Alaska Airlines is changing the miles earned per flight on partner American Airlines which are credited to Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan starting August 1, 2016. Many economy fare classes will earn fewer miles whereas business and first class tickets on American Airlines will earn more.
The reason for the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan change
American Airlines will move to a revenue based mileage program which is a carbon copy of both the Delta and United mileage programs. The new program awards miles based on ticket cost instead of flight length. A flight from Seattle to Los Angeles is 954 miles and used to earn 954 base miles for an economy class ticket. Under the new program, this same ticket can earn a variety of different mileage amounts based upon ticket cost. If someone paid $100 for the ticket and has no elite statue, the new earning rate would be $100 x 5 = 500 miles. If the ticket cost more, more miles will be earned. Pretty simple.
When American does this, Alaska is significantly reducing the number of miles earned on most flights by no longer offering 1 mile per mile flown on partner American Airlines. Instead, Alaska Airlines will do the same thing they do for partners such as Delta Air Lines and British Airways and only award miles based on fare class with discount economy tickets earning only 25% of miles flown. The only way to earn 100% of miles flown is to buy a more expensive economy ticket or a business or first class ticket which will earn both base miles plus a bonus. As Alaska has no way of knowing how much you paid for your ticket with American, this fare class award chart is the only way they can be sure someone isn’t earning thousands of more miles on Alaska than American would give to their own flyers. It also discourages flyers to fly American and credit to Alaska.
This is a huge reduction in miles for economy class fares, but it is only fair, as American Airlines also plans to award customer traveling on the cheapest fare (discount economy tickets fare) fewer miles as the ticket is likly to be inexpensive. Likewise, Alaska will do the same and will award those who pay more with more miles. After all, Alaska Airlines is actually increasing the bonus miles customer earn who buy more expensive business and first class fares.
Overall this is a big loss for AA economy class frequent flyers who were planning on flying AA and crediting their miles to Alaska. But really, it wasn’t unexpected. If you want to earn 1 mile for every mile flown you are going to have to fly Alaska Airlines. The only problem, the cheap mileage run is dead for Alaska Airline Frequent Flyers because Alaska Airline doesn’t fly longhaul to Asia, Europe, South America, and beyond.