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AAdvantage members, bite your nails: change is coming

After a couple of years in which both United and Delta have switched to frequent flier systems based on dollars spent on fares rather than miles flown, American could be joining the parade...but we'll have to wait and see. American is planning changes for next year, but won't say yet what they are.


According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, merican Airlines president Scott Kirby told a financial analyst that changes could come in the next year. “We have a huge backlog of projects,” Kirby said. “Two big areas are the frequent flier program and doing more innovation within the frequent flier program and secondly to do more to further disaggregate the product and really move to a world where we can offer fares that compete with low cost carriers....It’s all about giving our customers choice.”

He followed up with comments that he considers AAdvantage "the best loyalty program in the world and we look forward to making it better." The question is always for whom it's better, though; the Delta and United programs used similar language to create plans where discount passengers on a NY to Los Angeles flight could end up with 80% fewer miles than before while business and first-class passengers receive several times more.
Of course, as we've pointed out before, such a plan would have less effect on the vast majority of point collectors who don't fly as often as they'd like, but receive miles for using credit cards, paying gas and electric bills, chasing credit card bonuses and more. When the industry describes miles and points as a 'loyalty currency,' that's what they're talking about!

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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A friend who works in marketing once told me that whenever you hear words such as "in order to serve you better", you're about to lose something.  This sounds like it might be one of those times.  I've been very happy with my AAdvantage experience for years and, as you say, earn most of my miles with credit card use.  If lower fares with adjusted mileage credit are part of their plan I wouldn't mind and, in fact, might even fly American more, resulting in more, rather than fewer, miles in the long run.  I'll be interested in "the rest of the story."

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