Earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with The Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Shake Shack, and Ruth's Chris Steak House. This is an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
- $100 Airline Fee Credit: up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year for incidental fees at one selected qualifying airline.
- Choose to carry a balance with interest on eligible charges of $100 or more.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- Annual Fee is $250.
- Terms apply.
- See Rates & Fees