First Free Story (1 of 3)Join Skift Pro
The other shoe finally dropped for American frequent flyers. Last week, American Airlines became the final legacy carrier to raise the elite status qualification criteria for earning its top-tier elite status. In 2019, travelers who want to earn Executive Platinum elite status for 2020 will need to fly 100,000 miles and spend $15,000 by the end of the year — up from $12,000.
American’s move comes just a month after a nearly identical move by United. Qualification for (published) top-tier elite status on American, Delta, and United will now all require $15,000 in spend. American and United will require 100,000 miles flown annually while Delta will require 125,000.
It’s no surprise that American followed United in matching elite criteria — after all, AAdvantage and MileagePlus are so similar that differences among qualification tiers could end up being a significant advantage for one carrier. What’s perhaps more telling, however, is that American wasn’t interested in highlighting that competitive advantage and vacuuming up a few defectors from United’s MileagePlus program. Elite travelers, indeed, may simply be too numerous for airlines to care about at this point.
— Grant Martin, Business of Loyalty Editor
Skift Stories and More Expert Insight
Wi-Fi Provider Gogo Is Hurt by American Airlines’ Tough Tactics: As Delta Air Lines has increasingly cozied up to Gogo, its primary Wi-Fi provider, American Airlines has taken a different approach, removing the company’s technology from hundreds of aircraft, and changing the model for how it pays for Gogo’s services.
American Air Joins Peers in Making It Harder to Hit Top Loyalty Tier: The nation’s largest carrier is making it harder to qualify for the highest published tier of its loyalty program.
Marriott CEO: Don’t Worry About Our Soft Third Quarter: Like many of its hotel peers, Marriott International saw a relatively softer third quarter in terms of its domestic revenue per available room (RevPAR), but CEO Arne Sorenson isn’t letting the “sobering” third quarter numbers distract him or his team from the bigger tasks at hand — continuing the success of Marriott’s integration of Starwood Hotels & Resorts.
Airlines Hope Algorithms Can Finally Fix Their Drink Carts: Passengers sitting in the back of the airplane hate it when an airline runs out of food for sale. But airlines also hate waste, and they usually must throw out uneaten fresh food the same day. How do airlines decide how much food and drink to board? It’s a delicate dance.
Icelandair to Buy Rival Wow Air: Icelandair Group is buying rival Wow Air in a major consolidation of the Icelandic aviation market.
Satisfaction With Rental Cars Is Rising as Costs Stay in Check: When it comes to the travel trio of airports, airlines, and rental cars, the latter is the clear consumer favorite these days, according to a customer survey by J.D. Power.
American to Allow Early Boarding for Passengers With Nut Allergies: American Airlines Group Inc. will allow people who suffer from peanut and tree-nut allergies to board flights early so they can wipe down areas where they will sit to avoid potential exposure to allergens.
Hong Kong Privacy Watchdog to Investigate Cathay Pacific Over Data Breach: Hong Kong’s privacy watchdog is investigating Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. after the carrier last month disclosed the world’s biggest airline data breach that exposed the personal information of 9.4 million customers.
Which Hotel Rewards Program Is Best for Business Travelers? Picking a hotel loyalty program can be a very different decision for business travelers than it might be for leisure travelers. While the latter group is more likely to earn a majority of points from credit cards, business travelers tend to earn most of their rewards the old-fashioned way: through paid hotel stays.
Air Canada’s Blockchain Play: Less Than Meets the Eye: A major airline commits to blockchain as a distribution avenue. That’s the story being spun about Air Canada‘s deal with Winding Tree. And, to some extent, it is accurate. But one key point that remains relatively muted in the reporting: Air Canada really is not doing anything with blockchain.
Skift Business of Loyalty Editor Grant Martin [firstname.lastname@example.org] curates the Skift Business of Loyalty newsletter. Skift emails the newsletter every Monday.