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American Airlines

As New Rumors Emerge, American Comments on Possible Program Changes

As New Rumors Emerge, American Comments on Possible Program Changes
Joe Cortez

Rumored American AAdvantage changes include spend-based mileage earning by the end of 2016.

American Airlines may join the rest of the legacy airlines’ frequent flyer programs before 2017 by moving their points-earning process from a distance-based program to a price-based program. Rumors posted online by those familiar with the situation suggest that American AAdvantage will follow a similar move made by Delta Air Lines and United Airlines by winter 2016.

As first reported by FrequentFlier.com, the rumors began appearing on a travel forum last week by someone who claims to have seen the proposed changes. According to the poster, the new loyalty program could roll out at the beginning of the year, keeping the current distance-based mileage earning plan through the first three quarters of the next year.

By the fourth quarter of 2016, American AAdvantage could move from a distance-based program to a price-based program, distributing redeemable miles based on the price of a ticket. Much like their counterparts, American would assign redeemable mileage based on airfare, then multiply by the status that elite flyer has, with higher elites earning more redeemable miles.

A spokesperson from American told FlyerTalk, “There will always be rumors about AAdvantage. We have a great product and people will continue to speculate. We don’t comment on rumors or speculation.”

While the changes to redeemable miles are expected, positive changes could be coming to the AAdvantage elite flyer program. The elite program would continue to be based on total distance flown with American, while installing mileage multipliers for higher-priced tickets. A flyer who purchases a full-fare ticket would earn a bonus multiplier of 1.5 elite qualifying miles, while those in full-fare first or business class could earn triple elite qualifying miles.

In addition, the rumors suggest elite flyers would not be subject to a minimum spend to earn elite status. If AAdvantage moves to the program, they would be the only one of the three legacy airlines not to require a minimum spend to earn elite status.

[Photo: Getty Images]

View Comments (4)

4 Comments

  1. cova

    November 9, 2015 at 2:50 pm

    Minimum spend is sort of a mute point anyway on UA and DL. Spend $25K on your DL AmEx and no minimum spend. UA – no minimum spend with UA CC, except for 1K.

  2. HkCaGu

    November 9, 2015 at 5:35 pm

    Both UA and DL will not continue the CC spend waiver in 2016.

  3. sdsearch

    November 9, 2015 at 5:36 pm

    Spending $25k on a single card is not a mute point for everyone. Many people don’t have much more than that in “natural” total credit card spend each year, and having to put it all on that card just to get rid of minimum spend may mean not earning other points/miles you want from other cards (if you don’t have, say, business expenses and/or rent/mortgage/insurance/etc easily payable with a credit card). And not everyone is easily able to do low-cost high-volume Manufactured Spending to be able to get $25k spend on that card THAT way.

  4. quant_93

    November 9, 2015 at 6:35 pm

    Who wrote this headline? AA explicitly did NOT comment.

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