In late September American accidentally published new, reduced mileage-earning rates for discounted British Airways and Iberia tickets on their foreign websites. The changes were supposedly going into effect October 1.
You won’t earn any miles on London Heathrow buses.
I didn’t sound the alarm at the time, because I checked with American and was told the new earning rates were published in error. And I was told that if they did something like that, it would be with more advance notice.
Still, the changes were quite specific. Someone mocked them up. They were at least under consideration. And it seemed reasonable to expect American to do something like this (though not with such little notice).
- With the huge devaluation in points-earning from British Airways at the end of April it’s crazy that you could still earn full miles flying British Airways and crediting to AAdvantage, but not crediting those same flights to British Airways itself.
- When American and British Airways announced their joint venture five years ago, British Airways began offering full mileage-earning (“one mile equals one mile”). They killed that six months ago.
Now the changes are back on the American website, with an effective date of February 1. So we’re given three months’ notice of changes.
- K, L, M, N, S, and V fares will earn 50% miles
- G, O, and Q fares will earn 25% miles (and won’t earn full qualifying ‘points’ either)
- Similar changes for flying Iberia as well
New AAdvantage Earning Rates for British Airways Effective February 1
New AAdvantage Earning Rates for Iberia Effective February 1
We should expect to be hearing about more changes soon. In May American’s President Scott Kirby said that once they got through integration with US Airways they’d be able to make changes to the frequent flyer program. This was reiterated in American’s third quarter earnings call.
I’ve said it’s too late in any reasonable universe for American to go revenue-based in 2016. And — although we could see some tweaks in that direction — these changes to British Airways and Iberia earning actually underscore that. We will still be earning miles based on fare class, rather than ticket price, when flying on American’s joint venture partners after February 1.
While I don’t think we’ll like what we see, I’m pleased to see a published commitment of mileage-earning by fare class on revenue-neutral joint venture partners at the very least.
(HT: Rich P.)