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American Limits Ways to Earn Miles, Increases Baggage Fees

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Image Source: American Airlines

American Airlines is making major changes to how travelers earn AAdvantage miles and loyalty points by restricting qualifying channels, while increasing the luggage price.
Frequent flyers who want to earn miles and loyalty points aboard American Airlines will soon only have three channels to do so.


The Fort Worth-based carrier announced the changes taking effect on May 1, 2024 on their website.


Earnings Limited to Direct Purchases, Business Members, and Preferred Travel Agencies

Prior to the announced changes, flyers could earn both American AAdvantage miles and loyalty points from spending regardless of where they booked travel. Starting in May 2024, American’s loyalty program will look more like those of their hotel counterparts.


When the changes take effect, flyers will only have three eligible travel channels to earn rewards. The primary route is direct through American and their partner airlines, including their websites, apps, from reservation or airport teams, and ticket sales centers. American Airlines Vacations packages will also continue to earn rewards. After May 1, basic economy tickets will only earn rewards when booked through the website or app – reservation centers, airport counters and ticket sales centers won’t count.


Business travelers who are members of AAdvantage Business or have a contracted corporate agreement with the airline can still earn rewards no matter where they book their travel. Finally, travelers can still earn rewards when booking flights through “preferred travel agencies.” American will release their list of preferred partners by the end of April 2024.


“We want to make it more convenient for customers to enjoy the value and magic of travel,” said Vasu Raja, chief commercial officer at American, said in a press release. “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.”


In addition to limiting where flyers can earn miles and loyalty points, the price of a checked bag is increasing as well. For trips booked after February 20, 2024, flyers will pay $35 for the first checked bag purchased online, or $40 at the airport. A second checked bag will cost $45, regardless of if it is purchased online or at the airport. All AAdvantage elites and most AAdvantage credit card holders will continue to receive one free checked bag. With the move, American joins Alaska Airlines in hiking baggage fees on domestic trips.


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