American Airlines revamps AAdvantage


American Airlines has announced a raft of changes coming to the AAdvantage program in 2016. The changes, which take effect at various times through the your, cut across most aspects of the program.  The changes being made affect elite status qualification, mileage earning and the redemption rates on their award charts.

Booking Award Flights

The Award bookings tables have had some significant changes to them, and come March 22, 2016, when the new tables become effective, most Award flights are going to need more points. These changes are particularly noticeable on long haul flights as you move up to the premium cabins. While there are exceptions, generally, the points requiremed for First Class travel have increased more than for Business, which in turn has had a greater increase than Economy.

As some examples, for one way travel from Australia:

  • Sydney-Los Angeles on either AA or Qantas increases from 62,500 to 80,000 miles in business class, while first class jumps from 72,500 to 110,000 miles,
  • Australia-Europe increases from 60,000 to 85,000 miles in business and from 80,000 to 115,000 miles in first class,
  • Australia to the Middle East or India increases from 45,000 miles to 80,000 miles in business class, while first class rises from 60,000 to 100,000 miles.

Staying closer to home, in what American refers to Asia Region 1 (Japan, Korea, Mongolia) or Asia Region 2 (which includes most of South East Asia), things are not so dramatic. Indeed, business class redemptions to Asia Region 1 from Australia have actually fallen. Asia Region 2 has come out with a 14% increase in points – while significant, it is mild compared to the increase to some other regions.

Domestically, an Australian domestic business class redemption increase from 17,500 miles to 20,000 miles, while a trans-Tasman business class flight between Australia and New Zealand will set you back 25,000 miles, up from 17,500.

Elite Status Earning

Elite status earning has been modified a little, with one method of qualifying (EQPs) being removed altogether. remains very similar to what it is today with no minimum spending requirement for status.

From January 1 2016,  status will be earned through either elite-qualifying miles (EQMs) or elite-qualifying sectors (EQSs).

The calculation using EQS will remain the same, with each segment counting as 1 sector. In terms of EQM, when flying on an American marketed ticket, you’ll earn:

The calculation of EQMs in partner airlines will also change. The following chart shows the example of travelling on a Qantas marketed flight. This shows EQMs varying from 1.5 EQM per mile flown down to just 0.5 EQM per mile flown across most eligible Economy fares.

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 thresholds for the various status levels are shown in the following graphic:



Miles earn will be based on revenue

In the second half of 2016, American Airlines will accrue miles based on what you have paid for the ticket. This is a change from the more traditional basis of using distance flown. This change will only affect flying on American marketed flights – it does not affect flying on partner airlines.

  • Base-level members will earn five miles per US dollar spent,
  • Gold-grade flyers will earn  seven miles per US dollar,
  • Platinum members will earn eight miles per US dollar and
  • Executive Platinum members will earn 11 miles per US Dollar.

For flights on partner airlines, the calculation will remain based on miles flown. The calculation will be a parcentage of the miles flown, with the multiplier being based on the class of travel.

There are other changes coming into effect, and a perusal of the American Airlines website is warranted to fully appreciate the scope of the changes.

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