American Should Change the Name of AAdvantage “Miles”

Well today is the day.  The amount of redeemable miles you earn on a flight no longer has any correlation to the distance of the flight or the class in which you fly.  It’s now all about the money.  I’ve made my thoughts on the matter pretty clear in a previous post and won’t rehash the gory details here.  You will earn redeemable miles per the following chart:

AA 737

AA 737

Now, bear in mind this calculation is not based on the total amount of your ticket, rather the total amount of the ticket less government taxes.  American provides the following example on their site yet surprisingly leaves out government taxes, the total fare below is likely around $2200-2300 after government taxes:

Elite status Base fare (USD) Carrier-imposed fees (USD) Award miles/USD Award miles earned
AAdvantage® member $1,436 $458 5 9,470
Gold $1,436 $458 7 13,258
Platinum $1,436 $458 8 15,152
Executive Platinum $1,436 $458 11 20,834

Wait, so why should they stop calling them “miles”?

Simple: there’s now nothing related to a unit of measurement when you earn or redeem miles.  Calling them “AAdvantage miles” implies that there’s some relation to distance, and it’s just not the case anymore.  It seems like something so small and insignificant, but American needs to acknowledge that there’s now no correlation between how far you fly and the redeemable miles you earn.  It’s a change of soul for a once-great loyalty program that makes them exactly like the other airlines.

What should they call their points?  How about just points?  Instead of getting needlessly creative and calling them Eagles or Freedoms or Muahahahahas, just call them AAdvantage Points.  A mile is a consistent measure of distance, and time and time again American has made clear to us there is nothing consistent about their AAdvantage program.  I guess that’s the saddest part.



  1. Not only is their program weakened now (chiefly, look at saver award space), but their customer service has been horrible the last few times i’ve had any sort of IROPS. I really think pre-Merger AA isn’t even recognizable in its current form. Truly sad.

  2. It has happened before. Take two airlines and merge with lofty goals of creating a better product, e.g. CO and UA, blend well with a lot of revenue enhancement and some labor dissatisfaction, half-bake and have a lot of cooks add their bits. Produce an airline that sinks even below thd lowest common denominator. Voila! We have the “new American Airlines”!

  3. Actually it appears there is still a correlation with actual physical miles flown in one case: when one files on a partner airline (rather than AA itself) the number of miles awarded is computed starting with the actual mileage of the flight. Bonuses and/or reductions in miles are then applied based on the class of service, the fare code, and the elite level–but actual miles flown do still play a role on the partner airlines.

    • Yep, you nailed it. Way to go blow a hole in my blog post 🙂


Leave a Reply



Get the latest updates daily!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

%d bloggers like this: