Tale Of Two Loyalties

Back at the beginning of the month, American Airlines moved to a revenue based mileage earning model for their AAdvantage program. In the months preceding the change over, American Airlines managed to continue to devalue their program, over and over again. Announcements still continue to come  week after week about further degraded value in the AAdvantage program. American has degraded their program to a point where I chose to move to Delta. This has not be an easy choice, and often my instinct was to go back to American Airlines.

American Airlines had a few things going for it. Their awards redemption's were far better than Delta, and still remain that way for the most part. Delta has dynamic pricing on their award flights, meaning there is no published chart letting you know what something should cost on certain routes or regions. Delta's program has some sweet spots and good redemption, but they aren't as easy to know when great redemptions are available and when they aren't. You never know if that is their best award price or not, and that's how Delta wants it. If you don't know what their best pricing is, then you are more likely to overpay in miles for a redemption.

This week though, we learned that American Airlines is beginning to make moves toward dynamic pricing too, and they gave no one any notice about it... just started doing it. So while American is easier to know when the redemption is in your best interest, the company is going the way of Delta... like they have done with everything else in their loyalty program. In the end, neither company win out on this one.

I've gone back and forth over the past few months, mostly sticking with my choice of Delta but questioning it regularly.

In the end, American Airlines has devalued their loyalty too far to make it worth as much effort anymore. I will definitely keep at least Gold status with American this year, if I have the chance I may bump that back to Platinum to keep my status. At the same time, I'll take a status match on Delta to their equivalent of American's Platinum status which is Gold Medallion on Delta. Next year I may very well have two mid tier statuses on domestic carriers. We'll see how that plays out next year.

In the end, I am still siding with Delta on this one as you might be able to tell on my recent flight bookings. I'll let you all know how it plays out in reality once I get matched to Gold Medallion.