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.
If US Airways executives are indeed running the show at the post-merger American Airlines, then AAdvantage’s well-regarded reputation could be at risk as lower tiers of frequent flyers could find that upgrades become an impossible dream.
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