American AAdvantage Awarding Bonus EQPs On Beijing “Mistake” Fares

Filed Under: American

While Delta SkyMiles and United MileagePlus have switched to revenue based frequent flyer programs, American AAdvantage has stayed more “traditional” as of now, and continues to award miles based on how much you fly as opposed to how much you spend.

That being said, in order to go after the (minority) of high yield customers who come out ahead under a revenue based system, AAdvantage has published a couple of promotions to incentivize them to fly American. These promotions are both valid for all of 2015:


What’s interesting is that when American published the promotion for bonus elite qualifying points, they put the following at the bottom of the terms & conditions:

Airline tickets issued as a result of airfare offered inadvertently or by mistake will not be eligible for elite-qualifying points.

Now admittedly they’re fully within their rights to do that, though:

  • Ultimately American is generating a lot of goodwill by honoring such a mistake fare, and part of that is negated if they’re going to go out of their way to reward those customers less
  • It creates the slippery slope of how American defines “airfare offered inadvertently or by mistake”

Then again, airlines have unlimited liberties in terms of what they do with their frequent flyer programs, so they’re well within their rights to do that (though it doesn’t mean we have to like it).

Anyway, I’ve been asked no fewer than a dozen times now whether the Beijing business class mistake fares were earning bonus EQPs in practice. And based on the data points I’ve received from readers, American is indeed awarding the bonus EQPs for travel on the Beijing mistake fare. So instead of earning 1.5 EQPs per flown mile, you’ll earn 2.0 EQPs for flying on an “I” business class fare.


It’s anyone’s guess whether that will continue, but as of now that’s the case. And I think it’s the right thing for American to do.

Do you think American should issue bonus EQPs for travel on mistake fares?

  1. Woohoo!! Not sure if I look at it as a “should” situation since I’m guessing they didn’t intend to but someone maybe just didn’t bother to code these specific fares out. Also don’t think honoring the fares is a gesture so much as something they’d realize they’d be forced to do. Granted, I’m in the camp that I wouldn’t be first in line to complain to the DOT if they didn’t honor it….. but given my basic familiarity with the current law, if I heard a bunch of other people were getting it honored because of the DOT, I’d probably join that line.

    Either way, I haven’t flown AA for years and am psyched to at least get their lowest level of status on one flight! Thanks for the update!

  2. Eric– just a heads up that you need at least four flights to qualify for elite status with AA.

  3. Wish you hadn’t written about this. Someone at AA will send this to their manager and get this “fixed.”

  4. Looks like it’s actually four segments. I signed up for the Plantinum challenge, as I’m only taking the first three. 🙂

  5. I wonder if they’ll honor the 2015 bonus EQMs for flying in paid J or F. Any data points yet?

  6. In my mind this comes close to the category of posts that can do more harm than good. By now people have already booked their flights, and, yes, they might be wondering about this. But, does highlighting the fact on OMAAT increase the chances that they actually follow through on their threat? I think so.

  7. No good can come of this post. At best nothing changes and at worst everyone ends up without the points. No benefit but potential and real downside exists…

  8. Hi Lucky
    There’s been a lot of commentary around how AA haven’t ‘yet’ followed UA or Dl down the revenue based status path and how that’s great, but it only seems like a matter of time. I’m wondering if you think it might be a deliberate ploy by AA not to go down this path as a point of differentiation? I don’t mean delay it for as long as possible, I mean maybe they’re planning to never do it at all. They make make less revenue from status runs but they may make this back by attracting passengers who like the old miles flown system.
    The same with their award chart – it remains excellent value and everyone keeps talking about the massive devaluation which could come any minute. Again, perhaps they’re purposely being different in keeping it low to attract passengers?

    This so called mistake fare has actually cost me alot of $. I leave from IAD and have bought 3 tickets on AA to get there RT from Houston for my family. $975. I wanted to get Ex. Plat on AA so I have purchased 3 tickets for HKG leaving this weekend on AA for $1875. Signed up for the Citi Prest. card to have AA lounge access. Then purchased 2 ticket for my wife and daughter to fly to Barcelona RT for the summer break on AA for $2832. We should be Exec. Plat by then and maybe can get an upgrade going there to BCN.

    SO PLEASE READ AMERICAN AIRLINES !!!! The so called mistake airfare just made you money and a new customer that only flew Delta but now give my loyalty to AA.

    If you want to loose it then you can how easy it is. Not to mention I would cancel every flight forward.
    PS. Thanks AA for helping my kids to see the Great Wall of China

  10. @ Ben — Yeah, I’d say it’s a very real possibility. One reason they definitely haven’t done it yet is because during the merger the plan was always to “integrate not innovate,” so they’ve worked hard to change as little as they can until the integration goes through smoothly. That being said, long term I wouldn’t be surprised if they go a different way than Delta or United. We can hope!

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