American Airlines AAdvantage Changes

American Airlines has announced sweeping changes to its AAdvantage program. The changes cut across most aspects of the program, form earning status, through to the points earning tabls, and the redemptions charts. The changes are set to rollout across 2016, with some of the changes taking effect from 1 January, 2016.

In many respects, the changes reflect those that Delta and United have already made. With the merger between AA and US Air now complete, it seems that AA have turned their attention to the loyalty program, rolling out a large set of changes.

Earning Status

The changes to elite status earning is changing from 1 January, 2016.  The main changes are the removal of Elite Qualifying Points as a mechanism for attaining status.

The EQS qualification remains largely unchanged, with 1 EQS being earned per segment flown

The EQM qualification has more significant chnages. The new chart, when flying on American marketed flights is

  • 3 EQMs/mile – Full-fare First or Business
  • 2 EQMs/mile – Discount First or Business
  • 1.5 EQMs/mile – Full-fare Main Cabin
  • 1 EQM/mile – Discount Main Cabin

The earning of EQM on partner airlines varies by airline. In the case of flying on Qantas, the new earnings chart is as follows:

Class of service Purchased fares booked in Base miles Class of service bonus miles EQMs per mile flown
First A, F 100% 50% 1.50
Business C, D, I, J 100% 25% 1.50
Premium Economy R, T, W 100% 10% 1.50
Full-Fare Economy Y, B 100% – 1.00
Economy H 100% – 0.50
Discount Economy K, L, M, V, N, G, S 50% – 0.50
Discount Economy O, Q 25% – 0.50

The most significant changes occur for those travelling in the economy cabin. This is common across most partners, so you should consult the charts for each individual partner to understand the effect based on your own travel patterns.


Earning Points

American Airlines have signaled a shift to a more revenue based program – that is that miles will be earned based more on revenue to the airline than on distance flown.The calculation for American marketed flights is as follows:


Using Points

American are making significant changes to its award charts, and for the most part the changes represent a devaluation of the value of AA points currently held. While there are a small handful of awards that will require less points, mostly there are increases in points requirements, and in some cases these increases are quite steep.

It is in the premium classes that some of the steepest increase are occuring. As examples, consider the following changes that might affect someone booking awards from Australia:

  • A one-way award between Australia and the United States, jumps 52 per cent in first (to 110,000 miles), and 28 percent in the business cabin (up to 80,000 miles). A round trip ticket, in first will now cost 220,000 points.
  • South Africa sees a 60% increase in point required for the business cabin

There are some other changes occuring, and these are all outlined on the American Airlines website.

Anyone that has been stockpiling AAdvantage points will need to consider their options, and look toward using the points prior to the devaluation kicking in.

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