American Airlines’ Loyalty Program Is Changing for the Better in 2024

In addition to offering more ways to earn and redeem points in 2024, AAdvantage will reward all members from the get-go, regardless of elite status.

American Airlines Plane at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport

Loyalty Points allow AAdvantage members to earn status by flying American and its airline partners—as well as without ever leaving the ground.

Photo by Shutterstock

While many loyalty programs run on the calendar year, the qualifying year for elite status on American Airlines AAdvantage begins on March 1 annually and runs through the end of February the following year. In anticipation of the end of one qualifying year and the dawn of another, the program has announced a series of upcoming changes—and they’re all for the better. In short, elite status and reward levels will remain the same, but AAdvantage members will have more avenues for earning rewards and redeeming them. Also, AAdvantage will start rewarding all its members from the get-go, regardless of their elite status, with access to exclusive members-only benefits. After speaking with AAdvantage Director Chris Isaac, here’s what we know so far.

Introducing exclusive AAdvantage member benefits

While other airline programs are focusing on rewarding their biggest spenders, AAdvantage seeks to offer benefits for members at any level, beginning in 2024. “We are making it easy to be our best customer,” said Isaac in an interview with AFAR. “In the past, [benefits] required hitting a status level. Now we are really turning historical loyalty programs on their head this year and making membership mean something from day one by granting benefits right at the point of enrollment.”

AAdvantage membership, which is free and requires a one-minute sign-up process, will roll out the following benefits throughout 2024. Some are brand-new, while other existing benefits currently available to everyone—like American’s 24-hour trip hold—will become member-exclusive perks.

  • Cancellation of non-refundable Basic Economy tickets for a partial trip credit for a fee
  • Same-day standby for earlier domestic flights, free of charge
  • Extended Trip Credit of six extra months (compared with the Trip Credit of non-members) when canceling travel online
  • Access to Admirals Club lounges with purchased One-Day Passes
  • Access to Flagship Lounges with Single-Visit Passes
  • 24-hour trip hold

Going all-in on Loyalty Points and keeping status levels the same

During the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic, the AAdvantage program implemented major changes, moving to a single metric for elite status: Loyalty Points. Though they often overlap, Loyalty Points and AAdvantage miles differ in that the former is tallied for elite status while the latter is the number of miles banked for redeeming awards.

Loyalty Points allow AAdvantage members to earn status by flying American and its airline partners—as well as without ever leaving the ground. Points accrued from partners through AA’s cobranded credit cards as well as proprietary shopping, dining, hotel, and events platforms all are fair game for climbing the status ladder. Additionally, in 2024, members can earn both Loyalty Points and AAdvantage miles when paying with cash to upgrade to a premium cabin (currently purchased upgrades do not qualify for either).

“We wanted to make our program simple and easy to understand and bring more people in,” Isaac said. American Airlines is now seeing record numbers of new members.

Last year, the AAdvantage program began awarding elite-like perks with Loyalty Rewards, gifted upon reaching 11 thresholds: the first being 15,000 Loyalty Points, which is far earlier than the 40,000 points required to reach Gold elite status, and the last being 5,000,000 points. Meanwhile, elite status and a full suite of elite benefits are obtained at the following numbers: 40,000 for Gold, 75,000 for Platinum, 125,000 for Platinum Pro, and 200,000 for Executive Platinum. Thankfully, the status and reward levels of the 15-step program (inclusive of both Loyalty Point Rewards and elite-status rungs) will remain unchanged in the upcoming qualification year.

In 2024, there will be new enhanced Loyalty Point Reward choices at specific levels. Currently, a 15,000 Loyalty Point Reward entails a choice between Priority Privileges and Group 4 Boarding for a single trip or five Preferred Seat Coupons. A new Loyalty Point Reward option is getting additional Loyalty Points toward AAdvantage status, with the option of a 1,000-point bump at the 15,000 Loyalty Point Reward level, a 5,000-point bump at the 175,000 level, and up to a 30,000-point push at the 250,000 level. This is a welcomed choice for those who already have status and receive many of the benefits associated with lower-level Loyalty Point Rewards.

Enhancing redemption opportunities

In 2023, AAdvantage members redeemed approximately 14 million separate awards for flights, upgrades, car rentals, hotel bookings, club memberships, and merchandise. Later this year, customers will also be able to redeem miles with select airline partners for upgrades. Currently, this option exists for select Iberia and British Airways flights, but it will soon become more comprehensive across OneWorld partners. Plus, members with AAdvantage Platinum Pro status or higher will be able to redeem miles for Flagship First Dining passes to dine in style before their flight in Flagship First lounges.


American Airlines AAdvantage loyalty program have become more rewarding in 2024, especially at the entry level. Elite requirements remain the same, but there are more opportunities to earn Loyalty Points and AAdvantage miles—and redeem them. In total, this is a winning situation for members at all tiers and is extra encouraging for those just getting into the loyalty program game.

Paul Rubio is an award-winning travel journalist and photographer. His byline appears in AFAR, Conde Nast Traveler, Fodor’s, LUXURY, MSN, NerdWallet, Palm Beach Illustrated, Yahoo Lifestyle and more. He has visited 133 countries (and counting) over the past 20 years and won 27 national awards for his writing and photography. When he’s not plotting out his next trip, Paul loves to spend time at home watching reruns of Portlandia and Parks and Recreation with his husband and rescue dog, Camo.
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