Check your AAdvantage account now: American Airlines has a gift for you

Dec 2, 2020

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It’s been a busy few weeks at American Airlines’ Fort Worth headquarters.

The carrier has recently unveiled a slew of customer-friendly updates to its policies and AAdvantage loyalty program, including improving the basic economy experience, eliminating most change fees and lowering the elite qualifying thresholds for 2021.

These changes combined to help AA earn the TPG’s Editors’ Choice Award for loyalty innovation this year.

Well, AA’s not done yet. After announcing its latest promotion yesterday, it’s now live — though sadly, the actual gifts are quite underwhelming.

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Every member gets a free gift

Starting today and running through Dec. 16, every AAdvantage member will receive a gift. The freebies include AAdvantage miles, a complimentary Main Cabin Extra seat, an Admirals Club one-day pass and more. The gifts are personalized to your account — they are based on a number of factors, including your elite tier and how frequently you’ve traveled this year.

Everyone gets a gift — even non-elites — though the gifts do get better as you climb the (elite status) ladder. For instance, one of the top presents — a domestic upgrade certificate — is reserved for select elite members.

To receive your gift, simply login to your account on AA.com or through the mobile app. Click on the “Promotions” tab to reveal your offer.

Click on Promotions Tab
(Image courtesy of American Airlines)

Register for the promotion by clicking the blue Register button underneath the promotion’s title. You can then view your gift and your 2021 promotion (more on that soon). All awards will be deposited to your account within 24 hours of registering.

Viewing Gift Promotion
(Image courtesy of American Airlines)

The best part? Even those who aren’t yet AAdvantange members can take part in this holiday promo. Simply join the program by Dec. 16 to receive a free gift.

Here’s what to expect

American is offering a large variety of gifts to members — here’s a look at what was offered to TPG staff members.

The overwhelming majority of TPG staffers without elite status were awarded 100 miles as a gift. That said, one staffer received a single Preferred Seat upgrade certificate and double miles on a future Hertz booking. Admittedly, these are both pretty underwhelming gifts but are still nice to have — especially if you’re looking at expiring AAdvantage miles in the near future.

TPG staffers with Gold status saw varying gifts. One received two 500-mile upgrade certificates and a one-class car upgrade with Avis. Another received a Main Cabin Extra seat upgrade certificate. This shows just how varying these gifts are.

On the Executive Platinum side, a staffer received 200 miles, another got 250 miles and another was gifted 1,000 bonus Million Miler miles.

Oddly enough, one staffer with Executive Platinum status received an undisclosed number of 500-mile upgrades (in addition to an Avis upgrade). This is a strange move on American’s part, and we’re not sure if it was done on purpose or in error. A day later, four upgrades were added to the staffer’s account.

Undisclosed Upgrade Gift
(Image courtesy of American Airlines)

Miles will be deposited right into your AAdvantage account balance. Certificates, however, are viewable on the Wallet screen underneath the “Coupons” header.

Preferred Seat Coupon
(Image courtesy of American Airlines)

Promotions to fly American in 2021

In addition to your freebie, you’ll also unlock a promotional offer to encourage you to take to the skies in early 2021.

These personalized offers vary by account. These are “book and fly” promos —  you’ll receive bonus miles or possibly another gift depending on how many segments you book and fly between Jan. 1, 2021, and Feb. 28, 2021.

You can view your 2021 offer underneath the 2020 gift on the promotion screen.

This level of customization is new for American. Though the carrier has occasionally offered promotional bonuses, this is one of the most personalized promos the carrier has released in recent years. In a way, it’s similar to United’s Mile Play, which offers targeted bonuses after completing certain tasks.

A look at 2021 promotions

So, what’s up for grabs in 2021?

One TPG staff member without elite status received a 2021 offer of a Main Cabin Extra certificate after taking two flights between Jan. 1, 2021, and Feb. 28, 2021. Alternatively, another TPGer with no status was offered double miles after booking and taking two qualifying flights.

Main Cabin Extra Promo
(Image courtesy of American Airlines)

On the other hand, a TPG staffer with Gold status got an offer of two 500-mile upgrades after taking four qualifying flights during the promotional period.

Offers get a little more interesting for members with top-tier elite status. One TPGer with Executive Platinum status was offered four 500-mile upgrade certificates and 2,000 bonus miles after taking four premium-cabin flights before the end of February. Another was offered a 100% mileage bonus on four premium cabin flights.

Finally, another staffer with Executive Platinum status was offered 10,000 bonus Million Miler miles after flying four or more premium cabin flights. This shows us that these gifts vary widely, even amongst the same status level.

Interestingly enough, a Concierge Key reader was offered the ability to gift AAdvantage Gold status to another member after completing six flights in premium economy, business or first class. This is a particularly lucrative, offer as TPG values AAdvantage Gold status at $930 annually.

As the industry looks to recover from the pandemic, we expect to see more promotions that are geared to get flyers back in the skies.

There’s even a sweepstakes

Upon receiving your free gift, you’ll also be entered into a sweepstakes to win 500,000 AAdvantage miles, plus a vacation package.

Five winners will receive each receive half a million miles plus an all-inclusive, four-night stay for two guests at any Hyatt Ziva or Hyatt Zilara property. In addition to the miles, the grand-prize winner will receive a three-night stay for up to four guests at the Universal Orlando Resort, including park passes.

The sweepstakes is open to all AAdvantage members who are U.S. residents, aged 18 or older. You’ll automatically be entered to win upon claiming your free gift.

Those 500,000 miles would be worth $7,000 according to TPG valuations. That’s more than enough for seven one-way flights in Qatar’s award-winning Qsuite business class from New York to Doha.

Bottom line

It’s great to see American offer a lucrative new promotion around the holidays. However, despite a lot of hype surrounding these gifts, many of them fall flat. It’s understandable that the carrier isn’t in a position to give every member enough miles for a round-trip flight, but this is far from a truly valuable offer.

Regardless, it still makes sense to log into your account to see what free gift you’ve been sent and register for your targeted promotion.

And you never know if you might take home 500,000 miles as a sweepstakes winner.

Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy

Additional reporting by Zach Griff

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