Regular AirlineReporter readers likely know by now that I am a Southwest Airlines loyalist. No, not every flight I take is with Southwest, but indeed, most are. There are many reasons for my loyalty which I think I have done well to document over the years. But with each piece discussing my loyalty to the LUV airline, I get comments, tweets, and emails urging me to take my loyalty elsewhere. The perennial argument typically focuses on a chance at upgrades, and, in general, feeling “rewarded.”
Any given year I typically fly just enough between my day job, leisure, and AirlineReporter gigs to renew Southwest A-List. Like so many of my frequently flying cohorts, by the time Q4 hits I’m often in panic mode, forecasting upcoming travel and ensuring I’m on track for status renewal. Because of this there typically isn’t much wiggle room for me to experiment with other carriers.
This year has unfolded differently. By September I was well ahead of schedule for renewal, with multiple upcoming trips sure to push me over the mark. Sadly A-List Preferred was not in reach. For the first time in years, I didn’t have to worry about renewal and had the opportunity to start revisiting some of the other carriers with more regularity. But was there any incentive to? And who might I focus on? My backup airline is typically Delta, my favorite of the legacies. I fly them a few times per year already so I likely wouldn’t learn anything new. What about United? As a Lifetime Titanium perk, Marriott Bonvoy granted me complimentary United Silver status. But United is my least favorite airline…
American Airlines Offers Gold Trial
I want to be upfront here- I do not believe American Airlines offering me a gold trial had anything to do with AirlineReporter. My AvGeek wife and fellow Southwest fan received the exact same invite a few weeks earlier. Additionally, these sorts of promos seem pretty standard as airlines flight for loyal flyers. The airline doesn’t share what the magic sauce is to trigger these, but I would venture to assume that our trip to fly the MD-80 one last time (in Main Cabin Extra) is what got us on their radar. Perhaps they assumed we were “premium” flyers ripe for poaching?
My offer was pretty straight forward. I would be granted provisional gold status for roughly three months. The promo included ten 500-mile upgrades just for registering. And, if I could meet an EQD and EQM challenge, I would unlock gold through 2020.
I haven’t paid American Airlines much attention in recent years. With some room to experiment with other airlines, I happily registered and started with booking a trip to San Francisco to cover the Exabeam conference.
Stay tuned for future pieces in the series as I reflect on my travels as I fly American Airlines as a gold elite member.