Flew Short American Flights This Year? You Might Have Been Shorted Elite Qualifying Miles

Elites earn a minimum of 500 frequent flyer miles on short flights, still, with American AAdvantage plus their elite bonus. Dallas – Austin is just 190 miles one-way but as an Executive Platinum I earn a 100% bonus on miles flown. Thanks to the 500 mile minimum I earn 1000 miles for the segment.

Various routes under 500 miles each.

The same 500 mile minimum is supposed to apply to elite qualifying miles. And it does.

This year there are elite qualfiying bonuses for flying paid premium cabin fares. Buy a domestic discount first class P fare, earn 2 qualifying miles per mile flown.

  • Everyone assumed that would mean Dallas – Austin and similar short flights would earn 1000 qualifying miles.
  • But they were taking the actual miles flown, doubling it, and then checking for 500 mile minimums.
  • So paid first class was earning 500 qualifying miles just like discounted fares.

What’s more American doesn’t make it easy to see elite qualifying miles. You’re shown a qualifying miles total for the year, but not a detailed breakdown of where the qualifying miles came from. Trip-by-trip all you’re shown is how your redeemable miles were earned:

Nonetheless, many flyers noticed. So did AAdvantage. And fortunately, American will be running sweeps to correct this until the reprogram how qualifying miles are earned in the first place. (HT: @xJonNYC)

There is a glitch in how the minimum mileage guarantee for EQMs is being calculated. The calculation should credit the 500 mile minimum before applying the EQM multiplier. Beginning in the next few weeks, we will be running a retroactive process to “true up” any accounts where the member did not earn the proper number of EQMs. This process will continue to run until the calculation can be reprogrammed in the AAdvantage system.

So if you’re an elite who bought a paid first class ticket, and it included a short segment under 500 miles, you’ve been shorted some qualifying miles… And American is going to get that corrected soon.

In the meantime, they’re going to keep shorting you and keep fixing it until the uderlying programming issue is fixed it seems.

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. This is good to hear. I had a ton of paid F sub 500 flights last year but missed EXP requal. Maybe this will put me over the bar.

  2. That’s the most annoying thing about Aadvantge there is no were to look up individual EQM you have to rely on the total

    They need to show the earnings for EQM flight by flight same as the award mileage

  3. Nice that they’re fixing this. I had a short flight post at less than expected mileage, called about this, and was told they changed how they calculate eqm.

  4. I am wholly relieved. I am counting on short segments LAX-xxx in First to make up for some of the EXP miles I will lose out on through leisure travel. Have several F shorties booked. It I found there was no premium, I would feel like such a sucker. Come to think of it, even working to requalify for EXP, as a lifetime Platinum, under these conditions makes me feel like….

  5. Gary.
    Just wanted to confirm I’m reading this correctly. Going forward we can still expect 1000 eqm on sub-500 routes on P fares? Or is it only on last year’s earnings?

  6. Looking at the line item details in my account, it seems this problem has still not been fully fixed. On April 5-6, 2016, I flew BOS-DCA-BOS in full-fare coach. That’s a flight of 399 base miles each way. I should have received the 500 base miles times 1.5, for a total of 750 EQMs each way. Instead I received 599 EQMs each way, reflecting the 1.5-multiplying *before* the application of the 500 minimum, the same error Gary flags above.

    Perhaps AA fixed the problem for folks who bought first class but not those who bought full-fare coach. I believe I’m still short 151*2=302 EQMs.

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