Some of American’s new elite perks are so popular that they’re selling out

Sep 1, 2021

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Qualifying for top-tier American Airlines elite status this year? Well, you might find yourself with one fewer perk to choose from.

Back in December, American unveiled a new catalog of rewards for its Platinum Pro and Executive Platinum members to pick from when qualifying for status via the adjusted 2021 requirements. That replaced the four systemwide upgrades that top-tier elites previously received by default.

The catalog includes some valuable travel rewards, including upgrades, bonus miles and trip discounts, along with some more altruistic options, like carbon emissions offsets or a $200 donation to a partner charity.

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There’s also a lifestyle reward — a Bang & Olufsen audio product — but not for much longer. This option is now available “while supplies last.”

As for why this option is being phased out, an American Airlines spokesperson explained to TPG that it’s been extremely popular, and supplies are limited.

In a statement confirming the move, American said:

We have been pleased to offer our AAdvantage members who qualify for Elite Choice Rewards the option to choose a Bang & Olufsen product as one of their rewards in 2021. The product has been extremely popular with our members and unfortunately, our supplies are limited. We continue to offer several options including Admirals Club access, bonus miles and a $200 flight discount, as part of our rewards menu.

Turns out, despite the so-called supply constraints, only the first of the three products that American offers its top-tier elites is sold out on the Bang & Olufsen website as of press time.

Of course, American could turn to Amazon to fulfill its Executive Platinum members’ wishes, but that’d likely cost the airline some serious cash. After all, American replaced Bose with Bang & Olufsen for its inflight noise-canceling headphones back in 2019, so it’s likely that the carrier was receiving a healthy discount on the merchandise for its elite members.

American’s premium-cabin headphones by Bang & Olufsen (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Perhaps more interesting is that AA’s seeing increased demand for its non-travel perks. Maybe it’s because many business travelers — who’ve historically overrepresented as top-tier elites — don’t have concrete plans to use those travel perks in the coming year and are instead choosing a pair of headphones.

Here at TPG, we’d usually recommend selecting one of the more valuable travel perks — like the systemwide upgrades or bonus miles — even if you don’t think you’ll use them immediately.

American lets you choose your elite perks earned this year until Dec. 30, 2022, so it could make sense to wait until then to confirm a travel-focused selection, both to maximize the window in which you can use it and for the pandemic to hopefully subside.

Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy

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