Rumor: Did American Airlines Leak Its New Elite Status Requirements?

The “big” news this week so far has been United’s addition of a revenue requirement to achieve or maintain elite status beginning in 2014. I wrote a quick summary of the new policy in this post, and I followed it up with my thoughts on why I think it’s only the beginning of revenue-based changes.

A subscriber of my automatic FeedBlitz email containing those posts replied to me directly with details about a conversation they had while waiting to board an American Airlines flight on Monday.

Now before I go on, I have to say that YES, what appears below is total speculation and YES, anyone who emails me could be full of “it,” and finally, YES, this was a fourth-person exchange between travelers at an airport simply looking to kill time while waiting to board a flight.

I normally wouldn’t consider writing such a post, but I decided to after the said subscriber emailed me back following my reply to them. Plus, I’m doing it just to “throw it out there,” and for the entertainment value it provided me (and hopefully you) given United’s changes.

Take it as you will, and flame me all you want. To the person who emailed me… please don’t take offense… I truly appreciated your emails and they (obviously) got me thinking!

Here was the initial email contact:

While waiting to board my American flight yesterday, I was drawn into a conversation with my fellow frequent flyers. One said he read an email from American Airlines to an Executive Platinum-level flyer that they are increasing their segment requirements for status qualifications.

In 2014, American AAdvantage is rolling up their segment requirements in a big way. It will take 160 segments for Executive Platinum, 90 for Platinum and 50 for Gold. That is a huge increase from the current 100, 60, 30.

Being an Executive Platinum, I was cautious to this discussion as I have not received such an email from American.

Do you have any intel on this change?

160 segments for Executive Platinum?! And no mention of a “silver” status? Total B.S.

I emailed this person back basically saying that an airline wouldn’t send out an “advance” email like that to any flier. If anyone would know beforehand, it would be an airline employee working in the department, or perhaps a very close-knit Concierge Key member (not likely at all, really).

And here was the reply I received:

I agree with you on all points.

Even notifying a Concierge Key elite is a funnel of info that marketing could not afford. All was taken with a grain of salt and I challenged the one who told me. He said he read the email because he could not believe it either.

And that was the end of our exchange.

But are those segment levels my subscriber mentioned off base for an American/US Airways-merged frequent flier program?

Delta’s segment requirements are 140/100/60 for their Diamond/Platinum/Gold Medallions (and 30 segments for Silver). Doug Parker’s American simply throws in a 30- or 35-segment level for “Silver” and voilà… 160/90/50/30 segments are the new elite status requirements for AAdvantage members.

Anyway, food for thought as we wait to see what actually happens with the “new” American. I outlined here what I think the new AAdvantage program might look like.

– Follow Darren Booth on Twitter, @FrequentlyFlyin, for more airline, hotel and travel industry news, reviews and opinions.

Related posts:

What the New American AAdvantage Program Might Look Like

Why an American-US Airways Merger Worries Me

United Airlines Adds Spend Requirement for Elite Status in 2014

United’s Revenue Model for Elite Status Is Only the Beginning


  1. Suppose the new “Gold” still requires 25,000 EQM, then to qualify with segments requires an average of 500 miles per segment. With the 500 miles minimum, I do see the new qualification is B.S unless AA increases the EQM threshold.

  2. I really hope there isn’t a post from you in a few months referring back to this one confirming the changes. With United’s recent changes I am holding my breath waiting for AA/US to announce the merged program and praying the changes aren’t too brutal. If they are I am not sure what I will do, fly Southwest? haha no, but still.

  3. I don’t believe it– if AA had REALLY sent an e-mail out, why would it have gone to some EXPs but not others? And if there were such an e-mail, I’m sure FT would be abuzz with the news right now.

  4. I’ve heard lots of rumors about a fourth tier, but haven’t heard this one yet.

    Given the merger it seems to me that the AAdvantage folks are probably more focused on integration with US Dividend Miles than tweaking segments. But who knows….stranger things have happened.

    Thanks for posting….it keeps things interesting! 🙂

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