All three have interesting consequences. AA seems to have de-emphasized butt-in-seat miles in favor of credit card spend. Marriott seems like a significant devaluation - they are essentially tying award pricing to the hotel’s rates, so the days of maximizing cents per point value seems gone. Hyatt still has the fixed charts, but there are pre-determined peak and off-peak dates. Thus value will likely still exist in the program.
Personally, I am going to lay off UR for a little while (we transfer to Hyatt) and funnel spend towards our grandfathered Priceline card. I just drained my UR points to book a week at the Grand Hyatt in Kauai before these changes went into effect. We booked for a stay in January and realized significant value by nabbing a fixed point rate during a peak winter travel time.
The tl/dr here, which has always been good advice anyway - burn points as quickly as you can, because these rewards programs can devalue at the drop of a hat.
The big news for us is that top tier is MS’able now if you still have a method.
Earning top-tier on AA has been difficult for years now for anyone but big spenders, so the program change isn’t really any different. The days of mileage running 100K for ExP on cheap fares are long gone.
I’ve sort of gotten off the status treadmill a decade or so ago, and just buy the odd F ticket when I can, or do it on miles. Status is a much better deal when you get it matched or do a challenge, and 2021 was great for that. Earning it the hard way is for chumps, or those who travel for work.
This is a great point. AA has deals with Citi and Barclays, right? Neither of those issuers is particularly averse to manufactured spend.
AA, on the other hand, has one of the most aggressive and stringent “revenue retention departments” in the industry. I could see them clamping down on cash equivalents counting towards elite status if manufactured spend “mints” new exec plats.
I guess AA sees more revenue potential as a bank as opposed to an airline? The message here seems to be, as you said, use our credit cards instead of buying tickets on our airplanes.
I can’t imagine them thinking too much about manufactured spend for this. Most people who can easily put 200k on a card in a year are small business owners they’d want as customers anyway. Or high-end leisure travelers.