Today is the day that has been coming our way since American Airlines announced changes to the AAdvantage program last year. American Airlines falls in line with every one of the big air carriers in the US and goes completely revenue based.
From this point forward, American Airlines will earn miles based solely on how much you spend. As people who earn miles for the purpose of using them on long haul premium class flights, flights for the purpose of earning miles is no longer a good way to go about things. This doesn't mean that we give up, more credit cards are arriving on the scene every day and taking advantage of those as well as other methods of earning points is the best way we can go about miles and point earning now.
As the airline industry shifts to make it harder to earn, we shift and find another way to earn. The playing field is always in flux, but if we keep up with the playing field, we can still earn those miles, and still fly first class on some of the most amazing airlines in the world.
Just be aware that mileage runs may be a thing of the past for American Airlines now, but that doesn't mean that status runs are out. Cheap flights still work to our advantage for mileage accruals toward flight status. Status is still based on flight miles and not money spent... at least for the time being. There are some spend requirements, but often there are ways around those.
So keep this in mind for all your American flights. This is the day I've been shifting my loyalty for, now I no longer see American Airlines as the top airline for loyalty programs, they've fallen to the bottom of the list for the 3 major carriers. Keep that in mind and adjust accordingly from here forward.