American Airlines’ AAdvantage Gold, Platinum and Executive Platinum members will no longer enjoy a ‘minimum mileage guarantee’ on Qantas, American Airlines or indeed any Oneworld flight from August 1 2016.
Instead, the number of miles earned will directly reflect the distance of the flight, the fare type booked and the class of service flown – reducing AAdvantage’s appeal as an option for savvy frequent flyers who have already reached Qantas Lifetime Gold.
It’s a particular hit for passengers taking shorter flights and booking less-expensive tickets, who stand to earn far fewer points in the air.
For example, a Platinum or Executive Platinum member taking a Sydney to Melbourne flight with Qantas currently earns a fixed 1,000 miles on most economy flights.
Come August 1, those same members would instead earn just 218 miles on low-end economy fares, around 439 miles on mid-range tickets and 878 miles on fully-flexible fares for these same members.
It’s a similar scenario for top-tier AA flyers on the longer Melbourne-Brisbane route – going from a minimum of 1,000 miles on the least-expensive fares to just 428 miles, and to 857 miles on mid-range economy tickets.
Fully flexible fares on this route continue to earn above the current minimum guarantee and are therefore unaffected, as are earning rates on most business class tickets which too exceed that guarantee.
Also note that Qantas’ most heavily-discounted sale tickets booked in ‘E class’ continue to earn no miles at all under the AAdvantage program, although do earn points via Qantas Frequent Flyer.
There’s no change to Qantas Frequent Flyer's own minimum points guarantee, with members at all status tiers continuing to earn at least 800 Qantas Points on every flight, and more on flexible tickets and in premium economy, business class and first class.
Qantas Frequent Flyers will also continue earning a minimum of 500 Qantas Points on every American Airlines flight, so for some travellers, making the switch back to Qantas Frequent Flyer could be a smart move.
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