The past several years American has offered Elite Rewards, which are designed to reward those that surpass the threshold needed for earning status. In other words, if you’ve already qualified for Executive Platinum it was something to incentivize you to keep flying American. You can read all about their 2012 Elite Rewards here.
The good news is that Elite Rewards are back in 2013, and they’re hands down better than ever before. First let me summarize them, and then let me go into a rant about why I love this to the point that I’ll sound like a crazed 12 year old girl trying to win a date with Justin Bieber.
Elite Rewards are based on the status you earn in 2013 towards the 2014 elite year. The rewards are as follows (and I’ll bold the rewards that I consider to be the best options):
Qualification requirements: 40,000 miles or 40,000 points or 45 segments
Rewards: 10,000 bonus miles or three 500-mile upgrades or two Admirals Club one-day passes or free BAGS VIP luggage delivery or 10% aa.com discount
Qualification requirements: 75,000 miles or 75,000 points or 80 segments
Rewards: 20,000 bonus miles or one systemwide upgrade or five 500-mile upgrades or four Admirals Club one-day passes or five single-segment Wi-Fi passes
Qualification requirements: 125,000 miles or 125,000 points or 130 segments
Rewards: 30,000 bonus miles or two systemwide upgrades or gift of Gold status or Admirals Club membership or 20% aa.com discount
Qualification requirements: 150,000 miles or 150,000 points or 160 segments
Rewards: 40,000 bonus miles or four systemwide upgrades or gift of Platinum status or Admirals Club membership or Global Entry fee waiver
Registration is required by December 31, 2013, and you have to make your selection by February 28, 2014. If you’ve already passed one of the thresholds look for an email in May with your first milestone selection options.
What this means
This is so much more generous than in the past. First of all, this year American is counting elite qualifying miles, points, or segments towards the thresholds. In the past they only counted elite qualifying points towards the threshold. If you’re someone that flies on discounted coach fares you only earn half a “point” per mile flown, so the thresholds were almost unattainable. Not this year.
Furthermore, in the past you’d only earn the milestone bonuses for the highest threshold you passed. The best way to explain this is that you’d only earn the first threshold if you didn’t qualify for Platinum, you’d only earn the second threshold if you didn’t qualify for Executive Platinum, etc. The intent was to give you an incentive to give your marginal business to American, and if you’re qualifying for a higher status level they’re already giving you an incentive to reach that threshold.
In other words, in the past as an Executive Platinum member I’ve only been eligible for the milestones starting at 125,000 points. So if I earned 100,000 elite qualifying points I wasn’t eligible for any bonus.
This year the milestones are cumulative. What does that mean? If you’re an Executive Platinum and qualify with 100,000 miles or points or 100 segments, you still get to choose rewards from milestones one and two. That’s 30,000 miles for free.
If you’re an Executive Platinum that qualifies with 125,000 miles or points or 130 segments, you get to choose rewards from milestones one, two, and three. That’s an additional 30,000 bonus miles for a total of 60,000 bonus miles.
And if you’re an Executive Platinum that qualifies with 150,000 miles or points or 160 segments, say hi to another 40,000 bonus miles, for a total of 100,000 bonus miles. Or if you prefer to mix up your rewards, for example, you could choose 10,000 bonus miles from milestone one, 20,000 bonus miles from milestone two, an Admirals Club membership from milestone three, and four systemwide upgrades from milestone four.
This is literally the most generous Elite Rewards program I’ve ever seen from any airline. If you’re a mileage runner, think of it this way — if you rack up 150,000 miles or points this year, you’re basically earning 267% redeemable miles for all your travel. That’s because you earn 100% of base miles flown, a 100% bonus for being an Executive Platinum member, and an additional 100,000 bonus miles for flying 150,000 miles.