Mistake fares won’t earn bonus points towards status. From the promotion:
Airline tickets issued as a result of airfare offered inadvertently or by mistake will not be eligible for elite-qualifying points.
American is honoring $22++ business class tickets to China. This was news in just the past few weeks, and almost certainly had the issue of mistake fares front of mind as they rolled out this promotion.
I don’t recall ever seeing mistake fares called out as specifically ineligible for promotion earning (although I’ve seen some fares and rates excluded from earning, though not broadly and in terms and conditions).
I don’t really blame American, they’re awarding qualifying miles and redeemable miles and presumably also bonus redeemable miles as part of the premium fare promotion for 2015. But there’s fair notice that a promotion not in effect at the time of purchase of those China tickets won’t be awarded to them, and fare notice for the future as well.
I wonder, though, about the extra cost of coding those tickets to ensure that the fares don’t get bonused — whether the juice is worth the squeeze, as it were.
Still, mistake fare passengers get business (or upgraded first!) class travel plus miles and progress towards status. They’re on notice that they don’t earn status faster.