11 Responses

  1. Dan
    Dan at |

    You’re doing the math here based solely on premium cabin purchases. The AA scheme is noteworthy specifically because it (yes) catches-up for premium cabin purchases, but also does not negatively influence economy cabin purchases.

    The corporate flyer who is allowed to purchase C to Asia but must fly the lowest Y fare in the lower 48 is actually substantially more common than the exec who is allowed to purchase F no matter where s/he flies. AA catering to a market which rewards loyalty across the board, but rewards the premium cabin flyers even more is the item of note here, unlike DL who has trashed earnings of Y flyers to fund their premium cabin rewards.

  2. Nick
    Nick at |

    Even booking a week or two out I have no issue finding RT’s well under $2000 and often under $1500 to Europe. I can spend a bit more for upgrade eligible fares but otherwise stick to lowest priced fares. The vast majority of flyers are even more budget conscious than I am. Sometimes the situation dictates that I need an expensive fare but mostly not. The number of people who go for these crazy expensive fares all the time is really small. I guess they can fly Delta or UA, but AA still provides a good option for the rest of us.

  3. Rick
    Rick at |

    Seth I think you make a great point in your comments about short haul flights like NYC-BNA. I often fly similar 300-700 mile flights out of NYC and typically pay (on short notice, usually in Y) $700-1000. These AA bonuses don’t address at all the huge gap in earnings I or similar travelers will see
    – No status: AA 600-1400 rt, UA/DL 3500-5000
    – 75k: AA 2000-2800, UA/DL 6300-9000
    – 125k: AA 2000-2800, UA/DL 7700-11000

  4. AdamH
    AdamH at |

    Good post. One other piece you are missing is if you can’t fly direct from either SFO/LAX or JfK to either Europe/S America from the west coast or to Asia/Oz from the east coast and have to sneak in an extra connection in one of those cities. You would earn an extra 24K as a 100k flyer each r/t

  5. Randall
    Randall at |

    I think Dan hit it well. Someone who flies a mix of cheap domestic and premium international will likely do better on AA because, on AA, there’s a baseline of “a mile flown is a mile earned,” with bonuses as gravy on top. So, even if an occasional flight would have a much larger bonus on UA or DL, the overall mix of flights won’t.

  6. Nick
    Nick at |

    I seem to fly to LHR quite a bit. A good 20% of the cost on SFO-LHR is taxes. A 1K on a $1500 flight RT would earn +/- 13500 miles under United’s revenue based earning vs a EXP earning +/- 21500 on AA.

  7. HansGolden
    HansGolden at |

    “An entertaining conversation formed early yesterday evening on Facebook when it was suggested that my analysis of AA’s new premium fare bonus earning was just trying to be contrarian”

    Apparently I didn’t communicate very well, because I was not suggesting your number crunching was wrong. I was suggesting that your belief that AA would go revenue and that it was good for them was partially motivated by a desire to be contrarian vis a vis the rest of the FT/BA world. I was amused at how a factual announcement about earning changes by AA can be interpreted simultaneously as the “first step towards the inevitable revenue-based program transformation” and simultaneously by others as an indication that AA is holding the line with a mileage-based program in order to line up behind Alaska Airline’s strategy to get a business boost from its FFP’s more broadly rewarding nature (see blog post written by AS highlighting this).

    I was not responding to your number crunching, but I was responding to your *beliefs* about the future of the AA program and was SPECIFICALLY answering the question you asked on that Facebook post: “American Airlines is offering up heaps of bonus points for premium customers. I see this as the first step towards the inevitable revenue-based program transformation. What do you think??”