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There are a number of ways that the new American Airlines may choose to structure its frequent flyer program once the merger with US Airways is complete.

We’ve seen what happens when an airline adopts a four-tier elite system such as US Airways’ program. For example, with United Airlines MileagePlus the lowest tier gets certain benefits, such as a free checked bag, priority security line, priority boarding, etc., but the most coveted elite benefit — upgrade opportunities — become almost non-existent to the fourth elite tier on a route with any popularity.