A few months back American announced some changes to the AAdvantage program for 2017, including the introduction of a fourth elite tier (Platinum Pro, which requires 75,000 elite qualifying miles), the addition of a revenue requirement for status, adjusting upgrade priority, the addition of upgrades on award tickets for Executive Platinum members, and more.
Well, today American is announcing some other changes to the AAdvantage program for 2017. But don’t worry, unlike many of the other changes, they’re not actually bad, and some of you might even like them.
Get an EQD fast track through credit card spend
Starting in 2017, earning status will require both earning a certain number of elite qualifying miles, and also earning a certain number of elite qualifying dollars. Essentially you’ll need to spend an average of 12 cents per flown mile (pre-tax) in order to qualify for a status tier, which is high.
|Gold||Platinum||Platinum Pro||Executive Platinum|
|25K EQMs or 30 EQSs||50K EQMs or 60 EQSs||75K EQMs or 90 EQSs||100K EQMs or 120 EQSs|
|$3k EQDs||$6k EQDs||$9k EQDs||$12k EQDs|
The big question has been whether there would be an option to get that revenue requirement waived through credit card spend. For context:
- With Delta, all elite qualifying dollar requirements can be waived by spending $25,000 on a Delta Amex Card
- With United, elite qualifying dollar requirements can be waived for Silver, Gold, and Platinum members by spending $25,000 on a United Chase Card
With American the addition of a waiver like this seemed much less certain. American Express and Delta have a close relationship, and Chase and United also have a close relationship. However, the relationship between Citi and American doesn’t seem to be as strong, as we recently learned when American announced that they’ll have cards issued by both Citi and Barclaycard going forward.
American has just announced that you’ll be able to get a shortcut to status by spending money on American’s co-branded Barclaycard products, as follows:
- AAdvantage Aviator Red, Aviator Blue, and Aviator Business Mastercard accounts can earn up to $3,000 EQDs by spending $25,000 on qualifying net purchases during the calendar year
- AAdvantage Aviator Silver Mastercard accounts can earn up to $6,000 EQDs by spending $50,000 on qualifying net purchases each calendar year; they’ll earn $3,000 EQDs after spending $25,000 on qualifying purchases and another $3,000 EQDs after $50,000 on qualifying purchases
In other words, at most you can earn $6,000 EQDs by spending $50,000 on the AAdvantage Aviator Silver Mastercard.
To answer the logical follow-up questions:
- It should once again be possible to sign-up for AAdvantage Barclaycard products in January 2017 (there are many existing cardmembers, but they haven’t been taking new applications for a while)
- As of now there are no plans to offer any EQD waivers or fast track opportunities through Citi cards
- A member can earn at most $6,000 EQDs per year; in other words, you can’t spend $25,000 on the Aviator Red and $50,000 on the Aviator Silver to earn $9,000 EQDs
The other interesting wrinkle in all this is that starting at some point next year American will change how upgrade priority works. Currently upgrades are prioritized based on status and then by time of booking, while going forward they’ll be prioritized by status and then your 12-month rolling elite qualifying dollar total.
In other words, even if you’d qualify for a status level anyway, it could make sense to spend on a card just to have a higher EQD total, since you’ll receive higher priority for upgrades.
Concierge Key will become a formal AAdvantage tier
There has been speculation surrounding this for a while, and it’s now official. Starting in 2017, Concierge Key will be a formal tier in the AAdvantage program. This means that Concierge Key members will get priority (with upgrades, standby, etc.) ahead of Executive Platinum members.
However, as of now there are no other changes in benefits, and there are no plans to publish the qualification criteria for earning Concierge Key.
This is a fair change, and I don’t think it’ll have a huge impact on Executive Platinum upgrades or standby priority, as there aren’t that many Concierge Key members.
For those of you not familiar with American’s invitation only Concierge Key status, see this post for details on the perks.
Concierge Key members have access to American’s Flagship check-in facilities
Frankly I wasn’t expecting to see any sort of credit card EQD fast track opportunity for 2017, so I consider this to be good news. Unfortunately American’s credit card EQD waiver isn’t as good as Delta’s, which lets you waive the revenue requirement for all status levels for just $25,000 of spend.
However, for many this will be better than United’s. United doesn’t let credit card spend count towards the Premier 1K revenue requirement at all, so at least with American you get 25-50% of the way there through credit card spend.
As far as formalizing Concierge Key status goes, that’s only logical, and follows United’s lead. I’m not surprised to see that, and don’t think the impact will be too big for others.
Will you be taking advantage of American’s credit card EQD fast track opportunity?