American joins rivals by making it tougher to reach top frequent flyer status

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If you want to hit the top-tier frequent flyer status on American Airlines, you’ll have to spend more money.

United Airlines‘ recent decision to raise the threshold frequent flyers must spend every year in order to achieve Premier 1K status. Mileage Plus members will be required to spend at least $15,000 annually with United for top status. Delta’s required spending for its highest status, Diamond Elite, has been $15,000 for some time.

Donofrio said the more restrictive frequent flyer programs, along with airlines raising the cost of checking a first bag, shows the industry is focused on boosting ancillary revenues.

“This is what you get in a market with tight supply and heavy demand,” she said.

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