American AAdvantage 2017 Changes Announced Including How to Get a Partial EQD Waiver with Credit Card Spend

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American AAdvantage 2017 EQD Waiver

American AAdvantage 2017 EQD Waiver & Other Changes

Back in June American Airlines announced a number of changes to the AAdvantage loyalty program including revenue based earning (which was implemented in August), a new 75K “Platinum Pro” tier and the implementation of a spending requirement called Elite Qualifying Dollars in order to earn elite status.

Elite Qualifying Dollar Requirement

As a reminder, in 2017 each tier of elite status will have a spending requirement. Here is how Elite Qualifying Dollars will be calculated:

  • Ticket price (base fare plus carrier-imposed fees, excluding any government-imposed taxes and fees) on American-marketed flights
  • Flights marketed by oneworld® carriers and Alaska Airlines will earn EQDs based on a percentage of the flight distance and the fare class purchased.

Here are the requirements for each tier:

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Waived EQDs with a Barclaycard Aviator

While the above information is not new, at the time of their announcement over the Summer it wasn’t clear whether you could earn an EQD waiver by using a co-branded credit card. This is something offered by other airlines, so it seemed like a good possibility. Fortunately today we have an answer and it is somewhat good for Barclaycard customers and bad if you are in the Citi camp.

AAdvantage® AviatorTM Red, AviatorTM Blue and AviatorTM Business MasterCard® accounts can earn up to $3,000 EQDs by spending $25,000 on qualifying net purchases during the calendar year.

AAdvantage® AviatorTM Silver MasterCard® accounts can earn up to $6,000 EQDs by spending $50,000 on qualifying net purchases each calendar year. They’ll earn $3,000 EQDs after spending $25,000 on qualifying purchases and another $3,000 EQDs after $50,000 on qualifying purchases.

As you can see, depending on the card you have, you will be able to spend your way up to $6,000 worth of EQDs. That is of course half of the money needed to reach Executive Platinum and 67% of what you need for the new Platinum Pro status. In other words even with cheap mileage runs, you will still need some spend on American in order to get top tier status. (Flying cheap long distance flights on partners may be the way to go.) As a comparison, Delta waives all dollar requirements with just $25K spend on their co-branded cards.

Upgrade Changes

In addition to the other changes, American is going to change the way they prioritize upgrades in order to favor those who spend more.

Upgrade prioritization

You’ll be listed according to elite status level, followed by the number of EQDs earned in the last 12 months.

Upgrades on Award tickets

Executive Platinum members will be able to use their complimentary 500-mile upgrade benefits on AAdvantage® award tickets for travel on American from Main Cabin to the next class.

The big positive for Executive Platinum members will be complimentary upgrades on awards domestically, but of course the pressure will be to hit the EQD requirement and thus my suspicion is Exec Plats will book awards less often. If you are someone like me who will likely not be re-qualifying and not spending much, prepare to find yourself down on that upgrade list!

Conclusion

Overall these changes represent the final bit of erosion of the American Airlines AAdvantage program that has been announced. The ability to get EQDs with spend is nice, but Citi cardholders will be left wondering what happened. Additionally, those who spend less will be given less priority for upgrades and less goodies overall.

You can find the full list of changes and announcements covered in this post on the American Airlines website.

HT: Jason in the Miles to Memories Facebook group.


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1 COMMENT

  1. How does American Airlines Vacations packages figure in to this? Do they count as spend towards elite status?

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