Over the past few years, the “big three” US airlines have made qualifying for status more complicated. Airlines have not only started awarding redeemable miles based on how much you spend rather than how much you fly, but they’ve also added an EQD (elite qualifying dollar) requirement.
In other words, to earn status you not only need to fly a certain amount, but also need to spend a certain amount.
In the case of American AAdvantage, the requirements to earn status are as follows:
25K EQMs or 30 EQSs
50K EQM or 60 EQSs
75K EQMs or 90 EQSs
100K EQMs or 120 EQSs
The good news is that it has been possible to earn EQDs through credit card spend with select Barclaycard products.
- The Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Silver Card has offered up to 6,000 EQDs per year — 3,000 when you spend $25,000, and another 3,000 when spending another $25,000
- The Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Red and Aviator Blue Cards have offered up to 3,000 EQDs per year — 3,000 when you spend $25,000
Well, American has just announced that they’re devaluing the ability to earn EQDs through credit card spend as of 2019. Starting in 2019:
- You’ll no longer be able to earn any EQDs for spend on the Aviator Red or Aviator Blue Cards
- AAdvantage Aviator Silver Cardmembers will be eligible to earn only a total of 3,000 EQDs after spending $50,000 on purchases per calendar year — they’re basically doubling the spend requirement to earn 3,000 EQDs, and they’re also halving the number of EQDs you can earn through credit card spend
These changes are effective January 1, 2019, for Blue, Red, and Silver cardmembers who opened their accounts prior to January 1, 2018. Meanwhile they’re effective January 1, 2020, for cardmembers who opened their accounts between January 1, 2018 and October 31, 2018.
American also says that further new benefits will be announced for the cards in 2019, though they don’t yet have the details of what those benefits will be. I’m not putting much weight on that, though it sure is disappointing that they’re announcing this change without any sort of a silver lining.
This is yet another negative change to the American AAdvantage program. As American’s stock price is near a 12 month low and the airline completely lacks a vision, they’re alienating their loyal customers who go for status.
I put spend on the AAdvantage Aviator Silver Card specifically for this. You can bet I won’t be putting $50,000 of spend on the card to earn just 3,000 EQDs, so they’ll not only be losing my spend, but also losing the money I spend every year on the card’s annual fee.
The experience of flying Delta domestically is just so much better than flying with American, so I’m always looking for something that pushes me over the edge in making me switch my business. I’m sure getting close…
Did you put spend on Barclaycard Aviator Cards to earn EQDs? How will this change impact you?