The most dreaded day of the year for most status chasing frequent flyers has to be March 1st. Most programs allow you to earn from January 1st of a given year until December 31st of the same, but they will let you keep your status another two months following until the end of February. For those that did not re-qualify for their current status level they will be dropping down and losing out on benefits they have come to love until they re-qualify again.
Last year I was an Executive Platinum with American Airlines, but I knew that I would not be able to re-qualify for top tier status in the normal way (flying 100,000 miles) again last year. Status earned in the first half of the current year is good until February of the following, but status earned after July 1st is generally valid for the rest of the current year, all of the next year and through February of the following. US Airways was offering a challenge (fly 30,000 miles on American Airlines or US Airways in 90 days and you can retain top tier status) and I took them up on it. Through the merger American Airlines has stated that sometime in the second quarter of 2015 they will combine 2014 and 2015 Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) from both airlines to award your 2015 status. For most people this will elevate their status level since flying from both airlines through at least 15 months will count towards one status.
Until the merger of the two programs sometime between April and June of 2015, however, you would still have whatever status you earned in each individual airline. With US Airways you would still get your Chairman’s preferred pair of long haul upgrades (and a companion upgrade on the same reservation) and when the two are merged you would then no longer have those upgrades to use – use them or lose them, but you would gain an additional eight system-wide upgrades (eVIPs) to use on AA.
Where did I end up for actual elite qualifying miles flown last year?
I ended the year with 38,000+ miles with US Airways, but all of those came during the status challenge so though I did not achieve enough for Chairman’s status through regular flying, but I did through the challenge. My 2015 status with US Airways was locked in and would be converted. With American Airlines I finished with 28,000+ (10,000 of which came as the result of a credit card spending bonus). This qualified me for just Gold within American’s program, the lowest elite level.
As of March 1st I should have dropped to Gold with American, not had access to Executive Platinum benefits like the all-important eight system-wide upgrades, etc. Yet when I logged in on the morning of March 1st, my status had remained.
I chalked it up to it being a little early in the morning and maybe it would clear at the end of the day. However, now March 4th and the result is the same. I thought maybe this was a glitch in system and the Executive Platinum “badge” had not been changed, but then I looked in “my upgrades” and found this.
I also checked US Airways and I still had Chairman status there too, but when I looked for my upgrades and “Special Dividends” here is what I came across:
So the question I have for American Airlines is have they already merged the status from the two airlines? And if so, does this mean that I no longer have access to the upgrades I was promised when I took the US Airways challenge (even though they said that we would only have a month to use them)? Here is their original claim regarding that:
This year I will complete at least the 100,000 for Executive Platinum (I already have 25,000+ with another 23,000 booked and it’s only March 4th), but I doubt that they have telepathy and already knew that. My understanding was that I would drop from Executive Platinum on American Airlines to Aadvantage Gold and remain Chairman on US Airways until the two programs are fully merged sometime in Quarter 2 of this year. Then once the merger of the program was complete, I would be Executive Platinum for the remainder of the year with the US Airways program being shut down entirely and another eight eVIPs applied at that time whether I used the two from US Airways or not.
American Airlines and US Airways both asked members to provide their frequent flyer numbers for the other program. If the address and names submitted matched, a new notice was put on to your Aadvantage and Dividend program once you logged in.
That, however, has been there for months, ever since we were asked to match over the accounts.
On one hand, having the accounts already aligned for status would be a great thing for me personally, because I would be able to use my Chairman’s number on US Airways reservations (which tends to land me better treatment on their flights and at check in) and my Executive Platinum status on American Airlines flights which helps me secure upgrades in advance and prioritizes me on standby lists.
On the other hand, those two upgrades (one round trip) and companion upgrades are highly coveted. We happen to be in possession of two $300 US Airways vouchers as well, so finding a long weekend trip to Hawaii or Europe, reducing the price by $300 each and clearing the upgrades makes for a tremendous value. I don’t want to lose those and I am not sure if I already have. Lucky (the voice of OneMileAtATime) has found suggestions that the merged program date will rest on March 20/21, 2015 which would be a little bit ahead of schedule but still gives me time to pursue those tickets and use any of the benefits as it was stated a Chairman could. I have correspondence into US Airways to clarify whether or not these and Special Dividends are still available. If so, this is yet another welcome change from the new American Airlines.
If not, heaven help them…
Regardless, I am enjoying top tier treatment on both airlines for the time being, and I hope this is an early transition and not a computer glitch. Was there anyone else out there that is having a similar experience?