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.
The changes appeared back on the American website in early November, with an effective date of February 1. So we were given three months’ notice of changes.
They published new redeemable mileage and elite qualifying miles-earning for British Airways and Iberia for flights taken February 1 onward.
New AAdvantage Earning Rates for British Airways Effective February 1
New AAdvantage Earning Rates for Iberia Effective February 1
But then at some point after this American went back in and changed qualifying mileage-earning just for the month of January.
As an interim measure, in January you will still earn full redeemable miles on all British Airways fares… but not full elite qualifying miles.
For Iberia flights you will still earn full redeemable miles between Spain and the US/Mexico, but not other flights, and not full elite qualifying miles on all fares.
These were changes made to the website but not announced. And it was done with some amount less than 6 weeks’ notice.
When American is on the record saying that tickets begin getting purchased in earnest 90 days out from travel and when changes apply based on the date of travel and not date of purchase, this even seems like bait-and-switch. But then AAdvantage even changed its terms and conditions this year to “disclaim any duty of good faith and fair dealing.”
Since American’s website in early November specifically promised that the old earning rates would apply to flights taken “before February 1, 2016” in anything other than a post-Ginsberg world a customer who purchased travel on British Airways in detrimental reliance on that published promise would seem to have a reasonable claim for damages.