American Airlines is reducing mileage earning rates for deeply discounted economy fares on both British Airways and Iberia after rescinding a similar change a few weeks ago.
This change affects most purchased coach tickets, excluding only the 3 highest buckets. Going forward, you’ll earn 50% of your miles flown for tickets purchased in K, L, M, N, S and V. The deepest discounted buckets (G, O and Q) will earn 25%.
Here’s a quick before & after, effective February 1, 2016:
This is an impactful change for anyone traveling internationally on British Airways looking to credit those flights to the American Airlines AAdvantage program. But, as View From The Wing noted this morning, it’s expected to see a move like this given the changes British Airways has made to their own mileage program in relation to these fare buckets. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Aer Lingus enter oneworld (and potentially the TATL joint venture with AA, BA and Iberia) with similar reduced earnings.
Where Gary and I don’t agree is in the assertion that these changes reinforce the belief we’ll earn miles in the AAdvantage program on something other than “revenue”. By reducing earnings in those deep-discount buckets, AAdvantage is making their program more “revenue-based”, though with something of a bit more blunt instrument than what Delta and United are using.
It’s possible to pay a whole lot of money (or not much at all) for a K fare, for example. AAdvantage says you’ll earn 50% of the miles you fly for all K fares, which isn’t necessarily as specific as other offerings out there.
Unless you’ve had your head buried in the sand, you know that American Airlines is going to roll out changes that will likely mean earning fewer miles for most travelers.
This change is a reasonable move in that direction. The sky isn’t falling just yet. But, the smart travelers will have to work a bit harder to earn outsize rewards for their business.