Why I’m sticking with American Airlines through 2016

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It’s been a rough couple of days over here at the MonkeyMiles house.

In case you hadn’t heard…American Airlines basically told anyone who isn’t a high and mighty spending business traveler to go and suck an egg. They shredded not only how you earn ( which we knew was coming), but added in some spend requirements, reduced elite benefits, and basically pronounced casual loyalty dead. Read more about it here if you are sadomasochistic…no judgement.

Miles! Don’t jump!!!! It’s ok – we can turn this frown upside down

Don't do it Miles
Don’t do it Miles!!!!!! We can still be ballers!!!!

In less than 24 months Miles and I have earned the following Miles:

  • 100k from Us Air Barclaycard sign ups, now AA miles
  • 53k from Citi Platinum AA
  • 53k from Citi Biz AA
  • 110k from Citi Exec AA
  • 50k Citi Banking sign up
  • 25k Barclay Aviator funding of Citi Bank account
  • 30k Barclay targeted spend on Aviator

That’s 421k AA. No butt in seat. So you don’t have to be an American Airlines Superdelegate Elite to feel like one.

  • It’s how we’ve done this:
Rear Facing Seat 8H
Rear Facing Seat 8H

But this year we’ve aligned our travel with American Air loyalty

I knew this year was going to be a big year of travel and challenged for American Air Platinum last fall. I knew I’d get a huge return on investment. And I have: Tons of those 100% bonus miles, free main cabin extra, 500 mile upgrades, and One World Sapphire has gained me access to lounges. It was a great deal.

Do we stay loyal after the Eulogy American Air just gave its program?

If you include travel that we’ve currently booked through July we will have over 60k EQM. It’s too late to turn back this year. But next year… I’ll probably enjoy my Exec Plat bennies and look elsewhere. Buttttt I want those bennies and will stick with them to get them! Here are the ones I’m most excited to rock

  • System Wide Upgrades: 4 when you hit 100k EQM or 120EQS

    • I want to try out the 787 to Haneda or the 777-200 to South America or even the 767 from ORD and JFK to Manchester. All of these would be possible on a cheap coach ticket and an SWU plopped on top.
      image courtesy of aa.com
      image courtesy of aa.com


  • 1st Class Lounges

    • AA Executive Platinum members are given One World Emerald status and gains you access to International First Class lounges.
      • Theoretically I could buy a cheap ticket from LAX-HND ( they had them for $500 earlier this year) use a SWU upgrade to fly business, and then visit the Japan Airlines First Class lounge.
    • I can eat fantastic Sushi in Japan
      I can eat fantastic Sushi in Japan
  • Complimentary upgrades domestically.

    • American Executive Platinum members will continue to get auto requested upgrades.
    • I fly to Indiana a lot and the first class cabin is rarely sold out.

But the biggest reason I’m going to Executive Platinum…Alaska Airlines

  • They consistently status match American Air EP to Alaska Air top tier MVP Gold75
    • 120% bonus on miles flown
    • 75k miles to retain status with Alaska, 90k with partner miles
    • 50k bonus when you retain status
    • Best points in the biz
      • even if they devalue their American chart
      • yes, even after the Emirates deval
      • they just added Japan Air
    • if bennies hold up…still have access to free main cabin extra on American, pre-board, and free bags
    • wait til after October to Match – otherwise your bennies run out end of year unless you qualify.

Will I fly on American next year?

Yes, if the price is right, and when I want to use my System Wide upgrades. Otherwise – I’ll search out the best deal

To conclude…

As Kenneth Lonergan might say, American Air’s Loyalty isn’t dead…it just smells bad

 Affiliate link via Card Ratings

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card


The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great starter card that earns Premium Ultimate Rewards that can be transferred into over a dozen partners many of which are US based. 

Welcome Offer

60k Points after $4k spend in 3 months

Annual Fee


Points Earned

Transferrable Chase Ultimate Rewards

If you carry this card alongside Chase’s cashback cards like the Chase Freedom Flex℠and Chase Freedom Unlimited® or the business versions: Ink Business Cash , Ink Business Unlimited you can combine the points into Preferred account and transfer into hotel and airline partners

Annual fee is quite low at $95 a year + you get a 10% anniversary bonus on points + $50 hotel credit in Chase travel.

  • 3x on dining
    •  including eligible delivery services for takeout
  • 3x on select streaming services
  • 3x on online grocery purchases
    • (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
  • 5x on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards – Chase Travel Portal
  • $50 Annual Credit on hotel stays purchased via Ultimate Rewards/Chase Travel
    • The begins immediately for new cardmembers and after your account anniversary for existing cardmembers
  • 10% Anniversary Bonus
    • Every year you keep the card, your total spend will yield a 10% points bonus. If you spend $10k in a year, you’ll get 1k bonus points
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® continues to redeem at 1.25c in the Chase Travel Portal and the slew of other benefits remain in tact including primary rental car insurance, purchase protections, etc.
  • Points are transferrable to 13 Ultimate Rewards partners
  • Redeem in the Chase Travel center for 1.25 cents per point
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Suite of Travel and Purchase Coverage
    • Primary rental car coverage is my favorite

We keep an up to date spreadsheet that lists the best ever offers: You can find that spreadsheet here.

Historically 80k is a very, very good offer and hit in both 2022 and 2023. In 2021, we saw the offer hit an all time high of 100k. Who knows if that will ever come back.

Main Cast: 

Cards that earn flexible points and should be used on the bulk of your purchases.

Supporting Cast:

Cards that earn fixed points in the currency of the airline/hotel and can not be transferred at attractive rates. These cards yield benefits that make it worth keeping, but not necessarily worth putting a lot of your everyday spend on. 

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