The Daily Parker

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American changing frequent-flyer program to be like Delta, sort of

American's A'Advantage program will change in January to accrue miles based on how much a ticket costs. The formula is pretty simple: members will get X dollars per flight mile based on their elite status, though elite status qualification will still be based on segments or miles actually flown (though not on a third "points" option currently in force).

Everyone who watches these things knew this was coming. And it won't make that much difference to most people. For example, my mileage run this weekend netted me 10,490 base miles and 5,245 elite-qualifying miles (EQMs). Under the new formula, it would still net me 5,245 EQMs but only 3,640 base miles, because of the fare. So fie on them. Even the last business trip I took would earn fewer base miles: 7,384 under the current regime, but only 2,208 under the new plan. (Again, though, EQMs would not have changed.)

This new structure clearly benefits the airline, and business travelers. Those times in the past when I took full-fare flights, or even business class, would really have done well under the new plan. Last November I had to go to Oslo for three days. (It wasn't that glamorous.) Current plan: 21,406 base miles, 9,354 EQMs; new plan: a whopping 63,976 base miles, because it was a last-minute business-class fare.

Basically, the airline is trying not to bleed through its frequent-flyer program. And we knew this was coming. And as long as they keep EQMs the same, I'm OK with it.


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