It’s my Anniversary: Ten years with AAdvantage

Happy Anniversary From American Airlines

This week marks my 10th year with AAdvantage, and to tell the truth, I forgot our anniversary.  But the new AAdvantage President Suzanne Rubin didn’t, and I received this Happy Anniversary email from American Airlines:

Dear [AAdvantage Geek]

We know you have a choice when it comes to air travel and we appreciate the business you have given us this past year. Today, we’d like to extend a special thanks to you as you celebrate your 10th AAdvantage anniversary.

Since we launched the world’s first frequent flyer program in 1981, we have worked hard to provide great value whether you earn your miles by flying or through products and services offered by the wide range of companies participating in the AAdvantage program. And now, your miles are redeemable for award travel on more than 20 participating airlines to nearly 950 destinations in almost 150 countries worldwide.

Thank you again for your business. We look forward to seeing you on an American Airlines flight soon!

Suzanne L. Rubin
President, AAdvantage Loyalty Program
American Airlines, Inc.

I’m a little embarrassed, I didn’t get her anything.  I’m not the only one though.  The Weekly Flyer over at Points, Miles, & Martinis also celebrated his 10th Anniversary with AAdvantage this week, and I’m pretty sure he didn’t her anything either.  I’m certain she’s used to it by now,

It’s hard to believe ten years with AAdvantage have gone by so quickly. I remember when we met.

It was 2002. I was a loyal Delta SkyMiles member about to make my first trip on American.

Our first date was to Detroit. It was fun.  I earned 986 miles. I enjoyed it.

After that first trip, I wasn’t ready to leave Delta yet (that would happen later in 2002) but looking back, it’s not so much that I left Delta, we just parted ways.

I got used to “More Legroom in Coach” and Delta got tired of fighting American, and shut down their hub at DFW.

In those ten years, I used my miles for free travel, I’ve been able to use miles to bring a friend or family member along with me when I went on a vacation, I’ve used my miles to upgrade to the front of the plane.  I’ve gotten far more out of the AAdvantage Program than I ever expected.

It’s been fun, but it’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years.  So much has changed…back then:

My laptop: Apple G3 PowerBook. 333MHz with a 20GB hard drive and a 2X DVD-ROM

American Airlines Hubs: ORD, DFW, MIA, JFK, LAX, SJC, RDU, BOS

American still operated the Boeing 727. The final 727 passenger flight happened a little later on April 30, 2002

Complimentary meals were still offered in coach

American still published a system timetable

I still carried around the OAG Pocket Guide

Kim Cattrall was on the cover of American Way Magazine

There were 10 oneworld member airlines (compared to 12 full members now)

American still had airphones

Number of planes equipped with wifi. In 2002: 0. In 2012: more than 175

Baggage Allowance: Two pieces with total outside dimensions not exceeding 62 inches each. One piece with total outside dimensions not exceeding 45 inches. Checked baggage may weigh up to 70 pounds

Remember this?  It’s the American Airlines website back in 2002 (credit Internet Wayback Machine at

American Airlines Website 2002


I didn’t think that 10 years could go by so quickly. It’s been fun though….and I hope to make it to my 50th!

What’s changed since you first joined AAdvantage?


  1. Happy 10 year anniversary! I just looked back and see that I’ve been a member since February 29, 2000. Maybe they forgot my 10 year anniversary since that date never existed in 2010!

    • @ Mrs. Deals – I hope you don’t have to wait till you’ve been a member for forty years before you get your 10th Anniversary greeting!

      @ The Weekly Flyer – ThAAnks!!

    • @ Darren – Thanks! Back in the day, I wouldn’t travel with the OAG. It’s not like I’m looking for them, but I can’t remember the last time I saw one on the magazine rack at an airport bookstore.

  2. really?!?!?! I’ve been a member since sept 21 1987 and granted I have only accumulated 500k+ miles since i joined…I find it rather fascinating that I’ve never gotten acknowledgment for my longstanding membership…

    25 years this september and i’ve never seen a card or even an email…hmmmm…..

  3. Just re-attained PLAT status–and what thanks due I get? A friggin’ homework assignment in my welcome kit. I open up my kit which includes my new card, and then I see some coupons for free drinks, admirals club passes, etc(or so I thought). Instead they’re forms for me to fill out for outstanding service–THEN they want me to mail it in (provide envelope AND postage! What kinda marketing is this? MORONS!

    • @ Steve – Congratulations on reaching Platinum!!

      Those forms you fill out for outstanding service are “AApplause Certificates”. You can give them to AA employees in recognition of an excellent customer service experience. Here’s how they’re described at

      American Airlines created the AApplause Program in response to requests by premium customers. The program enables premium customers to award AApplause certificates to recognize and show appreciation to employees who provide excellent customer service. In 2010, over 160,000 AApplause certificates were received by employees representing various functional areas, including reservations agents, ticket counter agents, flight attendants, and pilots.

      I’m not sure what they do with them or if they’re linked to some kind of employee incentive program, but you don’t have to do anything with them (except hand them out).

      Thanks for reading and may all your upgrades clear!!

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