Customer Q&A on Mileage Plan earn rates change for American Airlines flights

Beginning Aug. 1, 2016, Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan members will accrue miles at a new rate when they fly on American Airlines flights. As the AAdvantage program shifts to a revenue-based loyalty program, accruals on American for Alaska frequent fliers will change to better match American’s new program. The miles a flier accrues will be calculated using a combination of the percentage of distance flown and fare class. This means some fares will earn more or fewer miles than before.

As many other airline loyalty programs move toward revenue-based earnings, Alaska Mileage Plan remains committed to a miles-based program structure. Learn more about Alaska’s award-winning Mileage Plan.

What’s changing?

For travel beginning Aug. 1, 2016, the structure of earning Mileage Plan miles when flying on American Airlines-operated flights will change. The chart below has the specific details.

Why is Mileage Plan making this change?

American Airlines announced late last year that their AAdvantage program will shift how customers earn miles from distance flown to a mix of ticket price and elite status. For consistency, Mileage Plan will adjust member earn on American marketed flights, and members will now earn miles on American Airlines flights based on a combination of a percentage of distance flown and fare class.

How will I earn miles on American Airlines in the future?

The new structure will continue to use distance as the basis for the earn rate, however, discounted economy fares will earn miles at a lower rate. The range of earning miles will start at 25 percent of distance flown for discounted economy tickets and range up to 200 percent of distance flown for first class tickets.

Which rate will I earn at if I purchased a ticket before Aug. 1, but the flight travel date is after Aug. 1?

Regardless of the purchase date, American Airlines tickets with travel dates on or after Aug. 1 will earn miles using the new structure.

Will this change impact the amount of Mileage Plan miles earned on Alaska flights?

The changes being made affect earn rates on American Airlines flights only and will not affect how Mileage Plan members earn miles on Alaska Airlines flights. Additionally, Alaska does not currently have any plans to change how miles are earned on Alaska flights.

What if I purchase a codeshare flight?

For flights marketed by American, but operated by Alaska, you will earn miles at the new rate. For flights marketed by Alaska, but operated by American, you will earn miles based on the distance you fly, as well as any class of service bonuses. See our Earn on Alaska page for details.

Class of Service Purchased Fare Classes Eligible for Accrual New Total Accrual Miles Credit (For flights taken on or after Aug. 1) Current Total Accrual Miles Credit (For flights taken prior to Aug. 1)
First F 200 percent 150 percent
A 150 percent 150 percent
P 150 percent 150 percent
Business J 200 percent 125 percent
D 150 percent 125 percent
I 150 percent 125 percent
R 150 percent 100 percent
Main Cabin Y 100 percent 100 percent
H 100 percent 100 percent
K 100 percent 100 percent
L 100 percent 100 percent
M 100 percent 100 percent
W 100 percent 100 percent
V 75 percent 100 percent
G 75 percent 100 percent
N 50 percent 100 percent
S 50 percent 100 percent
Q 25 percent 100 percent
O 25 percent 100 percent

Sample flights

Mileage Plan member flying American Airlines marketed/American Airlines-operated Seattle to Dallas-Fort Worth (1,660 flown miles) segment flown in ‘F’ class:

  • Starting Aug. 1: 3,320 Mileage Plan miles
  • Before Aug 1: 2,490 Mileage Plan miles

Mileage Plan member flying American Airlines marketed/American Airlines-operated Seattle to Dallas-Fort Worth (1,660 flown miles) segment flown in ‘O’ class:

  • Starting Aug. 1: 415 Mileage Plan miles, however, this flight will actually earn 500 miles under Alaska’s 500 minimum mile guarantee
  • Before Aug 1: 1,660 Mileage Plan miles


  1. In all fairness, Alaska Airlines should apply the old American Airlines mileage award rules if the bookings were made and the tickets were paid for before the date the new rules were disclosed and posted at Passengers booked those American Airlines flights, in good faith, based on the mileage award rules that were known to us at the time of booking. If we had known of the new American Airlines mileage award rules then, many of us would not have booked those American Airlines flights. The current scenario reflects a perpetual sense of deception and a lack of business ethnic. As a minimum, American Airlines and Alaska Airlines should at least allow passengers to cancel those affected American Airlines flights and related connecting Alaska Airlines bookings for full refund. Certain Alaska Airlines airline partners have better mileage plan qualifying miles offer than American Airlines’ as it stands right now.

  2. I do know that this is the way things are going. What I do know is I make every concerted effort to fly Alaska whenever possible, as much as possible. Thank you to Alaska Airlines for continuing to honour 1 mileage plan mile per mile flown. I wonder if that will result in the devaluation of Alaska miles. I know I booked a reward for later this year on Emirates at the end of 2015 and now the same trip would be twice the Alaska points. Next time I go to South America it won’t be American or Delta. I’ll try for LATAM and at least get better service. As time goes on, Alaska Airlines seems more and more special, a gem.

  3. I am flying AA in September. I put in my Alaska mileage plan number instead of AA. Will I get the full credit to my Alaska miles?

  4. I have carried both your cards in my wallet to earn miles. I will be removing AA credit card today!

  5. This just seems like another reason not to fly American, though sometimes we cannot avoid it. They are clearly not a company built on happy employees anyway. Have rarely enjoyed the AmAir experience, but when necessary, we must use them.

    I truly hope Alaska Airlines isn’t intending on following suit with this new program. As frequent flyers and loyal flyers of Alaska, it would certainly affect future carrier decisions. Even if a person flies from SEA to SAN, 30x’s with a good price, they should be rewarded for their continued loyalty, as there are other choices.

  6. So, if I. understand this correctly,,, the rich get rewarded, the poor get penalized… Thank you. (NOT) American. Airlines!!!

  7. As a 75K I have booked summer flights using American expecting to get a certain level of qualifying Alaska miles for those flights. With the discounted rates I WOULD NOT HAVE BOOKED AMERICAN and, instead, used other airlines. These type of changes should be announced more than 2-3 weeks before they are enacted or they should be applicable to flights booked after the announcement is made. But you already know all this …

  8. Will AA add insult to injury by also increasing the mileage needed to fly?
    I do wonder what it is about an airline that is stuffing itself with more money than ever and then crapping on their customers.
    As they say on the intercom before landing “You have a choice of whom to fly with.” My choice will change over time.

  9. It’s amazing to see people complaining about something the airline doesn’t even have to offer in the first place. And then complaints about mileage credit for flying on a competitors airline? Really??

  10. I think it only fair that the people who booked in advance, get their money back with no consequences.

  11. Not a problem, I won’t travel on American Airlines. Thank you Alaska Airlines for being true to you customers. I value your commitment to us , your customers. JE

  12. I’ve had a citi m/c for 25years. I spend an average of 30 K/month. AA has become too difficult to book flights with points. Just got a Capitol One card and instructed all employees to ditch the AA rewards card. Will use minimally till miles are used then shred all cards.

  13. Yep! AS had to keep up with the competition. Everyone we can’t pick airlines based on the miles that we will earn anymore…just the better price, because, did you notice? lately it have been more and more difficult to get a ticket on miles specially in Delta and AA.

  14. Just another case of the rich getting richer. A very sad day for this long time member

  15. Many of you aren’t reading Alaska’s announcement very carefully. Alaska is just the messenger. It is American that is reducing the mileage benefit, not Alaska. I guess one could ask why Alaska doesn’t just continue its own mileage structure for partner miles. I suppose American wouldn’t want that, because passengers would be encouraged to switch over to earn Alaska miles. So, Halley, why does Alaska have to adopt American’s discriminatory mileage award structure for American earned partner miles? It would be clearer who is doing the devaluation if there is no change in the rate of Alaska mileage earning on American and American then discounts Alaska miles for calculating American awards, if it so chooses. Then we can continue to be happy with Alaska for superior service and customer care and make clear to American about how we feel about their treatment of passengers.

  16. Very disappointing news. I’ve been a loyal Alaska customer for over 15 years primarily because of the benefits associated to the Mileage Plan. Many times paying a premium to stay within the partner network. With this latest step towards mediocrity, I’m struggling to see any advantage to remaining loyal. Its unfortunate to see Alaska start transitioning into just another larger carrier.

  17. This is a terrible change. These kind of changes need to be announced much further in advance. I have flights booked up already in October on AA. I chose AA (AS doesn’t operate that route) instead of other airlines so that I could earn EQM to requalify for AS. With the recent EK devaluation, and now this change, Mileage Plan has become as bad as Delta in treating their loyal customers. But DL prices are far more competitive, and they have a better operation anyway. What is there for us to stay with AS?

    1. Can’t blame AS for these changes since it’s the airline we fly that determines what they’ll give in partner programs. AA only just announced their own mileage earning details earlier this month and indicated late last year that major earning changes would be taking place in the second half of 2016. It should have been clear to those flying AA but putting their miles into partner programs like AS’s that there would be earning changes coming down the pike too.

  18. My comment seems to have disappeared…

    My question was: Will EQMs earned on AA be based on the booking code or actual miles flown? Just curious as to how this will affect my ability to earn MVP Gold this year.

    1. Dane – I am looking into this for you!

      1. Thanks Halley 🙂

      2. I’m also wondering about this…any update, Halley?

    2. Dane – EQMs will earn at the new rates as well.

  19. Where’s P class? It got credit in the old chart as if it was F. Are you dropping it from earning? That would be really shabby, to not give credit for a purchased F fare.

    1. P will continue to earn at 150%, and has been added to the chart.

  20. Was the ‘P’ fare class mistakenly left off or is it no eligible for mileage accrual??

    1. Hi Ken, good catch. P will continue to earn at 150%.

  21. Your chart omits AA class P fares. These are first-class fares in AA’s system. How do they translate to Mileage Plan? 150%? 200%? Something else? Thank you.

    1. P will continue to earn at 150%.

  22. You have eliminated “P” class eff 01 Aug? “P” class is used by AA for the domestic F class sectors on discounted int’l biz fares. Is this a mistake or a YUGE devaluation?

    1. P class will earn at 150%.

  23. Hi! I was wondering about the new earning rate for AA’s P class, which is a fare for the first class cabin. It does not seem to be listed for flights beginning August 1. Do you have an idea of what this will be? Thanks!

    1. P class won’t change – 150%.

      1. I guess there were a bunch of us concerned over P class! Thanks for your patient and quick response.

  24. I already have American tickets booked for the rest of the year, with the distinct intent to reach MVP Gold 75k again. I have been a fan of the Alaska Mileage Plan and is an important part of why I choose Alaska. Now i have already spent the money and I won’t make status. I feel cheated and disillusioned. 1 month notice is not enough, especially for us who travel internationally often. I am very dissapointed.

    1. I have no connection with Alaska except, like you, loyalty. But I have to say that this was obviously coming. It is AA who you need to complain to. No way Alaska can keep this up when AA butchered their mileage plan. And AA has been warning us for ever. International flyers like us know how this works. Yes it is annoying but the upside is that AS is as usual far better than the pack.

    2. I will be leaving the AAdvantage program and returning to Alaska Airlines being my airline of choice. I appreciate your commitment to a miles-based program structure.

    3. Boo hoo Davin. This was an AA Change and reguardless of when ALASKA announced it, you should have stayed in tune with American, since it looks like you travel with them more than ALASKA.

      Suck it up.

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