American Airlines did an excellent job of wiping out a hard-earned reputation for good standards with its AAdvantage programme by announcing (or, more accurately, not announcing) a massive raft of changes.
With no warning, a new series of reward charts has appeared on the AA and US Airways websites.
To be fair, these charts – so far – do not have a huge impact on anyone in the UK who uses AA miles for oneworld partner flights. It is not a great sign of what may come in the future, however.
You can find out full details at One Mile At A Time if you are a serious AA collector. In summary, though:
oneworld Explorer rewards are scrapped with immediate effect. These awards allowed you to literally fly around the world for not much more than the cost of a return flight to Asia and were great value if you had the time to use them. You could book up to 16 flights across different oneworld airlines for a fixed mileage cost.
Stopovers are no longer allowed at ‘gateway’ cities. American only used to allow stopovers at a limited number of cities, and will now not allow them at all. If you want a stopover, your flight will now be priced as two separate flights.
US Airways reward flights from the US to North Asia increase from 90,000 to 110,000 miles. This eliminates the major ‘sweet spot’ in the US Airways chart.
American ‘Anytime’ awards (where you can guarantee yourself a seat as long as cash seats are still available) will no longer be 2 x standard miles and will move to a more flexible, and expensive, structure.
US Airways adds two extra price levels for standard awards, although the prices and the criteria for them are still not published.
Whilst these changes will be sending some US flyers and writers into seizures, the truth is that they do not have any real impact on anyone here who was, say, collecting 30,000 American miles for a one-way to the Middle East on Etihad.
There may well be more to come, of course, as US Airways management makes its presence felt at AA. I would certainly be wary of making a major commitment to American at this time unless you have a very specific reward in mind.
How to earn American Airlines miles from UK credit cards December 2023)
American Airlines no longer has its own UK credit card.
There is, however, still a way to earn American Airlines miles from a UK credit card.
The route is via Marriott Bonvoy. Marriott Bonvoy hotel loyalty points convert to American Airlines miles at the rate of 3:1.
The best way to earn Marriott Bonvoy points is via the official Marriott Bonvoy American Express card. It comes with 20,000 points for signing up and 2 points for every £1 you spend. At 2 Bonvoy points per £1, you are earning (at 3:1) 0.66 American Airlines miles per £1 spent on the card.
You can apply here.