Sometime yesterday, while I was busy passing out candy to trick or treaters, a little nugget of information I published with my post on the 2015 AAdvantage program on Tuesday morning got noticed. In that post I said the following:

2015 AAdvantage program, new AAdvantage program, combined AAdvantage program, 500 mile upgrades on AA

In looking at the new complimentary 500 mile upgrade process, one of the first things that popped into my mind was whether or not the “buffer” that AAdvantage has historically offered would continue. For those not familiar with this, AAdvantage has offered a 50 mile buffer on upgrades for as long as I can remember. I don’t think it is a published benefit, but it is widely known among AAdvantage elites. The result is that a 515 mile flight only costs you one 500 mile upgrade (affectionately known as stickers by long-term AAdvantage members even though they’re electronic).

To be clear, I was offered a look at the program and 15 minutes to ask questions of two managers at AAdvantage. One of the questions I asked was: “Will the grace buffer that has historically existed, in other words…a 515 mile flight would only require one sticker…continue?” The answer was no. I countered with something to the effect of “so a 515 mile flight will require 2 stickers or just 1 on top of the 500 mile complimentary upgrade” and the answer was “2 stickers.”

My take on things was that this was a change that would come with the new program in Q2 2015. Some are saying on FlyerTalk that the 50 mile buffer is already gone based on phone conversations with agents. I’m indifferent to this change, but I know quite a few don’t feel the same way. I’ve reached out for clarification on this, and when I get it, I’ll report it here. But either way, it appears that the 50 mile buffer is going away if it hasn’t already. Updated: Click here for details on the update I received on 500 milers.

-MJ, November 1, 2014