Wednesday, November 12, 2008

American Airlines Changes Frequent Flyer Program

Following the lead of United, American Airlines recently announced that they will no longer be giving a minimum of 500 miles on flights shorter than that total.

From the press release (with my emphasis)

Effective January 1, 2009, we are discontinuing the minimum mileage guarantee for non-elite status members for flights on American Airlines, American Eagle®, AmericanConnection®, oneworld® member airlines, AAdvantage® participating airlines as well as rail service and codeshare service booked under an AA flight number.

With this change, customers will earn AAdvantage miles equal to the actual distance flown or the applicable percentage of the miles flown, and any associated bonuses will be calculated accordingly. Similarly, elite status qualifying miles and points earned for travel on eligible flights will also be based on the actual miles earned. AAdvantage Executive Platinum®, AAdvantage Platinum® and AAdvantage Gold® members are exempt from this change.

While I've already shared my opinions on these kinds of decisions by the airline industry, I just want to reiterate my stance on the subject.

It's a bad idea. Especially in this kind of economy you want to try and keep your customers, and make as many customers (new and old) as loyal as possible. When you do things like this the only thing it can do is alienate customers, and that is the bad idea.

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