Is AA Platinum Pro the New Douchiest Elite Status?

Travel elite status is about both internal and external benefits.

The internal are the things others don’t see. The quick telephone rebook during irregular operations.

The external are what others see and envy, which makes elite status feel good. Priority boarding and such-like.

A key component of the external is the elite status name. This will be used, judiciously or not, in speech by the traveler. It will pop up in boarding calls, and on luggage tags.

We all have our different standards for public display. I say my status in hushed tones at airport and hotel counters only when I feel it needs to be used to get the appropriate attention, such as a welcome amenity at a hotel prone to forgetting. I no longer use any luggage tags, though when I did it was only for top-tier, only current year, and only when they looked classy (meaning yes Delta, no United). Others will proudly display even a Silver.

American Airlines boxed itself into a corner with its status levels. They are confusing where Gold = everyone else’s Silver, Platinum = everyone else’s Gold, and Executive Platinum = everything else’s something distinguishing from lower levels. There are more than two types of metal on the Period Table.

With Platinum at 50k and Executive Platinum at 100k, American has now decided to fill in a 75k level, christened…Platinum Pro.

AA Platinum Pro

Cringe.

This strikes me as douchey from above and below.

To those lower on the elite ladder, Platinum Pro sounds especially pretentious. In recent years the phrase ‘Pro Tip’ has become common on the internet, almost always used in way condescending or snarky. It is so prevalent that it is now best to eschew using the word pro outside of its original context of ‘pro athlete,’ etc.

To those above, the Executive Platinum (and Concierge Key) it sounds precocious upstart, the way the CEO looks at the guy showing off that he made AVP when half the company holds the title. Pro? Ha! Not even the highest level! Be gone from my sight!

But hey, we can always just use an abbreviation…uh oh. PP doesn’t work so well and any effort to fight it will be futile, so when boarding, get ready to say it loud or not at all, “I am a PP, I have to go, let me through!”

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  • Tom

    To continue in the single metal thread, here are my new names for the bottom feeding levels: xGold = Not Platinum – NP, xPlat = Barely Platinum – BP. I’m now down graded to lifetime BP. Woo hoo.

  • J.J.

    Platinum Pro sounds like golf equipment.

  • Christian

    Great post. Thanks.

  • Ryan

    Well.. American is an airline run by a couple of clowns. Scott Kirby is the douchiest in the biz so why not have the douciest status. I mean seriously, the guy is dumb as a rock. Did anyone hear what he said about the new revenue based program bringing in new revenue. MORON!!

    Doug Parker is a drunk…..several DUI’s. My company doesn’t even hire in someone with one DUI into entry level management as it shows lack of responsibility. This guy is running an airline and has multiple. When you have those guys in control, dumb stuff happens.

  • Franklin

    Lol this has to be one of your best posts. I love it, especially the bit about the ‘pro tip’!!!

  • I look forward to overhearing gate lice say, “I’m a Platinum Pro. Look at the size of my PP (card).”

  • Pat

    Platinum Plus would have been better, except it’s the name of a strip club near my house.

  • Now that AAdvantage status is based on spend, I wish that American had taken the opportunity to change the names of their elite levels to something that better reflects the transactional nature of the customer relationship.

    My suggestions would have been:

    Gold = Marginal
    Platinum = Profitable
    Platinum Pro = Lucrative
    Executive Platinum = Whale

    These elite level names just seems more honest, and they also provide a subtle reminder to hit those elite spending targets each year.

  • Guys named Chad

    You could teach those other bloggers a thing or two – you have a much better chance of getting your blog read by using the word “Douchiest” in the title – a tremendously under-utilized term IMO.