New American Airlines Elite Rewards

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American Airline just announced another way to earn more rewards by flying with them. Throughout the calendar year, you can reach one of four milestones which will allow you to earn an elite reward. You are able to earn one reward per milestone you reach, which means you can earn up to four rewards in total. You can check out the American Airlines site here which goes through this new program, but I’ve also listed out the milestones, perks, and terms below.

You can earn qualify based on miles, points or segments:

  • Milestone 1: 40,000 miles, or 40,000 points, or 45 segments
  • Milestone 2: 75,000 miles, or 75,000 points, or 80 segments
  • Milestone 3: 125,000 miles, or 125,000 points, or 130 segments
  • Milestone 4: 150,000 miles, or 150,000 points, or 160 segments

You can select the following reward (remember, only one reward per milestone marker:

  • Milestone 1: 10,000 bonus miles, 3 500-mile upgrades, 2 admirals club one-day passes, free bags VIP luggage delivery, or 10% discount (I’d select the 10,000 bonus miles)
  • Milestone 2: 20,000 bonus miles, 1 system-wide upgrade, 5 500-mile upgrades, 4 admirals club one-day passes, or 5 single-segment Wi-Fi passes (I’d select the 20,000 bonus miles – while the system-wide upgrade is great, you can instead use those 20,000 bonus miles towards a business class seat in case and availability is typically better)
  • Milestone 3: 30,000 bonus miles, 2 system-wide upgrades, Gift of gold for a friend, admirals club membership, or 20% discount (I’d select the 30,000 bonus miles – as previously stated the bonus miles can be used to book a business class seat and the system wide upgrades are capacity controlled and ONLY available on AA metal, not partner flights; the 20% discount can also come in handy if you know of an expensive flight you are booking, but chances are if you fly this much to earn this award you’ll be using miles anyways!)
  • Milestone 4: 40,000 bonus miles, 4 system-wide upgrades, Gift of platinum for a friend, admirals club membership, or global entry fee sponsorship (I’d select the 40,000 bonus miles or 4 system-wide upgrades – depends on your needs for the year and remember the system wide upgrades expire; if you want admirals club membership and global entry fee waived you are better off getting the Amex Platinum card that will give you BOTH for $450 and 40,000 miles is worth more than $450)

Some things to know:

  • If you have already reached a milestone, look for your first reward notification email in May. Reward selection will continue through February 28, 2014.
  • You must register by December 31, 2013, and choose your reward by February 28, 2014 – register using promotion code ELTA3.
  • You will receive one reward within each milestone for which you qualify.
  • American Airlines will email you as you achieve each new milestone, notifying you to choose your reward.
  • The Elite Rewards program is cumulative, so if you’ve reached Milestone 2, you’ve also reached Milestone 1. The program is also retroactive, so as long as you register by December 31, 2013, you qualify for rewards since January 1, 2013.

Great perk added by American in my opinion! Especially since you qualify based on miles, points, or segments, and it is not limited to just points liked they’ve done in the past (which can be harder to earn in most cases).

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  1. I want to be clear on something– the milestones have to be miles earned from flights, correct? Meaning, if I get 40K miles from a credit card, that does not count toward the milestone?

  2. I’d disagree for many of us on the SWU vs. miles part, although it depends very much on what fares you fly. If you fly mostly full-fare coach for work, the miles are the better value. If you fly mostly restricted leisure fares, given the move to miles+copay to upgrade those fares, SWUs are a MUCH better deal.

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