American Airlines’ AAdvantage loyalty programme will introduce a revenue-based mileage accrual system next year.

The move means that members will earn award miles based on the price of the ticket as well as elite status level. Currently, miles are awarded based on the distance flown.

The switch comes into effect in the second half of 2016.

AAdvantage earnings table

*Calculation based on an AAdvantage member flying round-trip on an American marketed flight from Dallas to London Heathrow. Base fare plus carrier-imposed fees – $1,894.
**Calculation based on an AAdvantage member flying round-trip on an American marketed flight from Dallas to London Heathrow. Flight distance – 9,502 miles round-trip.

Then, for every US dollar spent on the base fare and carrier-imposed fees, AAdvantage members will receive five miles; Gold members will receive seven miles; Platinum members will receive eight miles; and Executive Platinum members will receive 11 miles.

A statement said: “Award miles for travel on most flights marketed by partner airlines will be based on a percentage of the flight distance and the booking code purchased. More details will be announced in 2016.

On March 22, some award redemption levels on flights to Mexcio, the Caribbean and Central Amercia will be reduced by as much as 40 per cent.

From January, elite-qualifying points will be discontinued. There will remain two methods of qualifying for elite status, either via Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) or Elite Qualifying Segments (EQSs).

Both will have the same thresholds as today, but members will earn “more EQMs for purchasing higher fares, and EQSs will still be awarded for each eligible flight segment flown”.

From March 1, Gold and Platinum members will earn four 500-mile upgrades for every 12,500 EQMs earned during the membership year. The cost of a 500-mile upgrade will be $40 when purchased online, at the airport or from an agent.

From January 1, Executive Platinum members will receive four system-wide upgrades upon qualification for the 2017 membership year, with the opportunity to earn up to four more based on flight activity – two for every 50,000 EQMs earned above the 100,000 EQM threshold up to 200,000 EQMs.

Starting with the 2017 membership year, elite status will be valid until January 31 of the following year.

US Airways’ Dividend Miles programme became part of American Airlines’ AAdvantage programme earlier this year (see news, November 2014).

Suzanne Rubin, president of AAdvantage, said: “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 programme to ensure we’re rewarding our most loyal customers with the benefits they value the most.

“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.”

AAdvantage was created in 1981 and was the airline industry’s first loyalty programme.

Graham Smith