Gary wrote a good post (as usual) this morning, “What Additional Changes Can You Expect from American and US Airways?” He ran through a lot of things that I won’t repeat verbatim, but a combined award chart, changes to systemwide upgrades, and most importantly for a pedestrian domestic traveler like me – the domestic upgrade system were high on the list.

I’ve written my own list of things that I think will, won’t, and I hope will change at the new AA, but not surprisingly for an ex-airline guy, they centered around things that airline ops guys might care about more than mileage junkies. I haven’t done the accuracy test on things that have already happened, but I know I lost the tail art war. Just as well, it’s actually begun to grow on me.

All this said, it got me to thinking….what do I really care about? What really impacts me as a 75K to 100K, mostly domestic, mostly business traveler? Living where I live (Atlanta), I don’t fly AA that much anymore, but not flying that much is not the same as never flying. Not to mention, I tend to think ahead….way ahead. One of these days I’m not going to travel as much on business, I’m not going to live in Atlanta….but live in Miami instead, and I have lifetime AAdvantage Gold status. Here’s what I really, really hope stays the same about the new AA.

1) Three Tiers – Airlines are very complicated, their relationship with their customers should not be. AAdvantage has already identified ways to reward high dollar, high mileage fliers without adding some new, not that mysterious award tier. KISS.

2) The Upgrade System – Reward your highest mileage fliers with complimentary upgrades. For the rest of us, the current system is fine. The more we fly, the more comp upgrades we earn. The desired effect here – the rest of us request upgrades we care about. The result – the rest of us have a better chance of getting the upgrades we care about.

3) Systemwide Upgrades – Eight upgrades on any fare is probably generous, but now that Delta has finally caught on, just two is stingy. Find a sweet spot here.  I think you will, but just in case you thought I didn’t care…..I do. 🙂 Thinking about the future, ya’ know.

If you had to pick three things you hope will not change with the new AA and AAdvantage program, what would they be?

-MJ, April 15, 2014