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

Sept. 01, 2021
3 min read
Some of American’s new elite perks are so popular that they’re selling out
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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.

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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  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
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Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • 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 Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases