American Airlines has come up with their response to the revenue-based frequent flyer program leanings of Delta and United.
As of Jan. 1, 2015, members of American AAdvantage are earning more miles than in the past when flying on a purchased first or business class ticket for travel through Dec. 31, 2015 on American or select airline partners on codeshare flights (flights with an American Airlines or US Airways flight number).
The bonus can add up to 12,000 miles per flight, 24,000 miles per roundtrip, depending on the class of travel, your elite status and length of the flight. You’ll earn the base amount of miles flown, plus a class-of-service bonus and elite-status bonus if applicable, plus the new bonus.
For example, an Executive Platinum or Dividend Miles Chairman’s Preferred flyer buying a first class (F, A, P, J, R, D, C) ticket between New York JFK and San Francisco would earn 2,475 base miles, a 1,238 class-of-service bonus, a 2,475 (100 percent) elite status bonus, plus the max of 12,000 bonus miles for the long flight, to equal 18,188 miles or 36,376 miles roundtrip. If a non-elite member (AAdvantage and Dividend Miles) flew that same flight in the same class, the total would be 2,475 base miles, 1,238 class-of-service bonus miles and 3,000 bonus miles for flying first class to total 6,713 miles or 13,426 miles roundtrip.
AAdvantage Platinum would earn 2,475 base miles, 2,475 (100 percent) elite status bonus miles plus a 6,000 miles bonus for purchasing a first class flight for a total 10,950 miles or 21,900 miles roundtrip. AAdvantage Gold would earn 2,475 base miles, 619 (25 percent) elite status bonus miles plus 6,000 bonus miles for a total 9,084 miles or 18,188 miles roundtrip.
The bonus miles will automatically be added to your account after you fly–there’s no need to register to get the bonus miles. Flights eligible for the additional AAdvantage bonus miles include flights marketed and operated by American Airlines or US Airways, and flights operated by the following partner airlines that are marketed by American Airlines or US Airways (sold as an American or US Airways flight number): British Airways, Iberia, Finnair, Japan Airlines or Qantas. Flights eligible for the additional bonus Dividend Miles include flights marketed and operated by American Airlines or US Airways only. If you wish to get the bonus for the codeshare flights mentioned above, you’ll need to earn AAdvantage miles for the flight until the two programs have merged. For more information, visit http://www.insideflyer.com/link/?11922 .
Bottom line: These earnings for those spending more will more closely align to what top spenders at Delta and United will be getting. The bonus is set to end at the end of 2015. American, in its FAQ about the bonuses ending at the end of the year says, “We want to make sure our members are rewarded for what they fly. We are in the process of investing $2 billion in our airports, our clubs and onboard our revitalized fleet. That includes updates to our premium cabins–and we want to reward our customers for purchasing those tickets.” Which doesn’t really answer the question of why the promotion is set to end at the end of the year.
There are those who think that this is American testing the waters of a revenue-based program. Seth of the Wandering Aramean blog said he’s more convinced than ever that revenue-based earning is coming with this move by American, “Imagine being able to advertise that your customers can now earn even more [miles] than they could after the massive bonuses introduced earlier in the year? Yup, I still bet that’s the end game for AAdvantage.”
The bigger picture of this move by AAdvantage is that unless you buy first or business class tickets in 2015, nothing will have changed.