What You Need to Know About the Changes to American Airlines’ Frequent Flier Program

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Attention, American Airlines frequent fliers: Your rewards program is about to change.

For travel starting Aug. 1, members of the AAdvantage loyalty program will no longer receive miles based on the distance they flew. Instead, they’ll accrue miles based on the price of a ticket.

The exact number of miles per dollar will be based on status. Base members will receive 5 miles for each dollar spent on tickets, excluding government taxes and fees. Gold members will receive 7 miles per dollar, Platinum members will get 8 miles per dollar and Executive Platinum fliers will get 11 miles per dollar spent.

More Changes Ahead

Starting Jan. 1, the airline will add a fourth tier to its loyalty program, Platinum Pro, which will entitle status holders to benefits including 9 miles per dollar spent, two free checked bags and complimentary auto-requested upgrades on eligible flights within North America and between the U.S. and Central America.

At that time, it will also change the way members earn status upgrades. Effective January 1, you’ll need to meet a certain spending threshold and fly a set number of miles to boost your standing. To become a Gold member, you must spend $3,000 and fly 25,000 miles or 30 segments. To become Platinum, you must spend $6,000 and fly 50,000 miles or 60 segments. To become Platinum Pro, you must spend $9,000 and fly 75,000 miles or 90 segments and to become Executive Platinum, you need to spend $12,000 and fly 100,000 miles or 120 segments.

Maximizing Miles

American Airlines’ shift from miles per dollar to miles for distance was officially announced in November, though no effective dates were provided at the time. This is in-step with changes Delta Airlines and United Airlines already implemented.

American Airlines is making the change “to continue our tradition of having the best loyalty program in the world by rewarding our most loyal customers with the benefits they value the most,” Andrew Nocella, its chief marketing officer, said in a news release.

Of course, if you’re worried about missing out on points now that airlines are awarding them based on price and not distance, you can potentially bolster coffers by pairing membership with a co-branded travel rewards credit card. (You can learn more about the best airline credit cards in America here.) Just be sure to read the terms and conditions carefully before applying to figure out if a particular credit card is right for you. You may also want to check your credit before you apply, as a good credit score is generally required to qualify for competitive products. You can see where you currently stand by viewing two of your credit scores for free each month on Credit.com.

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