American Airlines has notified members of its frequent flyer program that effective January 1, 2019, their top-tier elite level will cost more to attain. Starting on that date, flyers will have to spend $15,000 annually on qualifying tickets to become Aadvantage Executive Platinum members.
This latest change to the airline's frequent flyer program is similar to the changes that United Airlines and Delta Air Lines have also made to their loyalty programs. While Delta already requires members to spend at least $15,000 a year with the carrier to attain their top-tier elite status in its SkyMiles frequent flyer program, United recently raised its spend threshold to $15,000 if members of its Mileage Plus frequent flyer program want to attain top-tier status with the airline.
American Airlines has stated that the carrier has improved the way that these miles can be earned. The airline is now allowing miles earned on partner flights with Iberia, Japan Airlines, British Airways and Finnair to be applied toward their status at the full rate. This is a significant improvement for travelers who often do not receive this benefit for their overseas travel.
The airline industry has seen a very high demand for seating over the last few years. As demand increases, the cost of giving away free seats to passengers who cash in their miles also increases. To ensure that the airline is able to meet the demand of paying customers while also meeting the demand stemming from loyalty program redemptions, most airlines have made changes to their frequent flyer programs to adjust their costs accordingly.
The airline is encouraging all of their frequent flyer program participants to familiarize themselves with the updated terms of the program.