In late September I wrote a post entitled “American Cutting Mileage Earnings Rates On British Airways.”
At the time, many of American Airlines’ non-English language websites showed reduced mileage earning rates for travel on British Airways and Iberia as of October 1, 2015. However, this wasn’t reflected on American Airlines’ English language websites.
Hours later American removed those references from the website, and claimed it was a “mistake.” Well, it seems that by “mistake” American really meant “whoops we published that prematurely,” because the changes are happening.
AAdvantage earnings rates on BA/Iberia changing in 2016
American has now updated their mileage earnings charts for travel on British Airways and Iberia as of February 1, 2016.
Here’s the AAdvantage earnings chart for travel on British Airways through January 31, 2016:
And here’s the AAdvantage earnings chart for travel on British Airways as of February 1, 2016:
Here’s the AAdvantage earnings chart for travel on Iberia through January 31, 2016:
And here’s the AAdvantage earnings chart for travel on Iberia as of February 1, 2016:
As you can see, these new charts mirror exactly what American published at the time, which they claimed were a mistake.
Best I can tell, those are the only airlines on which mileage earnings rates are changing.
These changes aren’t surprising
These changes don’t surprise me much, given that they very closely reflected British Airways’ devaluation from earlier in the year, whereby select economy fare classes earn just 25-50% of flown miles.
What’s missing, unfortunately, is that British Airways improved the mileage earnings rates for paid premium cabin tickets (some paid first & business class earnings rates went up by 100%), though American isn’t adopting those changes. Instead they’re basically copying the negative changes but not matching the positive changes.
After British Airways’ program changes, Alaska Mileage Plan followed shortly thereafter for earnings rates on British Airways, so I figured it was just a matter of time until American matched.
I can see both sides of this:
- On one hand, American and British Airways have a transatlantic joint venture, so it’s silly to award significantly more miles for flying one carrier over another
- On the other hand, it also doesn’t make sense that you earn 100% mileage through American AAdvantage, while you earn just 25-50% mileage through British Airways Executive Club
This is a terrible change. For discounted economy tickets on British Airways you will literally earn a quarter the number of AAdvantage miles you were earning before.
As stated above, there really is no easy solution here.
Does it make sense for American to award more miles when you fly American rather than British Airways, given that they have a transatlantic joint venture with revenue sharing? Nope.
At the same time, does it make sense for AAdvantage to award 4x as many miles for travel on British Airways as Executive Club does? Nope.
So the only logical conclusion this leads to is that we’ll eventually see some drastic program chart changes which make mileage earning more “fair”… you know, like a revenue based program. 😉
But in the meantime AAdvantage members have a huge incentive to book American over British Airways for travel in discounted economy.
How will these AAdvantage earnings rate changes impact your travel? What do you make of the “big picture” implications of this change?