Explaining frequent flyer issues to people who don’t particularly care can be quite amusing. One of the most amusing topics is earning miles, the fact that you can earn miles on a different airline than you’re actually flying, and that sometimes the airline you’re flying in fact offers the worst rate of earning. When British Airways began offering only a fraction of the miles (avios) you actually fly as reward for most economy tickets, it was very strange that by banking your flying to American, you could still get full value.
Earning full miles for British Airways flights through American Airlines AAdvantage program while earning only a quarter of the miles on British Airways itself, the carrier operating the flights, created a huge discrepancy and a bit of a grievance between the partner carriers. Pardon me to anyone who finds this offensive, but who in their right mind would earn only a quarter of the potential miles for a flight when they could earn full freight through a (better) mileage program. For months now the best advice for economy flyers on British Airways without elite status was to earn miles with American instead. Having frequent flyer programs are invaluable marketing tools and having one of your partners outshining you with such brilliance creates dysfunction. For that reason, come February 1st, British Airways economy fares in classes K, L, M, N, S, and V will earn 50% of the miles actually flown while the lowest fares, G, O, and Q will earn only a quarter of the miles actually flown. In plain English, if you fly round trip between New York and London in G class, you’ll earn 1,723 miles on either British Airways or American, one quarter of the 6,892 miles flown round trip. In comparison, currently, any British Airways ticket in economy would earn at least 6,892 miles on American. And yes, you can expect virtually the same for all Iberia flights.
The takeaway here is that the “advantage” to banking miles into American’s AAdvantage program will effectively disappear for economy flyers. You’ll be just as well off earning miles with the airline you’re actually flying, as opposed to now when American was a brilliant choice. Though you really can’t blame American for following suit with British Airways, it’s a shame that this loophole of fairness will close. Frankly, I never worry too much about earning miles with an airline anyway, you’re far better off doing so with your wallet.
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