I briefly noted last night that American had published new charts for earning miles on partner airlines.
Sharing How Partner Tickets Will Count Towards Minimum Spend for Elite Status
The biggest change was adding detail on how many elite qualifying dollars you’ll earn when you fly partner airlines next year. American is going to require a minimum amount of spending — in addition to minimum miles or segments flown — to earn elite status. And they don’t know how much you spend on a partner airline ticket, so they’ll award qualifying dollars based on the distance you fly and the fare class of your ticket. Each airline has a different chart for this.
As reader john said, “Good grief! This is too complicated for 99% of fliers to comprehend and retain.”
American Airlines Airbus A319
Reducing Mileage-Earning on Partner Tickets — For Travel Starting in 2 Weeks
In addition to telling us how many elite qualifying dollars we will earn flying on partner airlines, they’ve also reduced the amount of redeemable frequent flyer miles we will earn flying on certain partners and on certain fares.
The first example of this that I gave was expensive H fares on British Airways going from earning 1 mile per mile flown down to only earning 50% of the miles you actually fly. Changes to mileage-earning on the first several partners I had a look at changed for only a few fare classes.
However this morning I’ve had a chance to go through the partner mileage-earning chart changes more thoroughly and for some partners the changes are really bloody.
Here are key things to understand:
- When you fly an American Airlines-marketed flight (American Airlines flight number, whether the flight is operated by American or a partner) you will earn based on the cost of the ticket starting August 1 except in a handful of cases like tickets purchased through AA Vacations.
- If you are flying on a partner airlines flight number, then you earn based on the partner airlines chart. If you fly British Airways with a British Airways flight number, you earn based on the British Airways chart. If you are flying American Airlines but you have a British Airways flight number, then you earn based on the partner airline chart.
These charts apply to flights taken August 1 onward. It’s when you travel, not when you bought your ticket.
- American posted these charts on July 15, to go into effect August 1.
- American has not informed members of these changes.
- American’s plan to combine reservation systems with US Airways was predicated on the idea that tickets are largely purchased within 90 days of travel. Yet we didn’t get anything close to 90 days’ notice. That’s shameful.
Here are Some of the Major Changes to Partner Earning
Finnair flights currently earn 100% of miles flown, even on deep discount economy fares.
For travel August 1 onward, discount economy tickets will only earn redeemable miles based on 50% or even 25% of the distance flown. That’s as much as a 75% earning devaluation. Talk about dumping bad news on a Friday afternoon amidst a terror attack in Nice, Donald Trump’s Vice Presidential nominee announcement, and an attempted coup in Turkey!
Three airberlin fare classes drop from earning 100% of flown miles down to 50%. Here’s earning up through July 31 for H, K, and M fares:
And here’s August 1 onward:
LAN fares have earned 100% of flown miles internationally even on deep discount fare classes and will continue to do so for travel through July 31.
Starting travel August 1 it takes full fare coach to earn 100% of flown miles, and some fares earn only 25%.
Crediting economy Malaysia Airlines flights to AAdvantage wasn’t super-generous to begin with.
However American has carved out a new category for fares that used to earn 50% of flown miles to earn just 25% of flown miles. That’s cutting earning in half.
Something similar happened to earning with Royal Jordanian. Here’s current earning:
Starting August 1, only full fare tickets will earn 100% of flown miles. More fare classes earn at 50%, there’s a new category for earning just 25%, and an additional fare class that will not earn at all.
Travel on non-oneworld partner airline Alaska Airlines currently earns 100% of miles flown.
That will drop to as little as 25% of flown miles. (And note that Y and B fares are not first class fares contra the chart below)
Non-oneworld partner airline Etihad currently earns 100% of miles flown.
That drops to as little as 25% of flown miles on August 1 — as much as a 75% devaluation.
There are other partners, like Hawaiian Airlines, where reductions in mileage-earning are similar.
Changes Were Expected — But Releasing the Charts Now and Putting Them Into Effect August 1 is Poor Form
Ultimately none of this is super surprising — even 75% devaluations — given that cheaper American flights won’t earn very many miles anymore, so American’s generosity on cheap fares on partner airlines wasn’t going to last.
In cases where the devaluations aren’t significant — like British Airways — it’s largely because American already did the devaluation months ago.
But sharing new earning rates only two weeks in advance (and they haven’t even notified members of the changes), and not honoring the old rates for tickets purchased prior to publication of these charts, is most unfortunate. If they couldn’t publish the charts until now, they could have had those charts go into effect a couple of months from now.