American Airlines today introduced new options for fliers to purchase bundled travel “choices” when making a one-way or round-trip coach reservation within the 48 contiguous United States.
American’s travel options displayed during a flight search now include:
Choice: The lowest fare available in the Main Cabin that gives customers the flexibility to purchase additional products a la carte.
Choice Essential: No change fee, one checked bag (or third checked bag for AAdvantage elite and oneworld® elite members) and Group 1 Boarding for an additional $68 round-trip (or $34 on one-way only reservations).
Choice Plus: No change fee, one checked bag (or third checked bag for AAdvantage elite and oneworld elite customers), Group 1 Boarding, 50 percent AAdvantage mileage bonus, Same-Day Flight Change, Same-Day Standby, and a premium beverage, such as an alcoholic beverage onboard for an additional $88 round-trip (or $44 on one-way only reservations).
American’s own representation on how the Essential and Plus choices could save the non-elite traveler money is as follows:
The savings in each scenario are really only meaningful if a passenger actually changes their ticket or decides on a same-day flight change. In that case, these new “choices” are certainly appealing, even for elites. But with my travel patterns and habits the way they are, I’m doubtful I’ll be clicking to purchase an Essential or Plus option in the future.
The nice thing is you’re shown what each option grants you based on your current elite status (assuming you’ve selected “remember me” at some point when accessing AA.com). Here’s a snapshot of what appears for me under Choice Plus as an Executive Platinum on a Los Angeles to Chicago round-trip:
Brian Kelly, aka The Points Guy, spoke with American’s Managing Director of Digital Marketing and got some other juicy tidbits he detailed in his post today. Among them:
- You can change your ticket as many times as you want without a fee on the Essential and Plus fares. If the fare drops, you’ll get a travel voucher.
- Priority AAccess security is not included, just Group 1 boarding.
- The premium beverage that is included with Choice Plus is 1 per flight direction (not segment) and is basically any drink you’d pay for, including alcohol or drinks like Red Bull.
For travelers who frequently change their plans and/or aren’t able to charge through bag fees, flight changes, etc. to their employers or clients, these options built into the fare are a great new approach.