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American Airlines is currently running a targeted promotion in which it’s offering a very specific kind of elite bonus – the airline will give targeted flyers double the usual number of miles towards lifetime elite status for flights taken by the end of the year.
Firstly, this promotion is targeted so not everyone will be able to participate (you can check your American Airlines promotion page to see if you’re one of the chose ones). Secondly, if you’ve been targeted, you’ll have to register before you can collect the bonus lifetime miles. Thirdly, only flights booked following registration for the promotion will earn double lifetime elite miles – existing bookings will not qualify for this promotion.
To be blunt, I’m not sure what American Airlines is thinking here because this far from being a particularly enticing offer. Leaving aside the fact that this offer is only for lifetime elite miles (no additional redeemable miles or elite qualifying miles are on offer), American Airlines lifetime status isn’t really worth very much nowadays (I write that as someone who has lifetime Platinum status). Gold status is almost useless (most of its benefits can be had simply by holding the right credit card) and Platinum status has been seriously watered down and devalued following the introduction of the Platinum Pro status level a few years ago.
Yes, at every million mile milestone above 1 million American Airlines issues a traveler with 4 systemwide upgrades, so anyone close to one of those milestones may be tempted by the lure of double lifetime elite miles…but is it really worth trying to earn double lifetime miles from flying right now? Here are a few things to consider:
- Most people can’t (or don’t want to) travel internationally right now so as it’s the longer flights that generally offer good quantities of lifetime miles, this will severely limit the number of lifetime miles that people can earn. Is it really worth booking that transcon flight just to earn a handful of extra lifetime elite miles?
- If you’re looking to hit a 2, 3, 4 (or higher) million mile marker through this promotion presumably you’re looking to do so with a view to earning the 4 systemwide upgrades that are on offer…but what will you do with those systemwide upgrades? Is it really worth putting in some extra flying right now just to earn some upgrades that you may not be able to use to your maximum benefit? Why not earn the necessary miles organically and have the upgrades available to you for when American Airlines is back flying most of its pre-Covid routes (i.e post 2021)?
- If you’re particularly desperate to earn more lifetime elite miles why not earn them without flying at all? Through 31 December 2020 American Airlines is offering 1 mile towards million miler status for every dollar spent on its Citi and Barclays co-branded cards as well as on some select credit cards issued outside of the US. When every dollar you spend on the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select card (for example) earns you one lifetime elite mile, why put yourself through any more flying than you have to?
If American Airlines thinks that offering a limited number of people the opportunity to earn double lifetime elite miles is going to noticeably increase its bookings in the coming months it’s almost certainly in for a disappointment. Most people aren’t traveling right now because they don’t feel the need to fly during a pandemic. They don’t feel it’s safe or the sensible thing to do so why American Airlines thinks that a handful of low-value lifetime elite miles is going to help change their minds is something I simply do not understand.
[HT: Loyalty Lobby]