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July 13 - Hyatt and American Elite Members Can Participate in Reciprocal Benefits Challenges
Hyatt and American Airlines members with elite status have an opportunity to snag status benefits on both programs if they complete certain challenges. World of Hyatt Discoverist, Explorist and Globalist members can register by Sept. 30, 2021, and complete the qualifying challenge (involving flying on eligible American Airlines flights) within three months of registration to upgrade their AAdvantage status through January 2023.
Meanwhile, AAdvantage elite members can register by September 30, 2021, to start a free trial of Hyatt Explorist status for 90 days following registration. To gain Hyatt status, AAdvantage members will have to book some number of eligible stays at a Hyatt property as part of the status challenge. Upon completion of the challenge, AAdvantage elite members will earn World of Hyatt Explorist or Globalist status through February 2023.
June 29 - American Adds Two Options to Retain Elite Status
American's elite-retention efforts have been underwhelming so far this year. But, that changed today. American launched two new shortcuts to help existing elites retain their AAdvantage elite status through Jan. 31, 2023, and both options are quite achievable. Travelers even have the opportunity to extend existing AAdvantage elite status without taking a single flight.
American Airlines AAdvantage members that held elite status as of Jan. 1, 2021 can now retain that elite status through Jan. 31, 2023. To do so, elites need to complete one of two challenges:
Spend $15,000 on an AAdvantage credit card (between July 15 and Nov. 15, 2021).
Earn 2,000 EQD through flying (between Sept. 1 and Dec. 31, 2021).
May 26 - American and JetBlue Add Reciprocal Mileage Earnings
Starting today, AAdvantage members can earn miles and elite status credits when flying on JetBlue. Likewise, TrueBlue members can earn points and Mosaic status credits when flying on American. This marks a deepening of the cooperation between the two airlines, which originally announced a partnership in July 2020.
Both AAdvantage mileage earnings and TrueBlue point earnings are based on the amount spent on the flight. That's similar to how you earn AAdvantage miles on American flights and TrueBlue points on JetBlue flights. However, this announcement makes JetBlue the only AAdvantage partner airline where flyers earn miles based on the fare paid, instead of based on the distance of the flight.
Mileage redemptions haven't been implemented yet, but both airlines have hinted that reciprocal mileage redemptions are coming soon.
March 31 - American and Alaska Announce Elite Benefits
On March 31, Alaska Airlines joined the Oneworld Alliance — the alliance that American Airlines helped found in 1999. Now that Alaska is part of Oneworld, American and Alaska elite members are guaranteed elite benefits when flying on any Oneworld airline.
However, Alaska and American expanded elite benefits beyond the minimum required by the alliance. In November 2020, the two airlines teased that reciprocal upgrades would be added in mid-2021. Now, the two airlines surprised travelers by adding these perks at the end of March.
Here's what you need to know about the reciprocal elite upgrade and seat benefits for Alaska and American elites.
Feb. 23 - American Airlines Adds Free Bags to Certain Fares
In an effort to provide more consistent offerings across its flight network, American Airlines announced it is changing its bag policies and introducing an entirely new type of fare known as basic economy plus bag. Here's the most notable changes to existing fares:
All premium economy fares will now come with two free checked bags on all routes.
All main cabin fares on long-haul international flights will now include one free checked bag.
American's newest ticket, basic economy plus bag, is designed to get people flying internationally again by offering low, non-refundable fares that avoid bag fees. Travelers can purchase the fare for flights to Asia, Oceania, India and Israel. Keep in mind that the company's flexible change policies do not apply to basic economy fares or long-haul international flights and many of American Airlines' co-branded credit cards come with free checked bags as well.
Jan. 29 - American Airlines Announces Limited Time Changes to Admirals Club Access
As of April 1, passengers flying in first or business class between the U.S. and the Caribbean (including the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico), Canada, Mexico, and Central America — as well as those flying in a premium cabin on an international route — can access the Admirals Club lounges free of charge. Currently, the majority of passengers flying in premium cabins or on non-Flagship (first class) flights do not get access to the lounges, so this will make it a lot easier for more customers to enjoy Admirals Clubs.
Additionally, if you’re an Executive Platinum, Platinum Pro or Platinum AAdvantage member, as of April 1, you will have complimentary access to Admirals Clubs on international flights from the U.S. to Caribbean (including U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico), Canada, Central America and Mexico. Although American states that these changes are temporary, they are very consumer friendly so hopefully they will become permanent.
Photo courtesy of American Airlines.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card