If you haven’t seen the news, American Airlines announced changes to their frequent flyer program, AAdvantage. Most notably, and least surprising, is the fact that they are moving to a spend requirement for elite status in 2017. They are also adding a new elite level, Platinum Pro, one level above Platinum. It is equivalent to United’s Platinum status and requires 75k miles or 90 segments and $9,000 in spend.
I am not an American flyer, but Seth has a pretty great write-up on the changes.
There is virtually no creativity in the changes. Not that I was really expecting any, but I had a sliver of hope that things would be different in one way or another. Upgrades for top-tier elites on award tickets is probably the closest thing to that in my book, and that’s a nice nod to those customers, but the overall changes really are boring.
I have to agree. There is not a lot of anything special in the announcement and American seems to just be following in the footsteps of Delta and United.
The Economist has an interesting short piece and infographic on international airlines and the price you pay versus the service you receive. They used customer satisfaction data from Skytrax and lined that up against flight-volume data from FlightStats.com.
At the bottom of the satisfaction list? United and American Airlines.
Another interesting tidbit was the “worst airports to sleep in” category. Port Harcourt International Airport in Nigeria topped that list… And that isn’t a good thing.
Seth has details of the changes. The big changes are in the AAnytime Awards, or awards that have more availability across dates. There are now three tiers of AAnytime Awards with the highest tier being exponentially more expensive than the lower tier. US Airways also upped the price of the sweet spot on their reward chart, US-North Asia rewards go from 90,000 miles to 110,000 miles.
The biggest news out of this seems to be American releasing the chart with no announcement and making the changes effective immediately. That is definitely not the most customer friendly way to do business and is different than the announcement from other airlines regarding similar types of changes.
I think this is the beginning of the end of the American Airlines love affair that a lot of travel/airline bloggers seem to have. American is going to start to fall in line with what the other carriers have in place for elite programs and reward bookings and people need to prepare themselves for that.
A story has been weaving its way around the internet about an American Airlines web designer being fired after responding to a complaint from a user. I have watched as some big names in the web space have ripped AA apart for their firing of the designer, claiming that AA.com is terribly designed and letting someone go who had ideas is a horrible decision.
Every single criticism of AA ignores the most obvious detail, that the employee broke the terms of his NDA. This type of attitude seems to be the norm in society now, that the violator is somehow the victim. Sure, I agree that it is probably a bad idea to fire someone who has ideas that could have a positive affect on a website or company, but at the same time what kind of example does it set for the rest of your employees if you allow someone to blatantly break the terms of their agreement?
Sometimes, things need to be called out for being right and being wrong, no matter how you feel about the tertiary aspects of the issue.