Free upgrades under 500 miles for elites?

Discussion in 'American Airlines | AAdvantage' started by foxberg, Dec 22, 2014.  |  Print Topic

  1. foxberg

    foxberg Gold Member

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    I had a conversation with an AA rep over the phone a couple of weeks ago. And we were talking about stickers. One thing she mentioned is that for travel under 500 miles I won't be charged stickers next year. I did mention I was gonna be PL in 2015. Have any of you heard about this? Is it only for PL and EXP? Or was it always like this for any elite?
     
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  2. Max M

    Max M Gold Member

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    Yup, sure have.

    Scroll down the page, and click on "upgrades":

    http://www.aa.com/i18n/AAdvantage/AAdvantage2015/index.jsp?locale=en_US

    This hasn't always been the case and will be new to AA in 2015; it's an attempt to kowtow to US' Elites, since US doesn't do 500 milers/"stickers".

    Prior to 2015, only EXP's got UDU's.

    Once the pools of US Elites and AA Elites eventually become AA Elites, the elite pool will become even larger, and it will be more difficult for the lowest tier elites of both programs to get upgrades due increased numbers of mid-tier, and top-tier elties.
     
  3. newbluesea
    Original Member

    newbluesea Gold Member

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    Not sure AA is making any sort attempt to "kowtow" to US Elites. In addition the total number of elites may in fact increase ( but a percentage were elites in both programs) however in addition the total number of flights in the system will also increase so I am not sure at this juncture how you could come to the apparent certain conclusion that lower level are going to be more difficult to obtain.

    Personally I see the change as a first step in perhaps a fully automated system and for short routes not requiring an upgrade instrument (sticker) the system will request it automatically as opposed to the previous necessary user selection.
    However as in most cases one hand gives and the other takes away with the new rules the 49miles leeway on the stickers are going away. For example TPA/ORD 1016 miles in the past required two stickers will now need three under the change.
     
  4. mattsteg
    Original Member

    mattsteg Gold Member

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    US has an extensive network up and down the east coast of sub-500 mile flights served by equipment with first class. AA in comparison has significantly fewer such routes. I expect that this is a combination of 500-miler usage being a bit light on these routes due to the upgrade being less desirable in a rationed environment, plus a desire to not piss off US's east-coast segment flyers used to complimentary upgrades.

    There will be some inflation at the upper ranks as people's flying activity combines, primarily from people whose flying patterns were not fully served by either airline (and I would be one of these as I need coverage in the SE, SW, and Texas - especially flying out of a competitor fortress neither airline was viable as more than a secondary option alone, but with the combined routemap I can use AA a lot more. There's likely going to be some increase in elite proportion due to ability to more effectively concentrate flying on the new AA vs. spreading it around.
     
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  5. vickers

    vickers Gold Member

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  6. Max M

    Max M Gold Member

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    As mattsteg said, AA doesn't want to piss off US' elites.

    US elites were used to free UDU's, whereas AA elites [except for EXP's] had to buy/earn 500 milers/"stickers".

    Again, as mattsteg said, In the Northeast US, where the bulk of the "new" AA flights will likely be flown by former US elites, the US policy of UDU's will still apply to many short hops, thus appeasing them-- not much of a change for US elites on those routes.

    To current AA Gold's and Platinums, not having to use 500 milers/stickers is a nice, legitimate enhancement.

    I'm sure that there are plenty of US elites that will be pissed for having to pay/earn certificates on flights of 500 miles or more, but still allowing US Elites some free upgrades proves that Doug & Co in regards to the new upgrade policy compromised slightly in favor of US elites.

    Prior to AA's announcement of handling upgrades for elites in 2015 and beyond, I was surprised that AA didn't just stick to the 500 milers, considering most Gold's and Platinum's have to buy 500 milers, considering only 4 are earned for every 10,000 actual miles flown.

    AA could have made some serious dough with selling 500 milers to a larger mid-tier and low tier elite pool, but that wasn't the decision.

    Thus, I stick by my original phrase of kowtowing to US' Elites.
     
  7. newbluesea
    Original Member

    newbluesea Gold Member

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    Well good for you, I would never deny ones right to an opinion:)
    Most non-EXPs I know cannot be bothered to upgrade flights shorter than 500 miles anyway so yes that is a nice improvement for AA
    flyers but you think an airline (or most businesses) is going do anything to appease a certain sector of their customers without some other underlying motive on routes where they will become a fairly dominant carrier the more power to you.:)
     

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