AAdvantage Million Miler status has long been an unofficial program that recognizes AAdvantage members for earning more than a million AAdvantage Miles by awarding them lifetime Gold or Platinum status.  All miles, whether earned with American Airlines or with a program partner, have till now, counted towards Million Mile Status.

For months there’s been speculation in the frequent flyer forums that there would be a changes to which miles would count towards earning Million Miler status.  Earlier this summer Maya Leibman, President of the AAdvantage Loyalty Program, confirmed that changes were being considered, and today American Airlines has made it official with this announcment:

The new AAdvantage Million Miler program recognizes and rewards AAdvantage members when Million Miler thresholds are achieved. Starting on December 1, 2011, base miles earned by flying on American Airlines, American Eagle or the AmericanConnection carrier or any eligible AAdvantage program participating airline will count towards Million Miler status. Also, as a limited time offer, one mile for every dollar spent on eligible purchases using the new Citi Executive / AAdvantage World Elite MasterCard credit card that post to billing statements through December 2012 will count toward Million Miler status. The Citi Executive / AAdvantage World Elite™ MasterCard credit card account must be open and in good standing by December 1, 2011.

AAdvantage Members will enjoy the following benefits when Million Miler status is reached:

At one million (1,000,000) Million Miler miles, AAdvantage members will receive lifetime AAdvantage Gold status and 35,000 AAdvantage bonus miles
At two million (2,000,000) Million Miler miles, AAdvantage members will receive lifetime AAdvantage Platinum status and four (4) one-way systemwide upgrades
At each additional Million Miler mark, AAdvantage members will receive four (4) additional one-way systemwide upgrades
For all members, your beginning Million Miler balance on December 1, 2011, will include every AAdvantage mile you ever earned in the program. This Program to Date balance is currently reflected in your AAdvantage account on AA.com. On December 1, 2011, Million Miler activity will be displayed in your AAdvantage account on AA.com separately from award miles so progress toward reaching this special designation can be easily tracked.

It’s a special honor to be recognized with Million Miler status – and it is our distinct pleasure to reward such loyalty.

By only counting miles earned flying with the airline, the changes bring the Million Miler program in line with similar programs offered at other airlines. I suspect that because of all the large credit card bonus offers it was becoming much easier to attain Million Mile status, and that in American’s view, the ranks of Million Milers had grown too large.

Back in May, milepoint forum founder Randy Peterson hosted a live chat with Maya Leibman giving members an opportunity to ask questions and the first one she was asked was “Are there any plans to modify or cancel the million miles program?”.

Her response was “(T)here is limited information we can share..(w)hat I can say is that if we decide to make changes to the program, we commit to clearly communicate to our members and provide as much advance notice as possible.”

True to her word, American is giving AAdvantage members 3 months advance notice of the changes, so few people should feel caught off guard by the changes.

I’ve still got some ways to go till I hit the Million Mile mark, so the changes don’t bother me. I’m sure others that are closer to achieving Million Miler status might feel differently, I know I would.

Some day, when I’ve got more miles behind me than ahead of me I hope to have Million Mile status, but for now I have many more places to go and many more AAdvantage Miles ahead of me and hopefully still more time for both, so as long as I at least maintain Gold status each year, I don’t see that the changes will make much difference to me right now.

Stay here and share your thoughts with a comment or follow the reaction in the milepoint or FlyerTalk forums.

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