In July of 2014 I made a decision to exclusively fly American Airlines for all future travel, work or pleasure, I would only book American flights. Often, I would end up paying a few extra dollars to fly American or take take less convenient flights to earn as many AAdvantage miles as possible. At the end of 2014 I had qualified for AAdvantage Gold status, my first taste of airline status. By far the most valuable benefit of earning Gold status was the ability to fly standby on earlier flights without a fee. I often would book the last flight of the day for less and fly on a much earlier flight.
In 2015, I ended up flying well over 50,000 miles on American Airlines, short of my goal, but enough to reach AAdvantage Platinum status. I was frequently upgraded on US Airways flights, thanks to a generous upgrade policy while flying on then US Airways operated flights. Then, shortly after the merger with US Airways, American announced several enhancements to the the AAdvantage program. I was disappointed, but still willing to stick with American Airlines. The most recent news, of American switching to a revenue based system (not surprising) was the final blow and I have come to the conclusion that it no longer makes sense to exclusively fly on American.
A few months ago, filmmaker Casey Neistat published a video about breaking up with American Airlines and I thought he was being dramatic, but I now understand where he was coming from. If I still flew nearly every week for work, flying American would still make sense, but now I pay for a decent portion of my travel and worse, my job has some very strict rules about the price of airfare. When traveling personally or for work, I will only be able to pay for very cheap airfare, making it incredibly difficult to earn status in a revenue based system. I honestly am not sure if I will spend over $6,000 in airfare in 2017 and know that I will not hit $12,000 even if I am able to fly the 100,000 miles.
Another reason it is time to break up with American is the enhancements to the Citi Prestige Card. My Citi prestige card got me access to Admirals Clubs when flying on American Airlines. This was another reason I would often choose American, but starting in July 2017. Citi is dropping this benefit. Assuming this does not change, I will most likely downgrade the card to the Citi Thank You Premier card and use my American Express Platinum Card for Delta Lounge Access.
Ultimately, with the legacy domestic carriers switching to revenue based systems, it no longer makes sense to fly on only one airline. I am going to miss American, but look forward to flying several different airlines in the future.