Lately I've been getting the runaround from American AAdvantage Customer Service and since my requests have been ignored, I decided to post this very unfair situation that I am experiencing. The trend that American Airlines has been using in recent years in communicating with its customers is done solely or exclusively through emails. This "back and forth" of email exchanges are unproductive and time consuming to say the least. What American Airlines is doing is hiding behind a computer screen is to avoid direct contact with its customers. It is intended, no doubt, to give customers both vague and non engaging responses.
To put it in a different way, I would say, their responses are, for the most part, an automated reply with an easy fit for all hoping that customers will, in return, give up and abandon their quest for a reply. I can only imagine the frustrations of older people in similar situations since they are not acquainted with communicating via emails.
The changes American Airlines has made recently to their AAdvantage Air Miles Program was done exclusively to their advantage to the detriment of its customers. American has reduced the benefits of its Air Miles Program and at the same time has increased air miles requirements to redeem an award travel. I joined American AAdvantage air miles program (also called "AAdvantage Loyalty Program") in April of 2004 and have accumulated to date hundreds of thousands of miles.
I have found in years passed that American AAdvantage was (if compared to others) one of the best frequent flyer programs as far as flights and dates for rewards availability. Yet, since the merger of American Airlines with US Airways in 2013 things started to change. I have, for the most part, always used my miles to travel to Canada from Miami during the summer months and have always booked award travel months in advance.
Beginning in the spring of 2013, I have found that flight availability for MileSAAver awards has become scarce on the daily nonstop flights service to Montreal. The flights that were being offered had connections with terrible layovers. The nonstop flights were available but at the Economy AAnytime award requiring double the mileage (25K) for a one-way segment. In 2014 and 2015 the same situation took place and I have not been able to book and get decent flight schedules for the MileSAAver award travel to Canada. This has forced me to use the two other air carriers' air miles programs I have > Delta's SkyMiles & United Airlines' MileagePlus.
The merger with USAirways may have been a good thing for American but not for their customers. I say this because in the past, I have, on occasion, used my US Airways Dividend Miles as an alternative to travel to Canada but because of the ongoing merger with American, it was difficult to find award seats on US Airway at any of the lower two mileage redemption levels.
Now in the spring of 2016 things have gotten even worse. American has decided to increase award levels for travel to Canada to 15K from 12.5K. Now for travel within the 48 contiguous US States, American came up with a new sub-category of their economy AAnytime award (coach class) with 2 award levels: the economy AAnytime Level 1 requiring 25K miles and economy AAnytime Level 2 requiring 30K to 40K miles and this again, just for a one-way segment. This excess in mile requirements is called "gouging" as far as I'm concerned. The new sub-category platform now used on American flights to U.S. and Canadian cities is just another way for American to gouge its customers out of as many miles as they can. I feel the recent changes are totally unfair.
Not only has American increased award levels but has also changed (re-shuffled) the Reduced Mileage Award Program by eliminating several U.S. and Canadian destinations from it. What is the reason behind this move? Why was this important benefit for Citi Card & Barclaycard credit card holders taken away? The remaining U.S. cities on that list - at the present time - are not all prime destinations and they are for the most part small towns destinations.
The reduced Mileage Award offers miles reduction up to 7,500 miles on a round-trip ticket for premium credit card holders. I am paying a $95 Annual fee to Citi card to keep my Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select MasterCard and also $89 for my BarclayCard Aviator MasterCard for the reduced mileage award benefit. Now that this benefit has been highly reduced, is it worth it to keep these credit cards?
In May, I sent a letter to American Airlines' VP Marketing at their headquarter in Dallas and also to the Director of Customer Relations in Phoenix AZ, requesting an explanation regarding the recent changes made to the AAdvantage Miles Program. My letter was sent to a representative in the AAdvantage Customer Service Dept. The rep only used her first name and her last name first initial - CORINA/C and she has been communicating with me only via emails. The response I got from the representative did not address the concerns I have regarding American's recent changes to their AAdvantage Airlines Program.
What I received was a bogus and an easy fit for all responses for the sole purpose of dodging my questions hoping that I will give up and abandon my quest for a reply. I have sent the anonymous representative (Corina/C) a 3rd email requesting to be contacted by phone to further discuss this matter. I have always felt that the best and most effective way to resolve an issue with either a vendor or supplier of services is to communicate by phone.
I have also informed the anonymous representative that if I do not get a call back from her or someone else within her department with satisfactory responses, I will pursue the matter by posting this unfair situation to internet base consumer's complaint websites. Since my request for a call back has been ignored, I decided to post this unfair situation on this website [Consumer Affairs]. As I said in the beginning of this expose, the AAdvantage air miles used to be one the best Air Mile Program available, but now it has changed to the point that it should be renamed DIS-AAdvantage Air Miles Program.
Product or Service Mentioned: American Airlines Aadvantage Reward Card.
Reason of review: Poor customer service.
American Airlines Cons: Lack of help resolving issues, Customer care.