In the next few posts I will be explaining some technical differences in the way American Airlines counts miles towards status and rewards.
The American Airlines AAdvantage frequent flyer program uses two different counting systems to reach elite status. First, there is the traditional miles flown (or butt in seat miles) the mileage accrued while flying in any class of service. Second is the less common mileage points based on the fare class paid. Points have class of service bonuses for full fare economy, business, and first class. Points also have class of service “penalties” for deeply discounted fares as can be seen in the chart below:
|Fare Purchased||Booking Class||Points Per Qualifying Mile Earned|
For example, in a calendar year, if you were to fly 66,666 miles in paid first class, you would earn 66,666 * 1.5 = 100,000 points and qualify for Executive Platinum (EXP). If you were flying in non-full fare economy or discounted economy you would need to fly the full 100,000 miles to reach EXP. (For the moment lets exclude any special earnings promotions like DEQM – we will discuss that in a later post.)
Similarly the American Airlines Challenge, is measured only on POINTS. So if you want to earn 10,000 points to qualify for Platinum, and you are booking deeply discounted coach seats (that earn 0.5 points per mile) you will need to fly 20,000 miles. More on the challenge later.
The important thing to remember is that American (unlike United, Delta, and others) seperates their class of service bonus into points only, and generally other promotions like DEQM are for miles not points. The second thing to remember is that points are solely used for the Challenge. Keep this in mind and you will be ontrack to mastering the AAdvantage program.