American Airlines keeps getting worse and worse

Less than 2 years ago, I held Gold elite status on American Airlines, despite being based in a non-American hub (San Francisco).

Flash-forward to today, where I’ve not only gotten rid of my American status, but I’ve also canceled two of my American Airlines co-branded credit cards and where I’m actively avoiding the airline.

Why? Well, a few reasons.

The first was American Airlines eliminating its partnership with Alaska Airlines. While I totally understand that this happens, my issue here was that American Airlines announced the change in July 2017, which was a big deal to me, since I had already spent 7 months earning miles on Alaska Airlines (I was going for status on Alaska with my American flights because, up until American cutting the partnership, status on Alaska was basically the same as having as status on American, and vice versa).

Another reason is that customer service on American Airlines has gone completely downhill. One of my favorite travel bloggers, Lucky at One Mile at a Time, has written a ton of blog posts about this (and so have many others in the travel blogging community). If you don’t have status and end up needing to call American, except to speak to someone who is completely unfriendly, unhelpful, and trying to get you off the phone completely.

Third, American Airlines award available has quite recently turned to crap. I had 140,000 miles to use and couldn’t find reasonable routing to Europe or South America over the last 2 years (which I know is such an awesome problem to have, but it’s still an issue). If you want to book something using miles with American, particularly if it’s a “Saver” route, expect to be routed to 2-3 different airports, even if there are more direct flights generally available. Also, when you try to book business class, you’ll often get a mixed cabin award, with the longest flight actually being in economy (so, for instance, I wanted to book a business class flight between SFO and Sydney, and while the rate they wanted to charge me was full-fare business class, only the flight between LAX and SFO was in business, and the flight from LAX to Sydney was in coach).

Finally, American Airlines has completely slashed its credit card benefits and has made it almost impossible for travelers like myself (who find awesome deals) to get anything above Gold status. They even eliminated the ability to earn EQD through their famous Red Aviator card.

Just 2 years ago, I would have ranked American Airlines as the 3rd best in the U.S. (below Alaska/Virgin and Delta). Now, I rank it 6th, below Alaska, Delta, United, JetBlue, and Southwest.

American Airlines limits EQD waiver through Barclaycard

In recent years, Delta, United, and American have instituted a rule that in order to qualify for elite status, you need to spend a certain amount of money on flights through the airline. American Airlines calls these Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQD).

Below is a chart for how to qualify for American elite status:

American Elite

So, for example, if you wanted to earn Platinum status, you would need to fly either 50,000 miles or 60 segments and you would need to spend $6,000 EQD’s.

The EQD requirement is a major hassle for travelers like myself who are able to amass this much travel by spending very little (I’ll get 50,000 miles on United this year with EQD’s of around $1,200).

But, luckily, all three airlines (Delta, American, and United) had a workaround — if you spend at least $25,000 on a co-branded credit card, the EQD requirement would be waived until at least the third-highest-level status (Platinum Pro on American and Platinum on United).

I’m trying to decide if I want to keep my American Airline Barclaycard, so was looking at the benefits and noticed a major change from American: now, if you spend $25,000 on the Barclaycard, you will only be given an EQD of $3,000 (enough for the lowest Gold status), but nothing more.

American sucks

This is a disappointing move from American and will make it so many loyal American customers will no longer be able to obtain status above Gold.

I’m still going to keep the card because of 3 other benefits that it offers: priority boarding, 10% back on miles spent on award flights, and great award travel availability. But my fear is that those benefits may disappear in the coming months as well.

Will American slashing the EQD waiver on the Barclaycard affect you? Let me know in the comments!

NAACP issues travel advisory for American Airlines

Citing a “pattern of disturbing incidents,” the NAACP is warning African Americans not to fly on American Airlines.

“The NAACP for several months now has been monitoring a pattern of disturbing incidents reported by African-American passengers, specific to American Airlines,” the press release said. “Booking and boarding flights on American Airlines could subject them to disrespectful, discriminatory or unsafe conditions.”

The organization then gave an account of four incidents which “suggest[ ] racial bias,” according to NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson. An account of these incidents can be found here.

For a full write-up on this developing story, check out the NY Daily News.

Portland Trip Deal: $271 round-trip from PDX to Quito, Ecuador on American Airlines

American Airlines is putting flights from Portland, Oregon to Quito, Ecuador on sale! Flights start at $271 round-trip, after taxes with availability in September and October 2017.

This is an incredible deal to South America and if you’re thinking of going, this deal won’t last long!

To find this deal, use Kiwi.com or Google Flights and search for flights between PDX and UIO.