American tweaks top loyalty status qualification, privileges

American Airlines jet
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American Airlines will increase the qualification threshold for its top loyalty status beginning on Jan. 1.

Under the new rules, American AAdvantage members will need to earn 15,000 elite qualifying dollars, coupled with either 120,000 elite qualifying miles or 120 elite qualifying segments, in order to achieve the Executive Platinum status.

Through this year, 12,000 elite qualifying dollars, coupled with meeting the miles or segments threshold, was enough to qualify for Executive Platinum status.

Elite qualifying miles are miles that flyers earn through travel on American and partner airlines, as well as through select credit cards. They differ from redeemable miles, which AAdvantage members earn more broadly through American-branded credit cards as well as through flying.

By raising the qualifying dollars threshold to 15,000, American moves in-line with the rules United and Delta use for their top loyalty status qualification.

Along with changing qualification rules, American has announced more generous upgrade privileges for Executive Platinum members as they achieve 150,000, 200,000 and 250,000 elite qualifying miles in a year.

More broadly, American will also make changes to how elite qualifying miles are earned by all AAdvantage members.

Beginning next year, flights with American's joint venture partners British Airways, Iberia, Finnair and Japan Airlines will award qualifying miles at the same rate as American flights. Conversely, the carrier said that it will reduce the elite qualifying miles it rewards on economy tickets coded "y" from 1.5 qualifying miles per mile traveled to one qualifying mile per mile traveled.

"[W]e want to ensure that our benefits are aligned with the value of the ticket purchased," the carrier said.

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