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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:
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:
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:
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):
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.
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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