American Airlines Lowers 2021 Elite Status Requirements

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American Airlines announced they’ll be lowering 2021 elite qualification requirements. The reduction applies for Gold, Platinum, Platinum Pro, and Executive Platinum status. Additionally, al elite qualifying flight activity flown in the fourth quarter of 2020 toward a member’s 2021 qualifications.

For contrast, Delta Air Lines is carrying over all Medallion Qualification Miles earned in 2020 over to next year, however hasn’t lowered any requirements, which is fair given the generous rollover they’ll be extending to everyone.

Here’s a look at the American AAdvantage 2021 tier requirements:

For those who earn elite status in 2021 stays is valid through Jan. 31, 2023. Additionally, for 2021, American will also waive the elite qualifying dollar requirement for Gold, Platinum and Platinum Pro if members spend $30,000 on purchases with their eligible AAdvantage credit cards. This gives members another way to achieve their elite status goal.

This news comes in addition to American Airlines Adds Elite Benefits on Basic Economy Tickets, where If you hold Executive Platinum, Platinum Pro, Platinum or Gold status on American, you’ll now receive all your elite benefits you’re used to including upgrades, preferred seats and same day travel changes if applicable.

As a reminder, effective Jan. 1, 2021, Basic Economy tickets will no longer earn elite qualifying dollars, miles or segments toward future status.

Bottom Line

Looking at updated tier requirements for American AAdvantage members, it results in a 20% reduction of what is normal requirements, plus with the fourth quarter counting for next year, AAdvantage members will now have 15 months to earn status for next year.

It’s great to see American Airlines lower 2021 elite tier qualification, but the question will be is it enough to bring loyal AAdvantage members to the sky? Business travel isn’t coming back anytime soon, so having to shift toward capturing leisure flyers, however I’m not sure they have the same goals when it comes to earning elite status as business travelers.

What are your thoughts on American Airlines lowering 2021 elite tier qualification? Do you think other airlines will follow? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

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  1. This is delusional. AA is out of their minds if they think elites will fly 80% of normal in 2021 or 64% of normal over the next 15 months. If anything, this motivates me to NOT buy tickets from AA. They should have gone with 50%, and even that would be optimistic.

  2. For me, differing levels of elititude merely create differing strata amongst people who are competing for the same upgrade privileges. Where AA sets break points is rather arbitrary and meaningless in the context of ranking loyalty among the customer pool.

  3. @Gene

    You are correct that the adjustments may not be sufficient in an analytical fashion. But the end result will be that each level of elititude will mean more than it has in the past.

  4. @ james scott — More likely, AA will just give away free status to more people when their isn’t enough elititudeness. 🙂

  5. “Smoke and Mirrors” is the best description I think of Parker and his management. Until people return to some form of normalcy status levels are more or less meaningless. Business travel even if there was a return will take years to return to normalcy case in point conferences/conventions have been either delayed/cancelled until further notice when they do begin to return the once jammed trade shows will be gone. That will put a dent in business travel for years to come let alone “flying in for a quick meeting or a dinner”.

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