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American Airlines AAdvantage Rewards Program Changes to Dollars Spent Basis

November 18, 2015 By: Newswire

american airlinesIn the second half of 2016, the American Airlines AAdvantage frequent flier rewards program will shift how customers earn award miles from distance flown to dollars spent.

Award redemption rates will be adjusted with some award levels increasing, while others will be decreasing, American Airlines said. 

AAdvantage members will receive five miles for every U.S. dollar spent on the base fare and carrier-imposed fees. Gold members will receive seven miles, Platinum members will receive eight and Executive Platinum members will receive 11 miles per dollar spent.

Award miles for travel on most flights marketed by partner airlines will be based on a percentage of the flight distance and the booking code purchased. More details will be announced in 2016.

Until the new award mile earning structure takes effect, members will still earn award miles based on the distance flown.

Award Redemption Levels

In March 2016, some award redemption levels will be reduced by as much as 40 percent, and AAdvantage members will continue to book award travel on any day of the year without any blackout dates. For tickets booked on or after March 22, award redemption levels to popular destinations in Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America will be reduced, and MileSAAver awards for flights 500 miles or less in the U.S. and Canada will be redeemable for as low as 7,500 miles one way (plus any applicable taxes and carrier-imposed fees). Award redemption levels on other routes, such as some flights to Europe and Asia will increase due to changes to market pricing and demand.

AAdvantage Elite Qualification

Beginning January 2016, the AAdvantage program will offer two ways to qualify for elite status – Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) or Elite Qualifying Segments (EQSs) at the same thresholds as today. Elite-qualifying points will be discontinued. Members will earn more EQMs for purchasing higher fares, and EQSs will still be awarded for each eligible flight segment flown.

Booking code purchased EQM / mile American EQM / mile Delta EQM / mile
Full-Fare First/Business 3 2 1.5
Discount First/Business 2 1.5 1.5
Full-Fare Economy 1.5 1.5 1.5
Discount Economy 1 1 1

Beginning with the 2017 membership year, elite status will be valid through January 31 of the following year.

Upgrade Programs

The AAdvantage program provides complimentary, auto-requested upgrades for all elite members on domestic flights 500 miles or less, and AAdvantage Executive Platinum members receive complimentary, auto-requested upgrades on all domestic flights regardless of length.

Beginning March 1, Gold and Platinum members will earn four 500-mile upgrades for every 12,500 EQMs earned during the membership year. The cost of a 500-mile upgrade will be 40 dollars when purchased online, at the airport or from an agent.

Beginning January 1, 2016, Executive Platinum members will receive four systemwide upgrades upon qualification for the 2017 membership year, with the opportunity to earn up to four more based on flight activity – two for every 50,000 EQMs earned above the 100,000 EQM threshold up to 200,000 EQMs.


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By Newswire | November 18, 2015
In the second half of 2016, the American Airlines AAdvantage frequent flier rewards program will shift how customers earn award miles from distance flown to dollars spent. Here's a full look at the policy changes.