Collecting frequent flyer miles on American Airlines will cost more in the new year. The airline giant announced on Tuesday that frequent flyer points will now be based on the price of the ticket rather than the miles traveled.
American is the most utilized airline in the United States and is the last major company to switch its flyer program to a payment-based model. Last year, other major carries including Delta, Southwest and United adopted the price-based rewards program.
The company also announced it will be reducing the number of reward points needed to redeem free flights “by as much as 40 percent” in March of 2016.
While the changes will offer advantages to passengers who spend more, it won’t do much for those who travel longer or who take advantage of discounted fares. American Airline customers who tend to pay more for last-minute travel plans stand to gain the most from the new model.
An American Airlines spokesperson said it’s looking to reward “our most loyal and most valuable customers.”
Head of the AAdvantage program, Suzanne Rubin, said the company spent the past two years consolidating rewards points after merging with US Airways back in 2013. She says that now, the company is looking to “evolve” the loyalty program.
Although reward points will also depend on a customer’s AAdvantage status, members will begin earning at least five reward miles per dollar spent on American Airlines or American Eagle flights beginning the second half of next year. Members in the Executive Platinum range will earn 11 miles per dollar spent. This will apply to airline fees, but not taxes.
The company says that flying on one of its partner airlines, such as British Airways or Iberia, will still be based on distance traveled and not the dollar value of the ticket. Members will still be able to earn points by enrolling on other mile programs or spending on AAdvantage credit cards.