American announces 2011 Elite Rewards!

American has just announced that Elite Rewards will return for 2011. Through Elite Rewards, elite members can earn some bonus rewards for earning more points than required for reaching their status threshold. Eligibility is based on the status and number of elite qualifying points earned as of December 31, 2011. Registration is required prior to December 15, 2011.

The bonus rewards are as follows:

I’d say in all cases the bonus redeemable miles are the best deal.

But there’s one HUGE downside to this year’s promotion compared to the ones they ran in past years. This year eligibility is based on elite qualifying points, not elite qualifying miles. Keep in mind that you can qualify for an elite threshold with American either by earning elite qualifying miles (which, with American, are based on the number of actual flown miles) or elite qualifying points (which, with American, are based on how high of a fare class you’re booked in).

For that reason, this promotion will likely be worthless for the majority of you, unless you usually book full fare tickets. So while I’ll qualify for Executive Platinum with 100,000 elite qualifying miles, I’ll only have earned about 50,000 elite qualifying points, since deeply discounted fares only earn a half point per mile.

Oh well…

Filed Under: American, Great Deals
  1. so what do you actually quality for if you’ve earned 50,000-74,999 or 100,000-124,999 points?

  2. So true Ben. What’s amusing about the promotion is that while it rewards loyalty, it is a certain KIND of loyalty that they are promoting: full-fare passengers.

    I, too, will finish with 100K this year and 50,000 points and if they had offered EXPLATS the bonuses based on miles flown, I would have given American my business for the next 25K miles flown — but by using points as their criteria, I’ll take my business elsewhere.

  3. Don’t kick a gift horse in the mouth. Poor suckers like me who are stuck with UA would love to get an easy bonus like this for just flying our regular trips.

  4. I’m EXP with AA and as you noted, this promo will probably be useless to me which is a bummer.

    I have to say though that from AA’s perspectve it’s pretty smart. There aren’t many mechanisms to reward passengers who buy full fare and fly often. They easily make EXP but that throws them into a pretty big pool. I can understand AA wanting to do something to generate more business just within that population short of offering them all Concierge Key.

  5. I find Michael’s “I’ll take my business elsewhere” comment highly amusing.

    Where exactly does he think he is taking this (presumably non-full-fare) business that will ‘stick it’ to AA? He’ll decide either based on price (ie. the lowest margin seats for the airline) or based on mileage program (but again at a price that is lower-margin for the airlines).

    They have customers exactly where they want them on this. High-margin flyers will get more out of this than low-margin flyers, and that’s where the profits are.

  6. This promo works well for the crew that’s always complaining that there should be a level above EXP. I’m a segment/miles guy. I’m at 80 segments now and will top out just over 100k miles for the year. I won’t hit 100k points but I’m not complaining. I’ve been treated very well over the years by AA with the perks that come with the program already. I can see why they would throw a bone to their higher rev flyers. I’m in sales and do more for my higher rev customers than lower rev.I’m just happy they didn’t add a higher level to the program.

  7. I think this is a good business decision for AA, as it incentivizes the purchase of high fares. Do they want to reward the 100k point flyer for flying an additional 17k miles on expensive fares or a 100k mile flyer for flying 25k miles on deep discount? People can hit 100k EQM for less than $4k, while I doubt almost anyone hits 100k EQP for less than $25k.

    I’m fortunate that this year I’m an EQP flyer and have about a 95k/135k miles/points split flown/booked on AA so far. Next year I’ll probably requalify for EXP on miles and won’t be too annoyed at AA for not rewarding me if I make it to 125k.

  8. Matthew — Hopefully you didn’t miss the humor. UA’s non-existent elite choice program is only marginally less useful to me than AA’s full-fare elite choice program…..

    And I suspect that is true for many of Ben’s readers.

  9. @ Maren — They do not. All miles earned through American credit cards count towards lifetime status, though not status on a year-to-year basis. Those cards that accrue actual status miles only count towards elite qualifying miles and not elite qualifying points.

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