American Airlines Reduces Partner Earnings Significantly, And Almost Immediately

There have been a lot of changes in the past year from American Airlines, mostly expected.  After getting both American and US Airways coordinated on the same reservations platform, they set about “catching up” on all the innovations to their loyalty program.

They announced some (expected) drastic changes, including reducing the number of systemwide upgrades their top-tier Executive Platinum members earn and moving to a revenue-based earning system for award miles.

The most recent innovations announced were the addition of a 75,000 mile level, upgrades on awards for Executive Platinum members and changes to the domestic upgrade policy, aligning it with how much revenue you produce for the airline.

With the inception of minimum spending levels for elite status, it wouldn’t be surprising for us to see a formula for how to earn elite-qualifying dollars with partners.  As View From the Wing notes in his detailed posts on the subject, I just don’t think we expected to be this drastic and this soon.

The Good Stuff

Based on the announcement, it appears that AAdvantage elite members will be able to earn elite-qualifying dollars (EQDs) on partner airlines even when those flights are not ticketed on American Airlines ticket stock.

United Airlines doesn’t allow partner earning unless it’s ticketed by United.  I’ve found that to be quite troublesome, with United prices on some partner routes being considerably more expensive.  This was the case on a flight I had from Europe last year where United was $3,000 more than Turkish Airlines.  I chose the Turkish ticket and saved $3K.

American joins Delta in allowing some EQD earning on partners, though they’ll award these based on a formula of miles flown and the ticket class you booked.

Here’s a look at the British Airways partner earning page, updated for travel on August 1:

American Airlines Reduces Partner Earnings

The only category change here is H class economy tickets, which drop from 100% to 50% for base miles earned, and will also earn less EQMs.  I was curious how EQDs would look under this new formula, so I fiddled with numbers a bit.

I looked at some O class fares for flights from my hometown of Washington-Dulles to London.  They averaged about $1200.  That flight is 7,353 miles roundtrip.  Given that O class earns 5% EQDs, that flight would earn 367.65 EQDs, versus the 1200 EQDs it would earn if ticketed on American.  While AA was offering the same fares as British on the dates I checked, I wouldn’t be surprised to see different pricing at times.  The EQDs wouldn’t be enough to make me want to choose AA over BA here for any sort of price gap more than a few dollars.

The Bad Stuff

Pretty much everything else.

Most partner flights are seeing a drop in earning redeemable miles as of August 1st.  For the most part, I didn’t see much changing as far as EQMs earned on partner flights going forward.  That’s about the only silver lining I see here, especially given that I have some flights that are already booked for travel after August 1st that are affected by these changes.

Where Does That Leave Us?

We’re back to wondering if American Airlines will give us proper notice on changes.  While I’m not sure what the appropriate amount of time would be for notice on a change like this, I think we can all agree it’s longer than 3 weeks.  I miss Suzanne Rubin…..

The post American Airlines Reduces Partner Earnings Significantly, And Almost Immediately was published first on Pizza in Motion

1 Comment

  1. The table doesn’t show any benefits for elite levels – I fly a lot of W – premium economy – class fares on British Airways. Is that 1.1 RDM per flown mile for all advantage members? Or is there a bonus for EXPs? If so, how much? I’d be surprised if it were double like it is currently.

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