Last year when the e-Upgrade program was announced I was somewhat outraged and betrayed. Twelve months later, the program mostly worked out in my favour (I say that as an SE who only had to sit in Y when he was on a single cabin plane). Yesterday when I read about the fuel surcharge situation I had the same feelings of outrage and betrayal. Now that I've had 12 sober hours to consider the changes, I'm starting to wonder if things in the future might be better (I say that as an SE with almost a million AE miles in his account). Here's how I'm currently formulating the thoughts. With the 2011 Top Tier program certain changes, like the minimum number of AC segments and/or miles, were implemented in an attempt to focus on those who are truly loyal to AC. I embrace this change and wouldn't consider it to be bad if the thresholds were raised. It exists to eliminate those that credited miles to AE only to get lounge access and/or other perks without actually funneling any revenue to AC. This is both good for me (less people in the lounge) and good for AC (less *A lounge access fees to pay with no revenue gained). This spring AE changed the reward redemption chart. People were up in arms that a "mini-RTW" was going to cost 50% more (among other changes they didn't like). While it certainly reduced the number of "mini-RTW's" that I could book, I didn't think it was all that bad of a change. The preachers to the "do-anything-to-fly-at-the-pointy-end" crowd (the yahoos over at upgrd.com come to mind) decided to proclaim that dumping miles to AE was no longer the way to go. As an AC loyalist (I'm not at fan-boi level though), this was good for me. It meant that in the next year I'd see less people redeeming AE "mini-RTWs" which would open up seats for me to make use of. Granted, the yahoos and their minions will find another way, but just maybe it would filter out a few who thought the new way was too hard. I think yesterday's "announcement" of YQ charges will have a similar effect as the award chart changes. People are up in arms and seeing no benefit to the program now. Those that were using it as a tool to easily get cheap flights without the need for loyalty will move on to the next easy-to-game FF plan. They are leeches; don't let the door hit you on the ass on the way out. Most AE members will continue to redeem for non-premium cabin travel on AC so they won't notice the change too much. Those that are heavily invested in AE and are knowledgeable about their redemption options will get split into two groups; those who want to burn their miles at as low a cost as possible, and those that want to burn their miles. The first group will scrounge around and find the airlines that aren't having YQ charged and book their rewards on them so that they can continue to say things like "I flew F to <blah airport code>. The second group will book whatever airline, regardless of YQ, because it's about experience, not bragging rights. Between the departure of those who think the program is too costly (and not easy enough to game) and those that will only book premium cabin on non-YQ charging flights, there will be a decline in premium cabin redemption on great airlines such as LH and TG. I know that AE redemptions essentially all come from the same pool as other FF programs, so there will still be competition for availability, but there might be a little bit less due to people getting out of the game and/or changing programs and getting to the point of being able to redeem again. Possibly one of the biggest benefits that nobody has mentioned in all of these changes is that a reduced number of AE members will likely mean a reduced call center volume which could mean a shorter wait time. Okay, it's a stretch, but you can't deny that there has to be a correlation between the number of members and the daily call total. Anyways, I'm still not 100% sure if the YQ changes are going to see some of the same benefits long-term as the other changes have. I'm hoping they do. Maybe the leeches will all head to a different pond.