After British Airways devalued its own Executive Club earning chart earlier this year, American Airlines has followed up by similarly reducing the number of miles you can earn when crediting BA flights to American AAdvantage for travel on or after February 1, 2016. (HT to One Mile at a Time)
Most fare classes will remain unchanged, including the most expensive premium fares and more flexible economy class fares. Discounted and deeply discounted economy class fares, however, will now earn as few as 25% of the miles flown. This is a steep drop from the previous 100%.
Similar changes will affect discounted and deeply discounted economy class fares on Iberia.
Sometimes it’s possible to head off such devaluations by booking the same flight but crediting it to a different loyalty program. For example, you can also credit BA flights to any other oneworld Alliance partner, as well as non-alliance partners like Alaska Airlines. (You will, however, be subject to different rules when it comes time to redeem those miles.)
The problem is that Alaska already enacted changes similar to American’s, so there are now few, if any, good options for crediting the the most discounted British Airways economy class flights.
|BA Fare Class||Base Miles/EQM (AA)||Base Miles/EQM (AS)||Award Miles (AA)||Award Miles (AS)|
|C, D, J||100%||100%||125%||250%|
|Y, B, H||100%||100%||100%||100%|
|K, L, M, N, S, V||50%||50%||50%||50%|
|G, O, Q||25%||25%||25%||25%|
What these changes do suggest, however, is that most U.S. travelers who book premium fares on British Airways and previously credited to American might be better off crediting those flights to Alaska Airlines. Remember that even if your miles are with Alaska, you can still redeem them on British Airways, a few other oneworld partners, and even some Sky Team partners (since Alaska has different partners than British Airways or American Airlines do). Even if this makes up the bulk of your travel and causes you to lose AAdvantage status, your new status earned on Alaska conveys some benefits on American Airlines.
And if you book the cheapest flights in coach? Well, it’s not looking good. More and more airlines are cutting back benefits and offering fewer miles. The future is bleak for budget travelers.