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Meet the woman now in charge of American's AAdvantage frequent flyer program

March 11 2022
3 min read
Meet the woman now in charge of American's AAdvantage frequent flyer program
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American Airlines has a new head of its frequent flyer program.

Longtime executive Julie Rath was appointed to a new role as vice president of customer experience, loyalty and marketing.

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Rath previously served as vice president of customer experience and reservations, a role in which she oversaw various parts of the airport and customer experience. Among other functions, she oversaw the teams that help rebook passengers after operational issues like weather disruptions. She also helmed the departments in charge of handling checked baggage.

AAdvantage has been without an executive head since the previous president, Rick Elieson, resigned in September after nearly 30 years at the airline.

AAdvantage was led in the interim by Heather Samp, the loyalty program's managing director, who will continue in the role and report to Rath.

While Elieson focused solely on AAdvantage in that role, Rath's responsibilities also include marketing and various aspects of customer experience that she carries over from her previous role. She will report to Alison Taylor, American's chief customer officer.

"These remarkable leaders are each strategic, enthusiastic champions of the customer experience," Taylor said in a press release. "We look forward to the great strides we will continue to make in providing an easy, consistent experience for our customers under their leadership."

Read more: 7 elite status qualification changes TPG staffers hope to see in 2022

Rath has about three decades of airline industry experience. She began her career with Northwest Airlines in 1991, continuing with Delta Air Lines after its merger with Northwest, according to LinkedIn. She joined American in 2016 as the managing director of customer experience and customer service recovery.

Rath's appointment comes several weeks into an overhaul of the AAdvantage frequent flyer status program.

Under the new program, a new metric called "Loyalty Points" replaces the previous elite status benchmarks, Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) and Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQDs). Members earn Loyalty Points when they earn AAdvantage miles — one mile earned equals one Loyalty Point. While the requirements for each status tier are steep, making it more difficult to earn status through flying alone. On the upside, however, almost all mileage-earning activity counts towards status now, including credit card spend and the use of shopping portals.

Featured photo by Photo by David Slotnick/The Points Guy
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
3 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

6X6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
4X4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
2X2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Intro Offer
    Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.

    Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 points
    75,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $125
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

The Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex is a stacked card with a rewards rate that will help you earn bonus points on everyday and business-related purchases. You'll earn 15 elite night credits each calendar year, and receive automatic Gold elite status. Finally, the free night award certificate with a redemption level of 35,000 points or less can get you hundreds of dollars in potential value each year.

Pros

  • 6x points on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program
  • 4x points at restaurants worldwide, U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. shipping
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases
  • Earn a free-night award each card renewal month (up to 35,000 points)
  • Receive 15 elite night credits to jump-start status
  • Transfer Marriott points to 40+ airlines

Cons

  • Airline points transfer ratios are poor
  • Must spend $60,000 in a year for second free-night award
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.
  • 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
  • 4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a 7% discount off standard rates for reservations of standard guest rooms at hotels that participate in the Marriott Bonvoy program when you book directly. Terms and Conditions Apply.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy® points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status with your Card.
  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees