American Just Promised to Give “Plenty of Advance Notice” When Making Changes to AAdvantage

There was a big scare last week that American AAdvantage would no longer award full mileage for discount fares on British Airways or Iberia.

  • On September 24 new earning rates were posted to American’s website
  • But only in foreign languages
  • And to go into effect in just one week.

American made clear this was a mistake. we’ve seen other odd mistakes posted to American’s website this year, like that top tier status would require 120,000 miles flown rather than 100,000. Every time this happens it’s hard to imagine it wasn’t just a mistake to announce things early rather than to put the information up at all. In the case of elite status requirements though the announcement never came.

I haven’t gotten to the bottom of what prompted the wrong information being posted on foreign language AA.com web pages. Clearly someone mocked up very specifically what lower AAdvantage earning rates would look like for travel on British Airways and Iberia. It was specific information, with a specific implementation date (October 1).

But the information wasn’t right, that’s not what they’re doing at least not now (or October 1). And it isn’t what they’re about to do.


You won’t earn any miles on London Heathrow buses.

I still think it’s strange and unsustainable that you can still earn 100% flown miles on British Airways and Iberia when crediting flights to the AAdvantage program, after British Airways and Iberia devalued their own programs no longer award full mileage themselves. As it stands, anyone who lives in London even but does not earn status above British Airways Gold and can meet American’s minimum of 4 flights on their own planes to earn AAdvantage elite should clearly credit flights to American and not to BA.

That said, American’s Laura Nedbal makes one thing clear to me about changes like this:

[I]f we were to issue changes like this we would be certain to give plenty of advanced notice.

All of the messaging from AAdvantage for the past year and a half has been that they’ve internalized the importance of giving members advance notice of changes.

We can’t take statements like this to the bank per se, but it’s pretty declarative nonetheless.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Actually, the information about new BA and IB earning rates for AAdvantage was reported to have occurred in English on aa.com for a couple of hours as well.

    I’m guessing they will announce this as a change in the future; BAEC and Iberia Plus members have been discomfited for months now, and I can’t imagine IAG will not “spread the love” and leave only their members inconvenienced while AAdvantage members continue to reap the harvest.

  2. Why is such an arrangement so outrageous? SQ continues to give 100% mileage earning for all United fares even though United provides 5 miles per dollar (or greater depending on elite status) for United flights. Or do you expect that arrangement to end soon as well?

  3. You’re forgetting the other recent incident. AA did announce in advance that HA award availability for mainland–>the islands would be coming to an end. However when that took effect, AA also instituted another *unannounced* piece of the HA puzzle, that two awards are now required if using HA to continue from HNL to international destinations.

    So….AA supposedly learned their lesson in 2014 about announcing changes. Yet the dropped an unannounced change with the above. Then they “inadvertently/mistakenly” posted the BA earnings chart change – which I don’t doubt for a minute is eventually coming. But you think their latest promise has merit?

  4. @Eric for what it’s worth, and I’ve trolled AA on this quite a bit, they do not publish their award routing rules so changes to those fall in a bit of a different bucket. One of the least transparent things about American is their award routing rules, which is why I publish my guide to award bookings on the blog.

  5. @Daniel M – I have been surprised that SQ earning on United has lasted as long as it has. I love it though! some other programs have changed UA earning (like Thai) and others have changed BA earning (like Alaska) in the meantime..

  6. But American DID publicly announce in advance the ending of HA availability mainland to Hawaii. To have left out the “oh by the way” about the other HA related change is disingenuous and inconsistent with announcing in advance part of the change but not the very closely related other part.

    And in fact the current HA partner information on AA.com now lists only Hawaii-to-HA’s-overseas-destinations as possible HA redemptions. So, one can’t really say that this doesn’t count because “AA doesn’t normally publish this sort of info” when in fact they do and have done so with this very information. It’s just that AA didn’t provide any advance notification of this.

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