AAdvantage

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AAdvantage is the frequent flyer program of American Airlines (AA). It is pronounced "advantage," i.e. the first letter is silent. Launched May 1, 1982, it was the first such loyalty program in the world, and remains the largest with over 45 million members as of 2004.

Miles accumulated in the program allow members to redeem tickets, upgrade service class, or obtain free or discounted car rentals, hotel stays, merchandise, or other products and services through partners. The most active members, based on the amount and price of travel booked, are designated AAdvantage Gold, AAdvantage Platinum, and AAdvantage Executive Platinum elite members, with privileges such as separate check-in, priority upgrade and standby processing, or complimentary upgrades. They also receive similar privileges from AA's partner airlines, notably those in the Oneworld airline alliance.

History

Increased competititon following the 1978 Airline Deregulation Act prompted airline marketing professionals to develop ways to reward repeat customers and build brand loyalty. The first idea at American, a special "loyalty fare," was modified and expanded to offer complimentary first class tickets and upgrades to first class for companions, or discounted coach tickets. Membership was seeded by searching AA's SABRE computer reservations system for recurring phone numbers. The 130,000 most frequent flyers, plus an additional 60,000 members of AA's lounge network, the Admiral's Club, were pre-enrolled and sent letters with their new account numbers. The name was selected by AA's advertising agency.

Scarcely six days later, rival United Airlines launched its Mileage Plus program, followed by other airlines in the ensuing months and years. The rapid appearance of competition changed the nature of the program, and as airlines began to compete on the features of their frequent flyer programs, AAdvantage liberalized its rules, established partnerships with hotel and rental car agencies, and offered promotions such as extra free beverages. In 1982 AAdvantage also became the first program to cooperate with an international carrier; members could accrue and redeem miles on British Airways flights to Europe.

References

External link

  • AAdvantage Program (http://www.aa.com/content/AAdvantage/programDetails/main.jhtml?anchorEvent=false) official site
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