Ok ok, I’m not going to waste any more of your time decrying American’s AAdvantage changes: they’re here and that’s too bad. That said, many of us will still fly with American, so it doesn’t hurt to stay informed about what’s going on.

First, let’s give American some props (no that wasn’t a jet pun)(ok it was)

I have to give American credit where it’s due.  In addition to rolling out the new redeemable miles scheme American also added functionality to their website to make everything as upfront as possible during the purchase process.  Let’s look at a hypothetical trip from DFW-PDX that I was looking at.  On the “Review & Pay” section of the website, I saw the below, clearly listing the various kinds of elite-qualifying miles, segments, and (coming in 2017) dollars I’d earn for this trip.

AAdvantage earnings

AAdvantage earnings

Second, let’s go over the part that might be a little confusing until you understand what they’re thinking

Now, below this box is a link with the text “Show AAdvantage earnings”.  When you click it, this window pops up and gives you more information.

AAdvantage earnings details

AAdvantage earnings details

So what the heck do they mean by “base miles” and “bonus miles”?  Let’s review the revenue-based award miles chart and how American has it worded on their site:

And now let’s look at the fare and the taxes, also now listed on American’s website (finally!):

Fare and Taxes

Fare and Taxes

So here’s how American’s math works.  The fare is rounded up to the next dollar (to avoid partial miles), so $199.  There are no carrier-imposed fees, so the award miles calculation will be based on $199.  199 multiplied by 5 equals 995, the number you see as the base miles number (since everyone will earn at least that amount under the new scheme).  I hold Executive Platinum status with American, which means I receive 11 award miles for every dollar spent, right?  Ok, I have 5x already, leaving 6x.  199 multiplied by 6 equals 1194, listed under the bonus miles header.  So between base and bonus miles I’m getting 11 award miles for every dollar I’ve spent, or 199 multiplied by 11.

I know it sounds confusing at first but hopefully now it makes sense to you, since you’ll see miles post like this on your AAdvantage account.


Did this make sense?  Let me know if you have any questions below.


Get the latest updates daily!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

%d bloggers like this: