American Airlines to reward fliers for dollars spent, not miles flown

American Airlines announced some major changes to its AAdvantage loyalty program.

Instead of rewarding its members based on miles traveled, the airline will now base rewards on the price of a ticket. The airline is also making changes to points redemption for free flights.

“We’ve spent a lot of time studying the competitive marketplace,” Suzanne Rubin, President of AAdvantage, told reporters on Tuesday. She added that the airline is “eager to be more transparent” in the implementation of its awards for all consumers.

Business class and first class travelers are set to earn more reward miles due to higher fare prices paid.

Other big US carriers that operate a similar cost-per-fare based reward program include Southwest, Virgin America, and JetBlue.

AAdvantage members will now earn five miles per every dollar instead of the miles flown. Gold members will earn seven miles per dollar, while Executive Platinum members will earn 11 miles per dollar spent.

Those most likely to lose out will be economy travelers flying long distances, while those who frequently fly in first class are expected to benefit the most from the change.

“American Airlines has spent the last two years being singularly focused on integration. Now we’re at a point where we can begin to look ahead and lay the foundation for the future of the AAdvantage program to ensure we’re rewarding our most loyal customers with the benefits they value the most,” said Suzanne Rubin, President of AAdvantage.

“We seamlessly integrated our programs in 2015, and we’re excited about the opportunities that the program will offer our customers in the years to come.”

In addition the AAdvantage program will offer two simple ways to qualify for elite status – Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) or Elite Qualifying Segments (EQSs) at the same thresholds as today. Elite-qualifying points will be discontinued.