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5 Things to Know About American Airlines Loyalty Program Change in 2024

American Airlines Loyalty Program

Hold onto your seatbelts, and maybe your wallets too, because the American Airlines loyalty program is shaking things up, and it’s a game-changer! Drop your worries! Buckle up and get ready to soar through the sky with exciting updates about loyalty program changes. 

If you’re a loyal American Airlines traveler, you’ll want to know what’s on the horizon as the airline gears up to shake things up in the friendly skies. American Airlines’ loyalty program, that trusty companion on your mileage quest, is getting an overhaul in 2024. No worries, it’s not all turbulence. This update promises smoother sailing for some, with new perks to the existing system. 

What is American Airlines Loyalty Program?

American Airlines loyalty program called AAdvantage® provides miles and Loyalty Points that are redeemable for award travel and various perks. Miles are earned through activities like flying with American or Oneworld airlines, using partner airlines, and utilizing partner services such as shops, restaurants, hotels, credit cards, and car rentals. Loyalty Points can be accrued using an AAdvantage credit card for purchases or engaging with AAdvantage partners. 

These points can then be exchanged for benefits, including:

  • Priority boarding 
  • Elite status with car rental agencies 
  • Bonus miles 
  • Free checked bags 
  • Free cabin upgrades 
  • Expedited security 
  • Lounge access 
  • 5 Preferred Seat coupons 
  • Priority privileges and Group 4 boarding for a trip

What Should You Know About American Airlines Loyalty Program Changes?

After understanding what is American Airlines loyalty program, get ready to learn about the five biggest changes that took flight on May 1st, 2024. Whether you’re a seasoned traveler with miles stacked high or a newbie just starting your journey, these updates will impact how you earn points, score upgrades, and navigate the friendly skies with American Airlines. 

Great news for frequent flyers: elite qualifying requirements remain unchanged. Flyers will still need to earn the same number of Loyalty Points to maintain their status during the 2024 loyalty year. 

However, starting March 1, 2024, five benefits currently enjoyed by all passengers will transition to exclusive perks for AAdvantage members only. For example, itineraries that are held for 24 hours, currently available to all travelers on select itineraries, will be reserved solely for AAdvantage members. Additionally, AAdvantage members will have the exclusive privilege of requesting same-day standby without incurring an additional fee.

Here are the top 5 tidbits you need to know about what’s flying your way in 2024:

1. Earning Points Just Got More Direct

Starting this month, booking directly with American Airlines or approved travel agencies becomes the primary way to earn miles and Loyalty Points. Partner airline bookings still qualify, but some restrictions apply, especially for Basic Economy fares.

2. Loyalty Point Rewards Get a Boost

AAdvantage revamped its loyalty point rewards system. Now, you can choose bonus Loyalty Points as a reward at three critical milestones (15,000, 175,000, and 250,000 points, etc.). This lets you strategically accelerate your path to elite status. For example, if you qualify in May 2024, you’ll have until March 31, 2025, to choose your reward. If you have more than one reward choice, you can choose one after qualifying and the other later or both rewards later. It’s up to you.

3. More Credits for Elite Flyers

Buckle up for exclusive benefits if you hold AAdvantage status. Later in 2024, you’ll enjoy extended trip credit validity (12 months compared to 6 months for non-members), and the ability to purchase single-visit passes for the comfy Admirals Clubs and luxurious Flagship Lounges.

types of travel credit card

4. Flexibility at Your Fingertips 

Need some extra time to make up your mind? AAdvantage members will soon be able to place a free 24-hour hold on flights, allowing you to secure your preferred itinerary without immediate commitment. This fantastic perk will launch in 2024, providing members with added peace of mind and the freedom to plan their travels easily. Whether you’re weighing your options or waiting for that perfect fare, this upcoming feature will empower you to make informed decisions without pressure.

5. Checked Bag Fee Tweaks

Be mindful of your baggage weight and size. American Airlines adjusted their overweight bag fees. Bags exceeding weight or dimension limits by a small margin (up to 3 lbs or 3 inches) after April 17th, 2024, shall incur a $30 fee. Heavier bags face existing charges starting at $100. 

overweight bag fees

For travel on or after April 17, 2024, checked bags exceeding 115 inches / 292 cm in total dimensions (length + width + height) will not be accommodated. For travel on or after April 17, 2024, a $30 fee will be charged for checked bags exceeding 62 inches / 158 cm but not surpassing 65 inches / 165 cm. There are no alterations to oversize fees for travel on or before April 16, 2024.

Suggested Read:
Maximizing Loyalty Program Benefits for Corporate Travel

Final Thoughts

American Airlines aims for $1 billion in cost savings within corporate travel management; much of this endeavor will hinge on improving procurement practices. However, it’s important to note that while procurement savings are crucial, they often come at the expense of product quality.

American Airlines’ vision extends beyond the typical amenities enhancements, airport lounges, or inflight service. The airline’s unique value proposition lies in its focus on serving small cities and facilitating connections in and out of the Sun Belt region. Furthermore, it strongly emphasizes providing a superior value proposition through its AAdvantage program, setting it apart from its competitors.

While schedule reliability is essential, more is needed to sway customers to choose America over competitors like United and Delta. To truly stand out and command a revenue premium, American Airlines must continually strive to offer a comprehensive and compelling travel experience beyond mere table stakes.

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Corporate travel management can be extremely daunting. Getting travelers to stick to budgets while booking travel, monitoring spends or finding support for travelers – there is always something that needs to be done. That’s why we built a solution that makes corporate travel management simpler.

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