American Airlines last fall announced it would change its AAdvantage program to a revenue-based regimen in 2016, and in case you forgot, a major milestone for that changeover is fast approaching.
American this week issued a reminder to AAdvantage members that the way they earn award miles will radically change on August 1. These moves generally bring the AAdvantage program inline with Delta SkyMiles and United MileagePlus; American will no longer enjoy the “outlier” status it had while merging with US Airways, and putting off any major program changes.
For trips beginning August 1 or later, a new earning formula kicks in, paying a base rate for non-elites of five miles per dollar spent (including base fare plus carrier fees, but not government fees or taxes). Elites will earn bonus miles based on their status: Golds get seven miles per dollar spent, Platinums get eight, and Executive Platinums earn 11.
Starting later in June, American said, “customers will be able to see an estimate of the number of miles and elite-qualifying credits they will earn for a chosen itinerary when booking their trip on aa.com.”
A few months ago, American revised the award side of the program, instituting a new award level for flights of less than 500 miles, and increasing the mileage cost for some awards, especially for its lowest-priced MileSAAver awards.
For flights on AAdvantage partner airlines not operated by American, members will earn miles “based on a percentage of the flight distance and the fare class of your ticket,” AA said, promising to release specific earning rates by mid-July.
More changes are coming in 2017. Starting January 1, spending will also figure into qualification for elite status, with access to each level requiring a combination of elite-qualifying dollars (EQDs) plus elite-qualifying miles or segments. And a new Platinum Pro status is being added in between Platinum and Executive Platinum.
Here’s a look at the new qualification chart:
Finally, American said additional changes will come later on in 2017: Upgrade priority “will be based on a 12-month rolling EQD total, sorted by elite status level;” and Executive Platinums will be able to use complimentary 500-mile upgrades with AAdvantage award tickets for travel on American.
American has a web page that summarizes all the upcoming changes in the AAdvantage program.
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