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AAdvantage Program Updates for 2021

American Airlines will roll out several changes to its AAdvantage frequent flyer program starting in 2021. These changes will impact elite tier qualification requirements, spending requirements, and the flexibility of choosing members’ rewards. Here are all the details.

AAdvantage Updates for 2021

In a recent email to AAdvantage members, American Airlines announced various changes to its popular loyalty program. According to AA, the world’s largest carrier by fleet size, AAdvantage elite members will enjoy greater flexibility in 2021 when it comes to earning and maintaining their elite status level, redeeming their frequent flyer miles, and enjoying the benefits of their tiers when flying.

These benefits follow an earlier announcement that members’ current AAdvantage elite status will extend through January 31, 2022.

Adjustments to AAdvantage Elite Qualifications

One of the more noteworthy changes to the AAdvantage program for 2021 is the waiving of Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQD) in some circumstances. American Airlines will waive the EQD requirement for AAdvantage Gold, Platinum, and Platinum Pro statuses if the member spends $30,000 or more on purchases with an eligible AAdvantage credit card.

Current AAdvantage credit cards include:

American Airlines also states that AAdvantage members will be able to earn elite status through an adjusted system of EQDs, Elite Qualifying Miles (EQM), and Elite Qualifying Segments (EQS), as shown in the following chart:

Greater Reward Flexibility

AAdvantage elite members will also enjoy greater flexibility when redeeming AAdvantage miles. Platinum Pro members, for example, can select from several rewards, such as a systemwide upgrade, Admirals Club lounge day passes, and bonus miles. Executive Platinum members also enjoy more flexibility, with the option of maintaining their systemwide upgrades or selecting from other benefits.

Other Changes

Other notable changes announced in the AAdvantage 2021 email update include:

  • The expansion of elite benefits to basic economy class fares
  • Eliminating award change fees
  • Waiving of award reinstatement fees for the rest of 2020
  • Eliminating award mile expiration for AAdvantage members under the age of 21. Once a member turns 21, miles will expire after 18 months without qualifying activity – on a pro-rata basis.

For more information on the AAdvantage frequent flyer program, or the Oneworld Alliance of which American Airlines is a member, check out our comprehensive program guides:

Featured photo by Skeeve/ Pixabay

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Cory Santos

Cory is BestCards.com's "Jack of all trades" and resident rewards expert, covering all facets of the points game – especially travel, hotels, and airlines. In addition to credit cards, Cory finds that jogging, cats, and memes are essential parts of a balanced day.