The American AAdvantage program will be going revenue based on the earning side for flights as of August 1, 2016. This means redeemable miles will be accrued based on how much you spend rather than how much you fly (meanwhile elite qualifying miles will be earned based on how much you fly rather than how much you spend, but there will still be a revenue requirement… confusing, eh?). American going revenue based was first announced late last year, though it was only a few weeks ago that the date for the change was formalized.
What’s tricky is earning miles on partner airlines under a revenue based program. Typically partner airlines don’t know exactly how much you paid for a ticket, so they simply adjust mileage earning rates to something that roughly correlates to what you might otherwise earn on average for a given fare class.
Alaska Mileage Plan is a great program, especially given how many excellent airline partners they have.
For example, they partner with both American and Delta, so it’s a great program for crediting flights from both carriers.
It should come as no surprise that Alaska Mileage Plan will adjust mileage earning rates for travel on American once AAdvantage goes revenue based, and it looks like that has finally happened.
Here are the Alaska Mileage Plan earning rates for travel on American as of August 1, 2016:
Meanwhile here are the old earning rates:
As you can see:
- The earning rates for full fare first & business class are going up from 150% to 200%
- The earning rates for discounted first & business class are remaining the same
- The earning rates for more expensive economy fares are remaining the same
- The earning rates for most discounted economy fare classes are decreasing from 100% to 25-75%
While this is a negative change, it was inevitable, and everyone should have seen it coming.
These are very similar to the changes in mileage earning rates that Mileage Plan made when Delta SkyMiles went revenue based. Here are the Mileage Plan earning rates for travel on Delta:
Mileage Plan cutting mileage earning rates for discounted economy travel on American is no surprise, as this consistently happens with partner airline programs when an airline’s own program goes revenue based. There will always be arbitrage opportunities, but the most obvious ones are closed pretty quickly. With the new earning rates, you’ll still want to crunch numbers as to which program is better, as it can vary from flight to flight.
I still plan on earning most of my miles towards American AAdvantage status from flying business class fares on Qatar Airways, which I think should continue to be possible. But that doesn’t help in this specific situation…
I don’t think we’ll see any major changes to Alaska’s earning rates for their own flights (since they haven’t gone revenue based), and also don’t necessarily think American AAdvantage will cut mileage earning rates for travel on Alaska.
What do you make of Alaska Mileage Plan’s new earning rates for travel on American?
(Tip of the hat to @single_flyer)