As the dust settles on American’s recently announced 2016 AAdvantage program, I find myself in a reflective mood. The bottom line of the changes is that many, if not most will earn fewer miles with the new program, even if I don’t count myself in that category. The price of most (but certainly not all) awards is going up, in some cases, way up. (Feature image credit: Shutterstock)

My initial focus on the changes was not surprisingly on the things that matter most in my workaday domestic business travel life. Those are: priority boarding, upgrades, and customer support. In short – elite status. For the most part, other than the loss of four systemwide upgrades for Executive Platinums, elite status and how you get it is not changing in a way that negatively impacts lots of fliers. In fact, some believe status will be easier to achieve, and depending on your ticket buying habits, that’s true.

In the end, the ultimate purpose of these programs from the perspective of most members is to amass enough points to fly somewhere they want to go for “free.” Keeping in mind that I have never crossed an ocean in the coach cabin of an airliner and never intend to, I will close with a question. Has anyone actually tried to redeem an AAdvantage mile on American metal lately? How’d it go? Success stories welcome, because I haven’t had much luck.

-MJ, November 21, 2015