Now that I’ve had a little time to digest the news on changes to American’s very popular million miler program, I thought I’d weigh in with a little more commentary on it since I first posted Monday afternoon. To bring you up to date, American emailed its AAdvantage members Monday afternoon with the news that had long been rumored, it was making changes to its million miler program. In summary, beginning December 1, 2011, only base miles flown on American, American Eagle, and American Connection as well as its AAdvantage airline partners will count towards million miler status. There’s one caveat in that holders of the Citi AAdvantage Executive MasterCard will be able to count their miles charged and posted to statements through December 1, 2012 as long as the account is open and in good standing as of December 1, 2011. You can read American’s announcement on the program at aa.com/millionmiler.
As you may have read in this space before, I am a million miler AAdvantage Gold lifetime member. I’ll admit it here, if I’d known then (as in 4 or 5 years ago) what I know now, I’d be a 2 million miler lifetime Platinum. However, hindsight is always 20/20, and I’ve got what I’ve got, 1.2 million miles and lifetime Gold. Truth told, if my work life finds me flying American more, I’m in good position to make my way to lifetime Platinum between now and retirement.
Back in the day, I can see why a total program earned counter might have made sense. It certainly was easy to keep track of. But nowadays with so many options to earn miles, I can only imagine that the ranks of “lifetime” members was beginning to get a little crowded in the eyes of the folks at AAdvantage. Not to mention, their program was shockingly generous in this regard compared to its primary competitors. There’s nothing wrong, at heart, with being more generous, but if things remained the way they were (and are through November 30, 2011), I can’t help but think that the benefits of holding status for all members would have begun to become negatively impacted in a more noticeable way.
I’ve been on a bit of a flying hiatus with American since a number of completely avoidable “issues” last year. That said, I’ve been continuing to fly American when it made sense from a scheduling perspective, just not going out of my way to fly them. Nevertheless, AAdvantage is the granddaddy of all mileage programs in my opinion, and for me, mostly beats all the rest. Sure, I can always find something or another with most any program that I like better than the way AAdvantage handles one or two things. But overall, AAdvantage is tops, and it still is, even after this million miler tweak.