Seeing as some people and businesses are planning their travel for 2021, American Airlines has come out early and announced changes to elite status earning requirements in 2021. These changes are all positive as it’ll be easier than in regular years to earn status with them.
You can find the full announcement from American Airlines here. Here’s a quick summary of the changes:
October-December 2020 Earnings Rolling Over
Hyatt and American Airlines have a partnership with reciprocal points/miles earnings, status matching and status challenges. American Airlines appears to have taken a leaf out of Hyatt’s book from their latest promo by offering double elite credits through the end of the year.
They’re doing this in a similar type of way as Hyatt. You’ll earn EQMs, EQSs and EQDs for flights from October 1 through December 31, 2020 which can help you earn status this year. Those EQMs, EQSs, and EQDs will then be rolled over to 2021 to give you a head start on your elite earnings next year.
Reduced Elite Qualification Requirements
American Airlines slashed the elite qualification requirements for 2020 by about 40-50% due to COVID. They’re reducing elite qualification requirements for 2021 as well, but only by 20% or so.
Here are the new requirements for 2021…
…and here were the standard requirements pre-COVID.
Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQDs) Waiver
If you have an eligible AAdvantage credit card, an EQD waiver will apply for Gold, Platinum and Platinum Pro status if you put $30,000 of spend on that card which posts to your account from January 1 to December 31, 2021.
You’ll therefore need to complete that spend a little earlier than December 31 as some spend that month won’t be credited to your account until after your January 2022 statement hits. It does presumably mean though that you can get a head start on spend at the end of this year provided it posts to your account in 2021.
Reduced EQMs For Executive Platinum Reward
Members with Executive Platinum status normally receive a choice of one reward when hitting 150,000, 200,000 and 250,000 EQMs. Those thresholds are being reduced in 2021 to 120,000, 160,000 and 200,000 EQMs respectively.
In early 2021, AAdvantage members with Platinum Pro and Executive Platinum status will be able to choose from a list of rewards which will include systemwide upgrades, Admirals Club day passes, bonus miles and more.
This isn’t a downgrade for Executive Platinum members as American Airlines has confirmed that you can still select four systemwide upgrades if you want them. Instead, it’ll give you the flexibility to choose fewer (or zero) SWUs if you’d like to also take advantage of some of the other rewards.
Basic Economy Benefits
This is something which had already been announced, but AAdvantage members with elite status can now receive benefits on Basic Economy fares. That includes seat upgrades, systemwide upgrades, etc.
American Airlines has made some positive changes to the AAdvantage program by reducing the requirements for earning elite status in 2021. They’ve also added the opportunity to start earning towards elite status in 2021 this year by rolling over EQMs, EQSs and EQDs earned during Q4 2020.