American Airlines hints at new rewards for its most loyal customers

Sep 4, 2020

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.

At a time when airlines are making unprecedented cuts — from in-flight service to staffing to routes and more — at least one airline is exploring ways to invest in its loyalty program.

American Airlines seems to have quietly acknowledged the importance of customer loyalty this week in a survey it sent to some AAdvantage elite travelers. Depending on how the survey goes, the airline may introduce new milestone rewards for Platinum Pro, Executive Platinum, and ConciergeKey members.

For more TPG news, deals and points and miles tips delivered each morning to your inbox, subscribe to our daily newsletter.

In the survey viewed by TPG, American asks customers about new rewards it can offer upon status qualification. For Platinum Pro members, some of the possible options include a charitable donation, an AA travel voucher, a one-time mileage redemption discount, bonus miles, systemwide upgrades, Admirals Club day passes and a one-year music and TV streaming subscription.

While American seems to value this reward around $150 to $200, the actual value you might get will depend on your personal habits. For instance, it’s possible to get more than $200 in value from 20,000 bonus miles and less value from the streaming subscription.

Related: Choosing the best credit card for American Airlines flyers

(Photo by Dynata)

Executive Platinum members would potentially be offered two to three rewards, each valued at around $250 to $300. The rewards would include the ones available to Platinum Pro members as well as a few others, such as a pair of Bang & Olufsen or Bose headphones, bonus elite qualifying miles (EQMs) and the ability to gift elite status (either Gold or Platinum).

Related: Your guide to American Airlines lifetime elite status

(Photo by Dynata)

TPG reached out to American for more information about the new benefits and received the following statement:

“The AAdvantage team is continually exploring opportunities to reward our best customers. This survey represents one such initiative that is being considered, among many, for future implementation. At this time, we do not have a set date for introducing any new Elite benefits.”

These rewards would be a great addition to the AAdvantage program, but they aren’t entirely unique. As is often the case, this move would follow in the footsteps of Delta, which already offers its top two levels of elites — Platinum and Diamond — Choice Benefits. When qualifying for these two tiers of status, members get to choose a reward, such as Regional Upgrade Certificates (RPUs), Global Upgrade Certificates (GUCs), bonus SkyMiles or the ability to gift status. Meanwhile, United introduced PointsPlus last year, a revamped system for securing upgrades.

Related: Successfully completing a status challenge: AA Executive Platinum to Delta Platinum

At the end of the survey, American also asks some questions about the value of AAdvantage miles. More specifically, the airline wants to know how customers feel about changes made in the past two years. With the introduction of web specials and removal of the legacy award search interface, there’s been an overall shift toward more dynamic pricing — again following Delta’s lead.

Bottom line

Adding milestone rewards for higher-tier elites would be a terrific addition to the AAdvantage program. Overall, these benefits shouldn’t cost the airline much but will help boost loyalty — something that will be very important when travel rebounds.

As of now, this idea is still in the conceptual stage, so there’s no timeline for when or if it will be rolled out. This isn’t the first survey American sent customers this summer either. In June, American surveyed customers on alternate forms of compensation it can offer when things go wrong.

Featured image by Chris Dong/The Points Guy.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,600

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.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 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, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 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.
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.