Reported (Unconfirmed) 2016 changes to AAdvantage

Discussion in 'American Airlines | AAdvantage' started by zpaul, Nov 7, 2015.  |  Print Topic

  1. zpaul

    zpaul Gold Member

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    Surprised this isn't here yet, so I thought I'd get the conversation started. I'm in class so I haven't memorized/analyzed everything, so here's a start, and others can add to it if necessary. I've I'm misinterpreted something, let me know and I'll edit/update.

    As reported on multiple other boards/blogs, AA is training agents on changes to the program, although there has been no official announcement. THIS HAS NOT BEEN CONFIRMED BY AA, so treat this as what it is for now - unconfirmed information from what is considered to be a very reliable source in this community.

    ELITE STATUS QUALIFICATION (Probable implementation Jan 2016)

    No revenue requirement (probably in 2017).

    Status qualification thresholds stay the same for all levels (EQMs and EQSs). EQPs are gone.

    Full fare F/J = 3.0 EQMs
    Discount A/I = 2.0 EQMs
    Full fare Y = 1.5 EQMs
    Discount Y = 1.0 EQM

    For people flying in paid premium cabins earning status will be faster, both on A/I fares and F/J - you can qualify for EXP by flying between 34,000 (F/J) and 50,000 (A/I) BIS miles. Full fare Y earns 1.5 EQM, so 67,000 BIS miles to qualify, and discount Y will need the full 100,000 BIS miles.

    EXP earns 4 SWUs, with opportunities to earn more (undefined) with additional EQMs,

    4 500-miles upgrades are earned at 12,500 EQM miles.

    As of now it appears that upgrades still will be able to be applied to all economy fares.

    REDEEMABLE MILES ACCRUAL (Probable implementation later in 2016)

    No status = 5 miles per $1
    Gold = 7 miles per $1
    Platinum = 8 miles per $1
    Exec Plat = 11 miles per $1
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2015
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  2. Pizzaman
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    Yeah, I meant to post it last night after I got home from my flight. But, well, tired. :)

    The 4 SWU thing is probably the only thing I view truly negatively amongst the changes. I don't buy a heavy mix of premium fares, so I won't benefit much from the new structure of bonus EQMs. But, since I've never qualified solely on EQPs, this is likely to have at least a little benefit for me.

    I don't stand to be a big loser in the RDM scheme. I've earned less RDMs with UA since they adopted the same scheme, but not materially less. Besides, most of my mileage earning still come from credit cards.

    I still would have liked to see AA do something different with RDMs, but it is a "me too" industry. Sigh.
     
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  3. zpaul

    zpaul Gold Member

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    I have almost always qualified on EQPs, so I'm quite pleased with the EQM changes. Not a fan of the reduction of SWUs, as I use them for upgrades for my partner and having fewer will create some intra-family friction.

    Never cared much about the RDMs except for upgrades when I'm not flying for work. I should do OK on that end.

    Overall, the most disappointing thing is that this seems to be what AA thinks of as innovative. "Innovate: make changes in something established, especially by introducing new methods, ideas, or products." I feel like every aspect of this can be found somewhere else in the industry.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2015
  4. Gtitan
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    Gtitan Gold Member

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    I believe the 12,500 miles for 500 milers is not BIS but rather EQMs. In the old days, they were one in the same, but in the new system if you are flying full fare Y or premium cabins, EQMs will be more than BIS.
     
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  5. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    These changes that are rumored to be coming to the dAArk side would gut AAdvantage to almost Skypeso-bad...

    I had held the hope that the new AA would resist the temptation to jump on the revenue-based FF bandwagon, and had even created an AAdvantage account, ready to dump MileagePlus for AA if they did stick with the legacy mileage-based FF system. However, it would make more sense to stick with UA if AA implements the rumored changes because MileagePlus would then seem to me to be like the least “evil” of all, in addition to being the devil that I already know. Even after UA “gutted” their partner award charts, the redemption of UA miles for *A award travel has remained among the top in the business due to the large number of partners that has continued to offer nearly limitless options. That alone would be another incentive to stick with UA...
     
  6. ahappyelite

    ahappyelite Silver Member

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    frequent flyer programs 1981-2016. Now totally worthless for 66 1/2 million? of the 67 million AA members. A fond memory of when airlines competed to be better instead of colluding to be worse. For gold elites earning is WORSE than United. No one is safe when Wall Street is unleashed- no matter your status or how much you spend you should be on notice. Which is why underneath the surface, the country is in such trouble. Remember the now manifestly criminal claim that mergers would be great for the customer? It is breathtaking how uniformly aggressive the airlines became in declaring war on the customer once they received a green light from a government they must own. Mergers are the largest consumer ripoff in U.S. History approaching tens of billions of dollars since they were unleashed.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2015
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  7. zpaul

    zpaul Gold Member

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    Thanks Gitan; updated in original post.
     
  8. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    One thing that we still know nothing about is whether or not AA would also gut their award chart(s).
     
  9. Pizzaman
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    AA would have to smash up the award charts pretty bad to be worse than what UA charges for partner flights in business class. Given, if you fly BA you have fuel surcharges. But, 140K for LH? Ugh.
     
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  10. Canadi>n
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    Canadi>n Gold Member

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    Sorry but if it wasn't for those shareholders and other Wall Street investors, you'd not be enjoying any benefits from your FF programs over the past several decades. US legacy airlines have not made much of a profit, if any profit at all, until the past two years. Someone covered all those deficits incurred, including suppliers who took haircuts as just about all of the majors went through Chapter 11, some twice, and especially employees who saw their salaries cut significantly (if they weren't laid off) and pension plans reduced to minimal status under the protections of a Washington trust. Now that rationalization has occurred in this industry, it's time for these folks to take back some of their losses, and us to give back some of the very lush perks we've enjoyed as elites. One UA VP got in trouble bemoaning the sense of entitlement elites seemed to have...well, after reading the responses to these speculated changes to the AA program, I would be in agreement with him.

    I may not like a lot of these changes, but I understand why they are being made and I see they're not as bad as they could be...as a refugee from first the decimated Aeroplan and more recently from MileagePlus, I've seen a lot worse. Face up to the reality that FF programs have changed. Airlines have pretty much found a stasis in who's flying them regularly, so they can ramp down the benefits of elite status, and rewarded loyalty.
     
  11. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Considering what's rumored they are about to do with the number of SWUs for EXPLATS, all bets must be off...
     
  12. ahappyelite

    ahappyelite Silver Member

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    Talk about Russia's corruption. Thanks to lobbyists who collapsed competition we are stuck with 4 1/2 or 5 1/2 terrible airlines in a third of a billion person continental country falling over themselves to serve a tiny sliver of people spending other people's money and increasingly foreigners sitting in seats once occupied by ordinary Americans. The industry soaks up billions in tax subsidies. Now we have airlines providing mass transit-something with small margins if competitive-making a billion dollars a quarter after publicly lying that the public would benefit. And the absolute surrender to these racketeers by the media deserves attention that I hope to focus in the future. (Almost every story written after the newest of scores and scores of airline degradations reads like a release from Airlines for Wall Street d/b/a America. Let the disentitlement begin with the taxpayer clawing back the billions it costs them to subsidize an industry that disdains them.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2015
  13. Pizzaman
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    I agree with the general premise of the programs needing to change. But, I think the Big 3 are making assumptions about their loyal customers that haven't been proven. We're going to find out if they've guessed right on how to handle the changing landscape.
     
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  14. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    That claim (in fact, much of the post) is a demonstrable fallacy. People, lots of them -- most of whom cannot afford F/J tickets -- must ultimately fly for airlines to make profits, the very and only thing that shareholders and Wall Street investors give a damn about. The rationale for benefits that airlines offer through FF programs was precisely to establish a large base of loyal flyers who would boost and ensure profits. Before the mega-mergers, when there was tougher competition for the same pool of flyers, the airlines had to try harder to earn customer loyalty, which they did by offering more and sweeter benefits. In short, you got things exactly backwards.

    Now, following a series of mega-mergers that have decimated competition, the US commercial aviation has become an oligopoly in which just 3 large domestic carriers control 80% of the market and can thus dictate the terms of service (whose quality has declined with each new merger), including the proliferation of ridiculous fees for every ancillary product that used to be and should be offered for free.

    As for your speculation that this is being done by airlines based on some sound business or economic plan, I must agree with @Pizzaman above. They have no clue one way or the other whether the changes that they are making will ultimately prove profitable. They are making them simply because they can due to the diminished competition. Whenever for-profit companies stop trying to attract and retain customers, it means that the playing field has tilted dangerously in their favor... Time for the DOJ to intervene and try to undo some of the damage that they caused by approving the mega-mergers!
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2015
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  15. socalgecko

    socalgecko Silver Member

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    If they won't break up the cable companies, why would they break up the airlines?

    Man, this is such a bummer if it proves to be true..
     
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  16. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Maybe the rumored changes were "leaked" by the dAArk side as a disinformation campaign to gauge the reaction of their loyalists in case they should change their FF program as is being rumored -- and that's the keyword, "rumored", because notice that despite the hype, AA has remained mum about it all. Supporting this view somewhat is that it does not seem like AA would be giving their members sufficient warning time to get used to the idea since the changes are supposed to be happening in February 2016, except for the migration to the revenue system, which may come later. One would think that such a wholesale transformation (read: gutting) of a program with millions of members would not be implemented for at least 6 months to a year...
     
  17. chitownflyer
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    chitownflyer Silver Member

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    I hope AA does not make the changes as have been reported. Reducing SWUs to ExPlats from 8 to 4, and then copying DL's RBS for mileage accrual removes the Aadvantage of their loyalty program. Both DL & UA have a far more generous upgrade accrual scheme for their top flyers. If AA does go RBS, then DL is the true winner by making their competition play the game on their terms, but neither UA nor AA has the hard product or operational performance of Delta.
     
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  18. eponymous_coward
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    eponymous_coward Gold Member

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    The people who really get the shaft in this scheme are AA Platinums flying Y in the 50k-99k EQM side of things. Reduced RDMs (by a lot) and bupkis in benefits, plus the inevitable chart devaluation coming. This basically is incentive to get the credit card for AA, UA and DL and fly whichever one sucks the least for your trip, for schedule, price and service, and forget about loyalty if you're in discounted Y.

    But hey, if that's what the airline knows what they want... give them what they want. As HL Mencken might say, give it to them good and hard. ;)
     
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  19. nldogbert

    nldogbert Silver Member

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    Hi, I am not actually surprised with the changes since DL and UA have implemented it and those previous rumours that flyers will start moving away from them did not prove to be true which is why I believe that these rumours surrounding the change with AAdvantage is most probably true in general.
    As a non-US based member - I do hope that I will not be impacted by the revenue based one. We already are being at the disadvantage of not enjoying all the different promotions, etc
    Based on the rumors, for me the worst devaluation is the reduction of the SWU from 8 to 4. As mentioned, sometimes this is good to be use if I travel with a companion on my own dime and want to do a SWU upgrade - this comes in useful here. I really hope that this perk for ExPlat does not get reduced. In my opinion, this does not cost much to AA especially now these days where they are cleared at the last moment - so don't see how much revenue they are losing when in the end those seats will go out empty.
    On the other hand, am not very surprised that these changes are happening - with how all the US based and to a certain extend worldwide FF program going this direction.
    My only hope is that the cuts are not too drastic and at least give notice early!
    My 2 cents.

    Cheers!
     
  20. newbluesea
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    newbluesea Gold Member

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    Not quite sure what you mean by "Both DL & UA have a far more generous upgrade accrual scheme for their top flyers . " ..
    A couple things in that regard which completely contradicts that statement.
    a) DL does not permit upgrades from all fare classes.
    b) DL does not allow elites to upgrade more than one pax on a itinerary and on more than one flight/segment using upgradeable instruments.
    c) Even though the cut to four SWU from eight are one of the rumored AA changes it is also rumored that a procedure will be in place automatically (as opposed to previously)who fly more to earn more SWUIs. Is not that rewarding their "top flyers" rather that the two MR to China $3000 EXPS?
    d) DL might have the edge operationally but hard product?? there is no C class seat and cabin equivalent to AAs 77Ws (or even the ex US 333s) Up until late last year DL was still flying cradle C seats transatlantic.
    e) When last have you been able to redeem a First class award on any of DLs partners?

    Lets not jump off the deep end just yet:)
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2015
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  21. Seat6A

    Seat6A Silver Member

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    If the SWUs are reduced my business travel will start going to whichever airline has the best schedule. I have been loyal to AA because they fly where i want to vacation But overall, i will fly less personally if they drop the SWUs.

    "Here's your eight cents change, sir..."
     
  22. Pizzaman
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    I don't see DOJ wading in deeply. I do see fuel prices going up at some point, causing some consternation for those that didn't prepare correctly for such eventualities. That's about the time they probably start increasing incentives to engender more loyalty again. Not too dissimilar to the hotel chains running less (and less lucrative) promos.
     
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  23. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    But AA is still flying the bulk of its long-haul C seats as angle-flat at best. I'll take the DL or UA hard product - on average - over AA in C right now. AA will eventually catch up, though that lawsuit and firing the seat vendor isn't going to help in the retrofit timeframe. It is great if you can get one of the few retrofit planes but the majority are much, much worse than the competition.
     
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  24. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Now that AA has jumped in and done a carbon copy of DL's and UA's programs, it is absolutely clear that the US airline industry has become as tacit "collusive oligopoly" as described below. Will this spur the DOJ to finally act? Maybe not because a tacit collusive oligopoly is tough to prove...

    ____________________________________________________________________

    Collusive oligopolies
    Another key feature of oligopolistic markets is that firms may attempt to collude, rather than compete. If colluding, participants act like a monopoly and can enjoy the benefits of higher profits over the long term.

    Types of collusion
    Overt
    Overt collusion occurs when there is no attempt to hide agreements, such as the when firms form trade associations like the Association of Petrol Retailers.

    Covert
    Covert collusion occurs when firms try to hide the results of their collusion, usually to avoid detection by regulators, such as when fixing prices.

    Tacit
    Tacit collusion arises when firms act together, called acting in concert, but where there is no formal or even informal agreement. For example, it may be accepted that a particular firm is the price leader in an industry, and other firms simply follow the lead of this firm. All firms may ‘understand’ this, but no agreement or record exists to prove it. If firms do collude, and their behaviour can be proven to result in reduced competition, they are likely to be subject to regulation. In many cases, tacit collusion is difficult or impossible to prove, though regulators are becoming increasingly sophisticated in developing new methods of detection.
     
  25. Pizzaman
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    I know you're not specifically stating a percentage, but I wonder what the angle-flat percentage is right now with the new planes plus US Envoy planes (although they did inherit some horrid US 757s as well).
     
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