A sad end to American Airlines’ miles-based loyalty program approaches

Rewarding the rich is lucrative. Delta and United Airlines led the charge, and on August 1 American Airlines will follow, by beginning a revenue-based loyalty program.

Right now, the more miles you fly on American Airlines, the more loyalty miles you earn. Next month onward, your miles flown won’t matter. It’ll be all about how much you spend.

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For points and miles enthusiasts, this will be a sad change. One of the fundamental parts of  budget travel is finding great deals on flights, then earning loyalty miles that can be used for future free flights.

For business and wealthy travelers, this may be wonderful news. That first-class airfare will soon earn first-class miles. For me, not so much.


Here’s what I earned on a recent one-way flight from NYC to San Francisco on AA:

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I flew 2,586 miles, I earned 2,586 miles.

August 1 onward, here’s what I’ll earn for the same flight:

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It seems like the very people who can afford to pay top dollar for a flight would be the same ones who wouldn’t care that they’ll soon be earning many more loyalty miles per flight. I suppose providing an incentive for your customers to spend more money sounds like a good plan.

Here are some of the details of the change:

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This change will also further endanger the art of mileage running, where people take flights for the sole purpose of earning loyalty or elite status miles. I’ve never done a mileage run, but I’m considering one on Frontier Airlines, which still has a miles-based loyalty program.

Sad or psyched, please feel free to comment with your thoughts about the changes!

4 thoughts on “A sad end to American Airlines’ miles-based loyalty program approaches

  1. Pingback: Could new revenue-based Starbucks rewards actually be better? | easyjourneys

  2. Pingback: This airline is offering 2x loyalty miles on flights through Sept. 30 | easyjourneys

  3. Pingback: American Airlines was named best and worst airline in the same week? | easyjourneys

  4. Pingback: Comparing miles: Crediting a Virgin America flight to Alaska vs. Virgin America | easyjourneys

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