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AA Guide & FAQ: Segment - What counts as a Segment?

AA Guide & FAQ: Segment - What counts as a Segment?

Old Apr 26, 2022, 9:27 am
  #1  
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Arrow AA Guide & FAQ: Segment - What counts as a Segment?

Given the change to LPs and segment earning needs, I find that this thread may be needed to start a discussion of what is a segment and what isn't, when it is earned and when it doesn't, and other ways to rack it up. Anyone PPRO+ may find themselves chasing those 30 segments now versus any miles later this year, so fire way the comments on experiences/tips please. For AA, the segment run is the new mileage run

Here is what I've gathered so far (Updated 4/27/2022 based on responses below)
  1. Do basic fares earn segments? Unconfirmed
  2. Do mileage award tickets earn segments on AA metal? YES if ticket issued by AA (confirmed)
    • Some exceptions may apply -- one report of segment counting when booked BA avios on AA metal
  3. Do mileage award tickets earn segments on partners? NO (confirmed)
  4. Do you earn segments on all partner purchased flights? MAYBE (see thread)
    • Earnings may not qualify on the partner flights where LPs are also not earned.
  5. Can you somehow earn an extra segment (i.e. a bonus segment) without actually flying it? NO
  6. If a one-way flight has a layover, does that count as one segment or two? It depends
    • Each segment (airport-airport) counts as 1 segment of a flight except if the flight number remains the same (one segment with a stop).
    • The flights may be booked under the same ticket or separately, it does not matter.

Last edited by PowerLu; May 6, 2022 at 8:53 am
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Old Apr 26, 2022, 9:58 am
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I have always found the LAX>LAS/PHX/SFO market to be competitively priced (as AA has to compete with SW and some other LCC) and figured that it could serve as my segment running lane if need be.

Picked a random day in December 2022: LAX>LAS>PHX for $123... So approx $60 per segment (minus whatever value of the RDM's you would earn).

For someone heavy on LP's that needs to top off their segment count with a couple segments to hit the loyalty reward threshold, I think that serves as a pretty good value.
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Old Apr 26, 2022, 10:28 am
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Originally Posted by LuizMiranda
Do the segments have to be purchased separately or can they be the same ticket? (not sure)
Doesn't matter, never has.

If you want to purchase 6 different tickets for 6 different flights across the dame day then you will earn the same 6 segments that you would have if the 6 flights were purchased together all on the same PNR.
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Old Apr 26, 2022, 10:37 am
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Very good to know because on the same PNR then AA must accommodate should connections be missed, but not if separate flights. I guess the key is just to avoid one where it's the same flight number and considered one flight (with a stop).

Huge minus for partner mileage tickets - any experience on if international awards count as long as it's on AA?
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Old Apr 26, 2022, 9:52 pm
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Might want to clarify if 4) means a AA operated partner marketed flight vs a partner operated AA marketed flight vs a partner operated and marketed flight credited to AA and for anything with partner above what counts as a partner (is it only loyalty-point qualifying airlines? Or all partners?) FYI I believe loyalty point qualifying is AA, OW, B6 and G3
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Old Apr 26, 2022, 11:30 pm
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I feel that this is being made more confusing than it needs to be.

A segment is a flight between two airports, with the caveat that a direct flight with a stop (ie, both flights have the same flight number) is one segment. This is standard industry-wide and really has nothing to do with AA.

A segment is qualifying if it's either a revenue flight with your AAdvantage account attached (including partner flights) or if it's an AAdvantage award flight operated by AA. There may be one exception -- I'm not sure if partner segments that don't earn LP are qualifying; I suspect that they are not. Some confirmation would be nice here.

I have no clue what is meant by "bonus segment".

Flights being on the same PNR or not is irrelevant. I'm not sure what's even being asked here. Obviously if you have 2 PNRs with 1 segment each, you have 2 segments. And 1 PNR with 2 segments is also 2 segments (because what else would it be??) You need 30 segments, not 30 PNRs.
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Old Apr 27, 2022, 1:16 am
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Originally Posted by LuizMiranda
Very good to know because on the same PNR then AA must accommodate should connections be missed, but not if separate flights.
That was not true, at least in the recent past: AA<->AA connections and indeed AA<->OW connections were protected even if on separate PNRs (even after they stopped through-checking luggage). There has been seemingly inconclusive discussion in other threads of whether and how the protection policy has changed. You seem confident in your statement -- can you provide your source that AA<->AA is now unprotected on separate PNRs?
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Old Apr 27, 2022, 4:33 am
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Originally Posted by jtav559
I have always found the LAX>LAS/PHX/SFO market to be competitively priced (as AA has to compete with SW and some other LCC) and figured that it could serve as my segment running lane if need be.

Picked a random day in December 2022: LAX>LAS>PHX for $123... So approx $60 per segment (minus whatever value of the RDM's you would earn).

For someone heavy on LP's that needs to top off their segment count with a couple segments to hit the loyalty reward threshold, I think that serves as a pretty good value.
I'm very "heavy" on LP's but struggling for segments. Will be at a little over 300k LP's on my return flight Friday but only 18 segments. That run would be something to take a look at if I can to LAX cheaply later on in the year.
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Old Apr 27, 2022, 5:35 am
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Originally Posted by VegasGambler
I feel that this is being made more confusing than it needs to be.

A segment is a flight between two airports, with the caveat that a direct flight with a stop (ie, both flights have the same flight number) is one segment. This is standard industry-wide and really has nothing to do with AA.
Must not be truly industry-wide, as WN through flights collect segments individually. For example, fly BWI-MDW-LAS on the same WN flight number, WN awards 2 segments towards qualifying.
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Old Apr 27, 2022, 8:11 am
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Originally Posted by ceebee100
That run would be something to take a look at if I can to LAX cheaply later on in the year.
Is it worth burning some RDM's to get out to LAX (and back), to then run segments?
Your RDM earn on a segment run would offset some of whatever you spent to position yourself.
Or piece together your last cheap segment run to end in PHX (Or somewhere more easterly) for easier return home.

Not to mention, your positioning flights (via cash or miles) would count as segments as well, lessening your overall segment need.
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Old Apr 27, 2022, 9:17 am
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Originally Posted by jtav559
Is it worth burning some RDM's to get out to LAX (and back), to then run segments?
Your RDM earn on a segment run would offset some of whatever you spent to position yourself.
Or piece together your last cheap segment run to end in PHX (Or somewhere more easterly) for easier return home.

Not to mention, your positioning flights (via cash or miles) would count as segments as well, lessening your overall segment need.
Yep, that's the plan. Burn some miles to get to LAX then do the rest. Once I cross those 30 segments, I'll be able to immediately get level 3 rewards and I plan on taking miles and SWUs.
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Old Apr 27, 2022, 10:42 am
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I would think that BE fares would get segments, but can't confirm (rarely, do I see BE fares on my travel patterns anymore).

This is the one part about the whole AAdvantage program where it helps to be a small outstation. Every roundtrip I make gets 4 segments.
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Old Apr 27, 2022, 11:04 am
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Thank you all. Original thread updated to clarify things based on your responses.

Originally Posted by VegasGambler
I feel that this is being made more confusing than it needs to be.

A segment is a flight between two airports, with the caveat that a direct flight with a stop (ie, both flights have the same flight number) is one segment. This is standard industry-wide and really has nothing to do with AA.

A segment is qualifying if it's either a revenue flight with your AAdvantage account attached (including partner flights) or if it's an AAdvantage award flight operated by AA. There may be one exception -- I'm not sure if partner segments that don't earn LP are qualifying; I suspect that they are not. Some confirmation would be nice here.

I have no clue what is meant by "bonus segment".

Flights being on the same PNR or not is irrelevant.
Great explanation, and it actually highlights where most of the confusions remain... in the "qualifying" piece. The definition of a segment is helpful, and that a separate booking not being a requirement is a huge plus. But it's the "qualifying" piece that appears to have most of the gotchas.

A "bonus segment" doesn't seem to exist today, unless someone knows of one, I certainly don't, which is why I asked. You don't know bonus means? How about "fly one segment and get two if you book on F" -- i.e. a cabin bonus. But it seems none exist today. Maybe AA will have a promo one day for double miles and double segment earnings, or earn X segments after a certain credit card spend, who knows

Originally Posted by FlyingEgghead
That was not true, at least in the recent past: AA<->AA connections and indeed AA<->OW connections were protected even if on separate PNRs (even after they stopped through-checking luggage). There has been seemingly inconclusive discussion in other threads of whether and how the protection policy has changed. You seem confident in your statement -- can you provide your source that AA<->AA is now unprotected on separate PNRs?
Oh my only confidence is that there is zero confusion in the former scenario (the PNR has both flights and you miss the connection due to the first flight's delay) but there is potentially some confusion and/or changing policies on the latter. In any case, this seems moot for this thread since it doesn't affect the segment count at all as pointed out by VegasGambler.

Last edited by PowerLu; Apr 27, 2022 at 11:17 am
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Old Apr 27, 2022, 11:33 am
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Depending on your start/endpoint, segment runs are much better with a connection. i.e.LAS-PHX-LAX; LAX-PHX-LAS is better than LAS-LAX; LAX-LAS.

Note also that you can often do a quick turn even if you can't ticket it. Some years ago I did a same-day segment run RDU-PHL-LGA and return. I was booked for 3 hours in LGA. However when I got there, I found that the plane (I think it was a DASH-8) was turning around back to Philly. So I did an immediate SDC. I left home around 4AM and was back in my apartment in time for a slightly late lunch.
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Old Apr 27, 2022, 11:51 am
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Originally Posted by MarkOK
I would think that BE fares would get segments, but can't confirm (rarely, do I see BE fares on my travel patterns anymore).

This is the one part about the whole AAdvantage program where it helps to be a small outstation. Every roundtrip I make gets 4 segments.
I buy BE fares when they are available. They count as qualifying segments.
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