Members of American Airlines AAdvantage frequent flyer program should pay attention to their membership accounts once 2017 rolls around. The airline has announced some changes to its popular loyalty program that will become effective at the start of next year. There's no doubt that American Airlines is making changes to its loyalty program in an attempt to stay competitive by offering members more chances to earn free miles and other perks.

Whether you're already a member of the American Airlines AAdvantage program or you're thinking about joining in the year to come, these upgrades can really make an impact on the way you travel the world.

A New Elite Status Will Make Its Debut

American Airline will be celebrating 2017 by introducing a new elite status level to its program. Platinum Pro will go a step beyond the benefits offered by the Platinum status with the inclusion of the following:

  • Unlimited complimentary upgrades in 500-mile upgrade markets
  • Nine award miles per dollar spent
  • 72-hour upgrade window
  • Two free checked bags
  • oneworld® Sapphire status

Changes To Be On The Lookout For

The biggest change coming to the AAdvantage program revolves around the way elite status is earned. Qualifying for elite status will require you to meet specific thresholds for Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQDs) and Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) or Elite Qualifying Segments (EQSs). Here is a quick breakdown of how you can qualify:

  • Executive Platinum/oneworld® Emerald status requires 100,000 EQMs or 120 EQSs and $12,000 EQDs
  • Platinum Pro/oneworld® Sapphire requires 75,000 EQMs or 90 EQSs and $9,000 EQDs
  • Platinum/oneworld® Sapphire requires 50,000 EQMs or 60 EQSs and $6,000 EQDs
  • Gold/oneworld® Ruby requires 25,000 EQMs or 30 EQSs and $3,000 EQDs

Some Pointers To Remember Regarding Elite Status Qualification

It should be noted that EQDs will be awarded based on the ticket prices that you pay before government-imposed fees and taxes. This applies to flights that are marketed as American Airlines flights only, though. Flights that are marketed by oneworld® carriers and Alaska Airlines will earn EQDs based on a percentage of the flight distance and the fare class purchased.

Additional Changes

Not all of the changes that American Airlines is making to its loyalty program will be rolled out at the beginning of next year. The changes that will kick in at the start of January are just part of a multi-tiered process that is designed to make it easier for members to earn and use points along with other perks.

What other changes can AAdvantage members look forward to as 2017 progresses? American Airlines has already revealed that it will be giving members upgrade prioritization. This means that you'll be categorized according to your elite status level and earned EQDs in the last 12 months of member activity when it comes to getting seat upgrades.

The airline will also be introducing more upgrade options on award tickets a bit later in 2017. Executive Platinum members will soon be able to use their free 500-mile upgrade benefits on AAdvantage award tickets to upgrade from the main cabin to the next class upwards.