American Airlines Will Stop Awarding Frequent Flyer Miles for Most Third-Party Bookings

by Anthony Losanno
American Plane

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American Airlines announced today that after May 1st it will no longer provide AAdvantage® frequent flyer miles and Loyalty Points (which are required to earn status) to passengers who don’t book directly with the airline, select partner airlines, and preferred travel agents.

Passengers will continue to earn AAdvantage® miles and Loyalty Points when they:

  • Book directly with American and eligible partner airlines.
  • Book travel anywhere as an AAdvantage Business™ member or contracted corporate traveler.
  • Book through preferred travel agencies. American will share a list of eligible preferred agencies on in late April.

Travelers with Basic Economy tickets will only earn when they book directly with American and eligible partner airlines.

Vasu Raja, American’s Chief Commercial Officer, said:

We want to make it more convenient for customers to enjoy the value and magic of travel. Not only does booking directly with American provide the best possible experience, it’s also where we offer the best fares and it’s most rewarding for our AAdvantage® members.”


Other Fees Are Increasing

In addition to the news that the ability to earn miles will be limited, American raised the costs for several ancillary services. Checked bag fees have reached an all-time high with costs increasing as of today (February 20th). The new checked bag fee for domestic flights including Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands is $35 for the first checked bag purchased online or $40 for the first checked bag purchased at the airport. The second checked bag fee is $45 purchased online or at the airport. The new bag fees for Canada and short-haul international flights are identical to the US with $35 for first checked bags and $45 for second checked bags purchased online or at the airport. This is the first time American has raised fees since 2018 and this will undoubtedly be followed by Delta and United.

With these changes, AAdvantage® members and credit cardholders will still receive their benefits:

  • All AAdvantage® elite members will continue to receive complimentary bags on American Airlines flights.
  • Most AAdvantage® credit cardmembers will also get their first eligible checked bag free on domestic American Airlines itineraries.

The fee for bringing a pet in cabin is also increasing by $25 (it goes from $125 to $150). This will likely spark even more passengers to attempt to say that they have service dogs versus pets.

Anthony’s Take: American is working hard to make sure that it cuts costs on bookings and incents passengers to make purchases directly with the airline. The fee increases will likely be imitated in the near term by Delta and United because they seem to always parrot changes.

(Image Credits: American Airlines and Ralf Geithe.)

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