AAdvantage Elites Now Earn More Miles When Flying on Alaska

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Good news AAdvantage elites! As of March 31, 2021, you'll now earn more AAdvantage miles on each Alaska flight you take. This is thanks to a small—but impactful—change that was made as Alaska joined the Oneworld alliance.

Let's show you how you earn AAdvantage miles on Alaska flights. Then we will show you what changed.

How AAdvantage Members Earn Miles on Alaska Flights

When flying on American Airlines, you earn AAdvantage miles based on the price you paid for the flight. However, when crediting any partner flights to AAdvantage, you'll earn AA miles based on the distance of the flight and the fare class you booked. And that the chart varies from partner to partner.

With Alaska joining Oneworld on March 31, 2021, AAdvantage made some tweaks to its Alaska earning chart. For flights going forward, here's how you'll earn AAdvantage miles, Elite Qualifying Miles (EQM), Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQD), and Elite Qualifying Segments (EQS) when crediting Alaska flights to AAdvantage:

AAdvantage earning chart for Alaska flights

Most of the tweaks before were minor tweaks to reflect Alaska's new fare classification system. However, the big change that was made to the earning chart: you'll no longer earn any elite status credits (EQM, EQD, EQS) when flying on Alaska's Saver Fares (fare class X).

More Miles for AAdvantage Elites on Alaska Flights

As of March 31, 2021, Alaska flights are now eligible for AAdvantage elite status bonuses and minimum EQM guarantees. That means AAdvantage elites will now get up to a 120% elite bonus on any base mileage earnings when flying Alaska. Also, all AAdvantage members will earn at least 500 Elite Qualifying Miles (EQM) on Alaska flights — excluding Saver Fares.

In an email to AAdvantage elites about Alaska joining Oneworld, American Airlines listed the new “elite mileage bonus” as one of the new benefits:

new AAdvantage elite perks when flying Alaska

AAdvantage elite mileage bonuses

By now, American Airlines flyers are probably familiar with earning AAdvantage miles on AA flights. General members earn 5 AAdvantage miles per dollar of fare and carrier-imposed surcharges. AAdvantage elite members earn an elite bonus on top of that, up to a total of 11 miles per dollar spent.

On partner flights, the calculation is a bit more complicated. First, you need to calculate the base mileage earning based on the earning chart for the particular airline. Then, elite members apply an elite mileage bonus on the base miles:

  • Gold: 40% bonus
  • Platinum: 60% bonus
  • Platinum Pro: 80% bonus
  • Executive Platinum: 120% bonus

However, this elite mileage bonus is only available on certain airlines. Alaska Airlines was just added to the list this week:

AAdvantage elite mileage bonus

An example of this new elite bonus

A fellow American Airlines flyer shared with me this earning example from a recent Alaska first-class flight from Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) to Portland (PDX):

AAdvantage earnings for an Alaska flight before the change
AAdvantage earnings for an Alaska flight before elite mileage bonuses were added.

The traveler was booked in Alaska's “P” fare class — which is a discount first-class fare that Alaska no longer uses. At the time, this fare class earned 100% base award miles plus a 50% cabin bonus. So, for the 1,616-mile flight, the flyer earned 2,424 AAdvantage miles.

After this week's changes, non-elite AAdvantage members will still earn 2,424 AAdvantage miles when flying in Alaska first class on this route. However, as this traveler is a long-time Executive Platinum elite, he will now earn a lot more miles for the same flight.

As an Executive Platinum elite, he gets a 120% elite mileage bonus on top of the base mileage rate. So, if he were to take the same flight, he'd earn a total of 4,363 AAdvantage miles:

  • 1,616 base miles (100% of flight miles)
  • 808 cabin bonus (50% of flight miles)
  • 1,939 elite mileage bonus (120% of base miles)

That's almost 2,000 more AAdvantage miles for the exact same flight. Even if you value AAdvantage miles at a super-conservative rate of just 1¢ per mile, that's almost $20 more in value on this one flight. That bonus can really add up for frequent travelers such as him.

Bottom Line

There's a lot for American Airlines AAdvantage and Alaska Mileage Plan elites to be excited about Alaska joining Oneworld. Elites now get guaranteed benefits flying on the other airline — such as free checked bags, lounge access, priority check-in, and priority boarding. In addition, Alaska and American have introduced reciprocal first-class upgrades and extra-legroom seats for certain elites.

With all of these changes, it was easy for flyers to miss a small change to how AAdvantage elite members earn miles on Alaska flights. But, as you can see, this small change can have a sizeable impact. For AAdvantage elites, flying Alaskan just got a lot more rewarding

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Comments

  • Avatar

    Very good news.Alaska joins Oneworld makes passengers have more options to collect and spend miles.What a fun is that sometimes it’s better to collect miles to partner airlines than the airline you flies.

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    Doris Hargrave says:

    This is very timely news given our planned trip to Alaska and the West Coast later in the year. All small wins add up.

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    This is good for now and AAdvantage elites should take aadvantage (pun intended 🙂 ) of it while they can. I’m sure AA is going to “fix” this somehow

  • Avatar

    Finally, some good airlines news since the pandemic…

  • Avatar

    I think that Alaska joining OneWorld and creating this partnership with AA is perfect and just what each airline needed. Alaska now has a large national presence, and AA has a west coast presence, which was lacking. Good on them, but even this partnership may not cause me to switch my loyalty.

  • Avatar

    Thank you so much for sharing the real AAdvantage bonus example.

  • Avatar

    Excellent news! I have MCO-PDX booked later this month on AS in first…looking forward to the extra miles!

  • Avatar

    I know that American no longer counts basic economy tickets toward “Million Miler” status but am unclear on flying a partner and crediting to American. Does anyone know?

  • Avatar
    Gilberto Souza de Morais says:

    I loved this combination of AA + Alaska + further miles to Aadvantage members.