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American Airlines Introduces New Perks You're Going To Love

You're going to have work a bit to get these perks.

It’s a violative time in the airline industry, as the aftereffects of covid-19 continue to impact nearly everything. Thanks to pent-up demand, more people are ready to fly, and to pay a bit more for a luxury flight. But also, due to covid, there’s been a labor shortage that is leading to more delays and canceled flights than ever before.

It feels like the industry is in the midst of figuring out what it looks like these days, and what steps it needs to take towards the future. American Airlines  (AAL) - Get Free Report hasn’t been sitting down amidst this upheaval. 

In a recent earnings call, the company acknowledged that it needed to invest more in its efforts to recruit and train the next generation of pilots, as a great deal of experience pilots opted to retire early or take a buy-out during the pandemic, and it’s been difficult for the company (and really, the whole industry) to scale up this effort to meet the demand.

The company has also reacted to changing tastes and demands, and has announced plans to scale back its first class cabins, by offering more business class flights, which have become more popular with customers who are willing to spend just a bit more for some privacy. Many of the new business class flights will come with a built-in door, in order to make them, essentially, a private suite.

Now American Airlines has introduced another change, this time to its loyalty program.

American Airlines Makes a Change to its Status Program

Earlier this year, American Airlines introduced its Loyalty Points program, which replaced earlier programs such as Elite Qualifying Miles, Elite Qualifying Dollars and Elite Qualifying Segments.

With Loyalty Points, you earn points whenever you fly with American, use an AAdvantage co-branded credit card for purchases, or shop at AAdvantage partners.

Now, the company has introduced the Instant Status Pass offer, which offers a series of what the company calls “status challenges.” Basically, the higher your status, the more bonuses you receive, which can be traded in for free flights and other perks. 

AAdvantage member earns 5 miles per dollar, AAdvantage Gold 7 miles per dollar (a 40% bonus), AAdvantage Platinum gets 8 miles per dollar (a 60% bonus), AAdvantage Platinum Pro earns 9 miles per dollar (an 80% bonus) and  AAdvantage Executive Platinum get a whopping 11 miles per dollar (a 120% bonus).

But, you’re going to have to put some work in if you want to rise through the ranks.

American Airlines Seats Lead JS 092122

How to Get Status With American Airlines

The first step is to get registered with the AAdvantage program, either online or by calling their customer service center at 1-800-433-7300.

From there, you’ll be given an individualized offer, and charged a co-pay. These rates vary by a number of factors, including “your current status, historical flying patterns with American and other undisclosed factors,” as explained by The Point Guy. These co-pays are typically a couple of hundred dollars, though sometimes American grants a complimentary challenge. You also have to choose which status you are going to aim for.

Then for the first four months, you must earn enough points to qualify for one of the following statuses: 

  • AAdvantage Gold: 10,000 Loyalty Points.
  • AAdvantage Platinum: 25,000 Loyalty Points.
  • AAdvantage Platinum Pro: 42,000 Loyalty Points.
  • AAdvantage Executive Platinum: 67,000 Loyalty Points.

After four months, you’ll either continue to the next phase, of as the Points Guy says, “experience a ‘soft landing’ or lose your temporary status entirely.” But you’ll also get to enjoy the benefits you just earned. American has not detailed all of the benefits that the points will bring, but free or discounted flights and upgrades are a perennial perk of this sort of thing.

Over the rest of the year, there will be two more four-month phases. You can only earn a higher status by earning additional Loyalty Points during the first phase, but you can experience a "soft landing" to a lower elite tier during any of the three phases.