American Airlines EQD Changes

American Airlines has completely moved to a revenue based system just like Delta and United, this is not a good thing for consumers, but we must now work within that system. Up until this week Delta had a significant advantage over American Airlines. Each airline requires a minimum spend limit on flights to get elite status. Delta had a way to spend money on their credit card and bypass the spending requirement for flights. Finally this week American Airlines has come out with their plan for Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQD), and it's not good.

American Airlines almost completely mimics the Delta EQD requirements. 

  • Gold - $3000
  • Platinum - $6000
  • Platinum Pro - $9000
  • Executive Platinum - $12000

The way American plans to work this is that if you spend $25,000 on an AAdvantage credit card, you get $3000 toward your Elite Qualifying Dollar requirement. On certain credit cards, you can then make additional purchases to $25,000 to gain another $3000 toward your EQD requirement. That is a blistering $50,000 of spend to only make it half way to the Executive Platinum requirement. 

Compare this with Delta where you can spend $25,000 on any Delta Skymiles credit card and that will waive the MQD requirement. The requirements are identical to American Airlines except Diamond Medallion status is $15,000. The beauty here is you need to put half as much spend on your credit cards and receive more than twice the benefit toward qualifying dollars.

Once again, Delta comes out ahead here. I really want to like American Airlines again, but they keep shooting themselves in the foot.

Up to 1600 Free Marriott Points

Marriott is running some promotions for the holiday season. Starting today, if you make your way over to Marriott's promotion page, you can link Marriott to your social media accounts and grab points for doing so. 

Heading over to the Marriott promotion webpage, you'll see the current promotion is running through December 7th, 1 month from now.

As the promotion states, all you need to do is connect your accounts, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to Marriott in order to receive 1,500 free points. What the promotion does not say here is that if you follow Marriott Rewards on Facebook and Twitter through this signup, you'll get another 50 points per follow, for a grand total of 1,600 points.

I do tend to lock down my social media and avoid companies having access, so like me you may be weary to give Marriott access to these accounts. We've seen companies go a little too far with this access in the past and post on user's behalf, usually to the detriment of the company. Luckily, Marriott is almost immediately posting the points to your account, so I was able to see the points added within a few hours, some users even faster. This means you can then go disconnect Marriott from your social media accounts and lock them back out. 

1,600 points is a decent free offer, and they transfer to SPG points at a 3:1 ratio. These 1,600 points would land you a little more than 500 SPG points. Head over to the promotion page to grab your free points

Delta's Premium Economy Coming in 2017

Delta has recently announced that coming in 2017, they too will begin to offer a Premium Economy product on their flights. This move seems to be one of the rare times that Delta follows where American Airlines leads, since American already announced the addition of a premium economy to start around the same time frame. American airlines is actually already flying their premium economy seats, but right now is selling them under economy class seats until they officially go on sale next year.

Delta will be calling this new product "Delta Premium." Premium economy for Delta will be similar to many other airlines, the seat will feature something more like a first class seat we in the US are used to seeing on a domestic flight. The seat will recline with a leg rest. It will also be wider, have more leg room and better recline.

Along with the seat comes an amenity kit, likely to be a slightly paired down version of what we see in business class. An In Flight Entertainment (IFE) system with a larger screen. Ground beverage service prior to departure. Meals will also be slightly upgraded from Economy meals and probably land somewhere along the lines of what we see in domestic first class as well. Lastly is the priority boarding on the plane.

Pricing will likely be somewhere between economy and business class, I my eyes favoring slightly on the lower side toward the economy class side of the spectrum. This will completely be up in the air until we see these seats actually go on sale.

Overall this is a good change to see from Delta and other American carriers. If I need to pay flat out, I'd rather pay a little extra money for more leg room than economy is offering. Of course the lie flat bed of business class will always be my preference, premium economy is a great alternative for a paid economy seat.

Delta Partners with Airbnb

Delta has some pretty awesome partnerships. On the hotel side, if you are a elite member on Delta and at Starwood Hotels, you will earn Delta miles on Starwood Stays and Starwood points on Delta flights. Earning these rewards give you an awesome chance to sort of double dip, getting miles and points this way is an important perk to take advantage of where you can.

This week Delta announced another partnership, this time with Airbnb.

If you are unfamiliar with Airbnb, the idea is that regular people who may not be using a home, apartment or some other dwelling, can post it for a short time or permanently on Airbnb for people to stay in for short vacation periods. 

Airbnb representatives had the following to say:

“We are excited to partner with Delta and offer their travelers the opportunity to earn Delta miles when staying and hosting n Airbnb, while creating memorable moments with friends and family,” said Lex Bayer, Head of Business Development, Airbnb. “SkyMiles members can now enjoy the additional benefits of living like a local with authentic travel experiences on Airbnb in all global destinations that Delta services.”

So it appears that staying with Airbnb will now be able to earn you Delta Skymiles.

It looks like Airbnb bookings need to be made through the Delta Airbnb partner site, which will request your Delta Skymiles account before redirecting you to the booking site. 

There are a few additional perks running with this promotion that may be worth a try. First, if you have never created an Airbnb account, as a new guest you are given $25 off your first booking, 1000 bonus Skymiles on your first booking and the standard 1 Skymile per $1 spent at Airbnb.

Second, if you want to host through Airbnb and have never done so, this partnership allows you to get a bonus 25,000 Skymiles. These are some pretty awesome one time perks, but in my mind not really worth going out of my way for. If I try Airbnb, it'll certainly be something I take advantage of, but the earning rates are not good enough to make me switch away from Starwood Hotels.

I will say this though, if you stay at Airbnb already, this is great. Personally I tend to stay at Starwood hotels instead. Earning a few Delta Skymiles is certainly not a good reason to switch from Starwood to Airbnb. Starwood points are just too valuable. Also, keep in mind that if you take advantage of the existing Delta and Starwood partnership, you already earn 1 Skymile per dollar spent at Starwood hotels, on top of getting Starwood points as well and that's a far better way to earn miles/points.