Demoted to Gold

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American Airlines demoted me to Gold.

I got a very nice pre-printed letter in the mail informing me that I did not qualify for Platinum status any more. They said that if I wanted to pay either $549 or $629 to reinstate my Platinum status then I could. Thanks to Apple, I know know that’s the price of a mid-tier iPad. So, do I think being Platinum is worth an iPad?

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For context, I have flown 1 million miles with American.

This is not me making it up. It’s printed on my frequent flyer card. They were the ones to point it out. In fact, they made a big deal out of it and sent me another one of their pre-printed letters. That and they printed it on my frequent flyer card. It’s still on the new Gold one they just sent me.

So, I started thinking — what is it I get for being platinum anyway?

I’m very familiar with all the list of features and benefits from American. I’ve read the brochures. But for the life of me, I cannot think of a single benefit besides 72 hour upgrades. And most of my flights are commuter direct flights with no first class. So, I have 40+ unused segment upgrades just sitting in an account. I like the Admirals Club, but I’ve paid extra for that.

The truth is, anything that American is offering me pales in comparison to not flying as much.

My work allows me be home more. And because I am home I see my kids more. I’m coaching basketball, and driving them to school. We have dinner together, and I get the read to them before bed. A few of my clients are start-ups and I like to do what I can to save them money. American is consistently the most expensive flights for me – especially compared to Expedia or Kayak.

And it’s not just American. My hotels, rental cars, etc are all cheaper my disregarding my loyalty cards and buying online. I can get all the points I want via my credit card programs, which makes me a very disloyal traveler and less profitable to them. But it seems more profitable to me just about any way that I think about it.

So, I’m thankful to American for their attempted slight. And in light of the upcoming Olympic games, I’m reminded that gold’s not a bad thing.

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